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 optioned the right to purchase 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.
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.
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.
Preliminary capital estimates for Net-Zero 1 are $700 million to $800 million, which would include on-site renewable energy generation. Gevo is in the process of completing front-end engineering and project planning to determine capital costs for Net-Zero 1 with more precision.
Gevo now has enough cash to fund 100 percent of the equity investment that is expected for Net-Zero 1. Gevo may bring in appropriate strategic or financial partners as equity investors if it is in Gevo’s interests to do so. Gevo expects to establish Net-Zero 1 in a special purpose entity. The full financing of Net-Zero 1 can only be completed after the front-end engineering phase is completed.
Gevo has approximately 48 million gallons per year of contracts signed for a mix of jet fuel and renewable gasoline products, representing approximately $1.5 billion of revenue across the life of the contracts. If Gevo secures additional take-or-pay contracts, Gevo would have to acquire and develop additional Net-Zero production sites.
Get the full picture of how Net-Zero 1 is expected to deliver on the promise of Net-Zero transportation fuels.
These are expected to be our sources of renewable energy:
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.
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:
Our Products Will Include:
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.
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.
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: