Gevo proves commercial-scale isobutnaol production with corn mash

By Erin Voegele | November 07, 2013

Gevo Inc. has released its third quarter financial results, reporting progress with isobutanol production at its Minnesota facility and other business operations. “I’m excited about the progress we’ve made, both at Luverne and across our business,” said Gevo CEO Pat Gruber during a call to discuss the results. 

While isobutanol production was paused at the Luverne, Minn., plant last year due to infection issues, Gruber said that the company has spent a lot of time and effort modifying its equipment, fermentation conditions and operating procedures. As of the last quarter, he said the company has proven it can run the plant, produce isobutnaol and control infections. “We did this using dextrose as a feedstock,” he said, noting the purpose was to learn about the plant’s equipment and technology.

Gevo has since transitioned to the use of corn mash feedstock. “We installed new equipment to help us manage infections that come with corn mash,” he said, noting the commissioning process is underway. Over the past few weeks, he said the plant has proven it can make corn mash that meets the sterility requirements needed to produce isobutanol.

“It is exciting to see that the Gevo proprietary yeast biocatalyst and the GIFT system is performing in line with our expectations,” Gruber said. “Our technology is working. We will continue to work through the commissioning of Luverene in the fourth quarter.”

Gevo also spoke about the paraxylene demonstration plant that began operations during the third quarter, noting that the facility has already achieved its goal of a 92 percent selectivity for the chemical building block in a single pass. In addition, Gruber discussed the supply agreement signed with the U.S. Coast Guard to supply isobtuanol-blended gasoline. Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet process is also continuing to progress, he said.

Regarding financial results, Gevo reported a gross loss of $3.619 million for the quarter, compared to a gross loss of $5.517 million for the same period of 2012. During the first nine months of the year, Gevo posted a gross loss of $6.336 million, down from $7.138 million during the first three quarters of last year.

The company reported a $15.885 million net loss for the third quarter, with a net loss per share attributable to stockholders of 34 cents. During the same period of last year, the company reported a net loss of $12.051 million, or 31 cents per share attributable to shareholders.