Introducing Net-Zero 1: A Source for Sustainable Liquid Hydrocarbons

Learn More About Net-Zero 1

Gevo announced the concept of Net Zero Projects in early 2021, and the first of these projects is expected to build a plant to produce energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons using renewable energy and Gevo’s proprietary technology. Gevo has purchased approximately 240 acres of land near Lake Preston, South Dakota, where it is currently developing its Net-Zero 1 Project. This site is attractive because of its abundant sustainable corn supply, high-protein feed demand, rail transportation, and renewable energy potential. 

Net-Zero 1 is expected to transform renewable energy into energy-dense liquids. The name “Net-Zero 1” is a reference to the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions expected over the whole life of the fuel products we will produce, including the burning of the fuel in an engine or boiler.

  • Fuel products are expected to achieve a net-zero GHG footprint across the whole life cycle (Based on full cradle-to-cradle analysis using Argonne National Laboratories GREET model)
  • Includes agricultural practices, energy sources, supply chain, and end fate of product.
  • Fuels produced from agricultural residue, a component of abundant corn feedstock, while producing high-value protein products and corn oil
  • 100% of the thermal demand for boilers expected to be met with biogas generated on-site from a wastewater treatment plant
  • Behind-the-Meter renewable wind power will be used for electricity needs
  • Green Hydrogen is expected to be made from water and renewable electricity
  • Optionality to bring additional renewable natural gas into the program

How will it work? Gevo designs our entire business with carbon value in mind from the beginning, and carbon value has an impact on everything we do.

We expect to transform renewable energy sources into a drop-in, fungible commodity that can be stored and transported globally and easily.

By focusing on carbon value, Gevo is set up to maximize the value of renewable energy sources. When we focus on that goal, everything we do in developing our plans, building our facilities, working with airlines, fuel companies, farmers, and other partners, becomes focused on sustainability.

Download this fact sheet to gain a better understanding of the Net-Zero 1 project.








Producing Zero-Carbon Fuels and More

Gevo expects that Net-Zero 1 would have the capability to produce approximately 60 million gallons per year (MGPY) of liquid hydrocarbons in the form of jet fuel and renewable gasoline. When burned, these fuels should have a “net-zero” greenhouse gas footprint as measured across the whole of the lifecycle based on Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model.

In addition, Net-Zero 1 is expected to produce at least 420,000,000 pounds per year of high-value nutritional products.

To reduce and eliminate the fossil resources used in the plant, it is expected to have an anaerobic digestion wastewater treatment plant that is capable of generating enough biogas to run the plant and supply a combined heat and power unit, capable of meeting approximately 30 percent of the plant’s electricity needs. The remaining 70 percent of electricity to run the plant is expected to come from wind power. Net-Zero 1 may also obtain renewable natural gas (“RNG”) using manure from dairy or beef cows.

Watch This Video

Get the full picture of how Net-Zero 1 is expected to deliver on the promise of Net-Zero transportation fuels.

Where Will We Get Our Renewable Energy?

These are expected to be our sources of renewable energy:

  • Photosynthesis. Plants use the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow corn (and eventually, other bio-based feedstocks).
  • Renewable Natural Gas. We intend to capture biogas from livestock manure, a stream of wastewater from our plant, and stillage, the leftover sugary residue from our fermentation process.
  • Renewable Electricity. By using cogeneration, sometimes called combined heat and power (CHP), we use biogas to heat our production process, and also capture the heat to generate our own electricity. We have also used wind turbines effectively to power our facility.

Net-Zero 1 may be unique. Once the facility is operational (estimated to be in 2025), we believe it will be the only industrial plant of its size and scale that will not rely on any electricity from the grid.

What Are Energy-Dense Liquid Hydrocarbons?

We create our energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons to be exact replacements for the fuels they are designed to replace. Sustainable aviation fuel has the same molecular makeup as petroleum-based jet fuel. Likewise, our renewable premium gasoline is the same as petroleum-based gasoline. But because we make them ourselves, we leave out a lot of the components that come with petroleum pumped out of the ground—some 4,000 chemicals that are unwanted, but too expensive or complicated to remove from the fuels. Using those petroleum fuels puts those chemicals into the environment.

Details about our energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons:

  • They are drop-in fuels. This is important. They work in today’s engines with no modifications. Not even different filters are needed. And we couldn’t call them drop-in unless they could be dropped into the tank of any car, plane or boat or the systems that supply those vehicles. That means our fuels can go into a tank where petroleum-based fuels already are, and petroleum-based fuels can be “dropped in” on top of them, with no change in engine performance. They’re the same fuel.
  • They work in existing infrastructure. Our fuels will work in the pumps, pipelines, tankers, tank trucks, holding tanks—anywhere that petroleum fuels can be stored and delivered, our fuel will work in that system too.
  • They are expected to immediately reduce carbon impact in every application. Fill up with our fuel and reduce the carbon footprint immediately. There’s no need to alter the vehicle.
  • They are expected to have Net-Zero greenhouse gas potential. When burned to generate energy for transportation, these fuels could change the game.

Our Products Will Include:

  • High-Value Protein and Oil. including livestock feed, pet nutrition, and aquaculture, and corn oil.
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel
  • Renewable Premium Gasoline
  • Oxygenated Blendstocks for Gasoline
  • In the future we also intend to produce Renewable Diesel

Get More Information about Net-Zero 1

Net-Zero 1 will be a groundbreaking step in Gevo’s mission to capture renewable energy and transform it into liquid fuels. Because the plant’s design and operation are constructed around Gevo’s principles of a Circular Economy that reduces waste, employs renewable energy, and recycles atmospheric carbon, there will be many aspects of the operation coming together at once.


The Circular Economy Is the Key

Sustainably grown feedstocks—and our process of de-fossilization—will make the difference. That’s why we intend to put our energy into improving agriculture while putting nutrition into the foodchain.

Gevo’s unique systems approach will be focused on getting the most out of our sustainably grown plant-based feedstock to improve global food supply as well as cut GHG emissions from transportation. We strive to source corn feedstock from farmers who use carbon-sequestering regenerative agricultural practices, then multiply the effect by separating the protein and starch out of every kernel.

  • Nutrition first, Gevo will produce more protein products compared to renewable fuels, on a tonnage basis
  • Farmers succeed, growing their operations and employing more people
  • Better economic conditions help rural communities thrive
  • Farms participate in growth of renewable energy infrastructure
  • Every acre produces both food and fuel

We De-Carbonize Our Entire Process—Starting with Regenerative Agriculture

According to Regeneration International, regenerative agriculture is “a holistic land-management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience, and nutrient density.”

At Gevo, we make use of photosynthesis as an energy-efficient tool for carbon recycling.

Regenerative agriculture is particularly effective with corn:

  • Stalks grow to more than six feet tall each year, drawing carbon from the atmosphere
  • Stalks and leaves store carbon
  • Root structure stores carbon
  • Low-till and no-till farming techniques leave roots, stalks, and leaves in soil
  • Organic matter in soil helps water retention
  • Soil biodiversity helps sequester carbon more deeply

Expected Job Creation and Economic Impact of Net-Zero 1

  • The NZ1 construction is expected to employ approximately 1,000 people
  • The permanent regional employment impact is estimated to be over 900 jobs (about 70 FTEs on site)

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