Developing Isobutanol and Ethanol Processes in Luverne, Minnesota

Gevo’s development facility plant in Luverne, Minnesota, is situated among the cornfields.

After all, it’s a former ethanol plant that was built to capitalize on the government regulations that encourage the use of ethanol blendstock in gasoline. We’ve modified this plant so it can help us develop processes to produce both ethanol and isobutanol.

The Process

At a typical dry-mill corn ethanol plant, the corn mash stream coming out of the front end of the process that feeds the ethanol fermentation is the same stream used for isobutanol fermentation. This stream is prepared for ethanol and isobutanol fermentation, then added to large non-sterile fermentation tanks, where proprietary yeast is added to convert the sugars to ethanol or isobutanol.

Using Wind Power to Reduce Our Carbon Intensity

To offset the energy intensity of the biofuel plant in Luverne, Minnesota, Gevo has secured a partnership with wind turbine company zero6, formerly Juhl Energy, to provide renewable electricity through wind power.