Gevo discusses plans for ethanol-to-SAF production

By Erin Voegele | March 01, 2022

Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo Inc., provided an update of the company’s plans to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other renewable hydrocarbons from ethanol during a fourth quarter earnings call held Feb. 24.

Gruber referenced the October 2021 agreement Gevo announced with Axens North America Inc. that establishes a strategic alliance aimed at accelerating the development of ethanol-to-jet projects in the U.S. The company plans to vertically integrate its process to help drive down carbon intensity (CI) scores. Gruber cited onsite biogas generation and soil carbon capture at farms as two of the ways Gevo plans to enable net-zero carbon fuel production. As part of that effort, he said Gevo is developing a business called Verity Tracking that uses blockchain technology to track carbon and other sustainability attributes. Gevo is expected to spinout Verity Tracking as a standalone company as soon as this year, he added.

In its fourth quarter financial results, Gevo indicated that the company is continuing to make process on the design and engineering work related to its proposed Net-Zero 1 project, currently planned for development in Lake Preston, South Dakota.  That facility is expected to convert ethanol into SAF and other hydrocarbons. Gevo currently expects Net-Zero 1 to be mechanically complete in 2024 and operational in 2025.

Gruber noted that in addition to new greenfield plants, Gevo also sees the opportunity to convert existing ethanol plants to SAF production, noting the company is working with Axens to try to make that happen. He briefly addressed the company’s decision to use ethanol as a building block for SAF rather than isobutanol, as previously planned. “We believe we can make more money, produce more SAF and have a complete engineering package that would work with existing ethanol plants,” Gruber said.

In October, Gevo signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ADM to support the production of SAF and other hydrocarbon fuels. Gruber said the company sees opportunity to convert some of ADM’s plants to SAF production, and noted that ADM also has one of the few operating CO2 sequestration sites in the U.S.

In addition, Gruber said Gevo is also exploring opportunities with other existing ethanol plants and said the company is “currently in discussions with several plant owners.”

Gevo reported revenue of $100,000 for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to $500,000 during the same period of 2020. No significant revenue was derived at Gevo’s production facility in Luverne, Minnesota, related to ethanol sales and related products.

Gross loss was $3.8 million for the quarter, compared to a #1.4 million loss reported for the same period of 2020. Loss from operations was $16.5 million, compared to a loss of $7.6 million. Net loss was $16.5 million, compared to $18.1 million.