Gevo proposes to build ‘Net Zero 1’ project in South Dakota

By Gevo Inc. | January 11, 2021

Gevo Inc. announces the concept of Net-Zero Projects for the production of energy dense liquid hydrocarbons using renewable energy and Gevo’s proprietary technology. The concept of a Net-Zero Project is to convert renewable energy (photosynthetic, wind, renewable natural gas, biogas) from a variety of sources into energy dense liquid hydrocarbons, that when burned in traditional engines, have the potential to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole lifecycle of the liquid fuel: from the way carbon is captured from the atmosphere, processed to make liquid fuel products, and including the end use (burning as a fuel for cars, planes, trucks, and ships). Gevo announces that its project currently planned to be constructed at Lake Preston, South Dakota will be the first Net-Zero Project and will be named “Net-Zero 1.” Gevo expects that Net-Zero 1 would have the capability to produce liquid hydrocarbons that when burned have a “net-zero” greenhouse gas footprint.

Net-Zero 1 is currently expected to have a capacity of 45 MMgy of hydrocarbons (for gasoline and jet fuel, based on current take-or-pay contracts), to produce more than 350 million pounds per year of high protein feed products for use in the food chain, to produce enough renewable natural gas to be self-sufficient for the production process needs, and also to generate renewable electricity with a combined heat and power system. Net-Zero 1 is also expected to utilize wind energy.

Because of the low-carbon footprint feedstocks, the sustainable agricultural practices used to produce feedstock, and the use of renewable energy for the production processes, much of which is expected to be generated on-site, the hydrocarbon fuel products produced at Net-Zero 1 have the potential to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as measured across the whole of the lifecycle based on Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model, the pre-eminent science-based lifecycle analysis model. The GREET model takes into account emissions and impacts "cradle to cradle" for renewable resource-based fuels including: inputs and generation of raw materials, agriculture practices, chemicals used in production processes of both feedstocks and products, energy sources used in production and transportation, and end fate of products, which for fuel products is usually burning to release energy.

The capital cost for Net-Zero 1 is projected to be on the order of $700 million including the hydrocarbon production and related renewable energy infrastructure which includes anaerobic digestion to produce biogas to run our plant and generate some electricity on-site. Citigroup is assisting Gevo in raising the necessary capital for Net-Zero 1.

“This is not a new project but rather the first of the projects that we have been working on with Citigroup to get financed. We are naming our future projects Net-Zero to make clear the mission we are on to reduce GHG emissions. By using carbon from the air as our raw material source with its inherent low-carbon footprint, sustainable agriculture, a combination of renewable energy obtained from photosynthesis, wind, and biogas, we see that it is possible to transform renewable energy into liquid hydrocarbon fuels that work with combustion engines typical of cars, planes, and trucks with the added benefit that these fuels have a net-zero carbon footprint across the whole lifecycle. Think about it: it is conceivable to eliminate tailpipe emissions from cars, planes and trucks on a net GHG basis, while leveraging existing cars, planes, and trucks on a full 'cradle to cradle' GHG basis. Our Net-Zero 1 Project isn’t just about capturing renewable energy and carbon, and transforming it into liquid renewable energy; it’s also about generating enormous quantities of protein, and nutrition for the food chain. The high protein feed would be low-carbon footprint too—and we are happy to help farmers raise beef, pigs, chicken, and dairy in a way that lowers GHG emissions. We’ve got work to do to make it all happen,” said Patrick R. Gruber, CEO of Gevo. “We believe that there will be demand for additional Net-Zero projects in the future,” Gruber continued.