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Bio-isobutanol company Gevo enters major licensing and development agreement with Praj

Gevo, Inc. has into a license agreement and a joint development agreement with Praj Industries Limited to enable the licensing of Gevo’s isobutanol technology to processors of non-corn based sugars, including the majority of Praj’s global customer base of ethanol plant owners. The two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding on licensing earlier this year. (Earlier post.)

As part of these agreements, Praj will invest substantial resources in the development and optimization of Gevo’s isobutanol technology for use with non-corn feedstocks including sugar cane, sugar beets, cassava, rice, sorghum, wheat and certain cellulosic sugars. This development work is anticipated to lead to process design packages (PDP) that would be expected to accelerate the licensing of Gevo technology to processors of these, particularly in Praj’s extensive customer base. The development work is expected to build upon the PDP that Gevo already has developed for corn, translating it to other feedstocks and plant configurations.

Praj would be the customer-facing entity marketing Gevo’s isobutanol technology to Praj’s existing customer base, and would provide the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for such projects. Gevo would be the direct licensor of its technology to these end-customers. Globally, Praj is one of the leading suppliers of EPC services to the ethanol industry, having provided such services to approximately 350 ethanol plants across 65 countries. It is anticipated that Praj and Gevo will also work together to commercialize Gevo’s technology for making renewable jet fuel from isobutanol in India.

As previously announced, Gevo and Praj expect to license up to 250 million gallons of Biobutanol capacity over the next ten years under this partnership.

In addition to its PDP development, Praj will also contribute engineering services to optimize Gevo’s Luverne facility. Initially, the focus will be to optimize energy and water usage at the plant, which is expected to lead to an even lower cost isobutanol process.

We are pleased to partner with Gevo in the commercialization of their isobutanol technology. We believe that the potential for isobutanol is significant and that it could provide our customers a path to meaningfully improve their profits. We have been working diligently with Gevo for the better part of 2015, and are glad to finally sign binding agreements with them. We look forward to creating a new and profitable opportunity for 1st generation ethanol plant owners, as well as accelerating the use of 2nd generation cellulosic feedstocks to produce isobutanol.

—Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj

Gevo has developed proprietary technology that uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production of isobutanol, as well as related products from renewable feedstocks.

Gevo’s strategy is to commercialize biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products to allow for the optimization of fermentation facilities’ assets, with the ultimate goal of maximizing cash flows from the operation of those assets. Gevo produces isobutanol, ethanol and high-value animal feed at its fermentation plant in Luverne, Minn. Gevo has also developed technology to produce hydrocarbon products from renewable alcohols.

Gevo currently operates a biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas, in collaboration with South Hampton Resources Inc., to produce renewable jet fuel, octane, and ingredients for plastics like polyester.

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