Gevo, Inc., announced today that it has completed production of the world’s first cellulosic renewable jet fuel that is specified for commercial flights. Gevo successfully adapted its patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol, which was then further converted into Gevo’s Alcohol-to-Jet fuel (ATJ) fuel. This ATJ meets the ASTM D7566 specification allowing it to be used for commercial flights. The revisions to the ASTM D7566 specification, which occurred earlier this year, includes ATJ derived from renewable isobutanol, regardless of the carbohydrate feedstock (i.e. cellulosics, corn, sugar cane, molasses, etc.).
Gevo produced over 1,000 gallons of the cellulosic ATJ. Alaska Airlines is expected to fly the first commercial flight using this cellulosic jet fuel in the next few months. Gevo believes that this would be the first ever commercial flight flown with a cellulosic renewable jet fuel. This follows on the back of the two commercial flights that were flown by Alaska Airlines on Gevo’s ATJ in June of this year. The ATJ for the June flights was derived from isobutanol produced at Gevo’s Luverne, MN, production facility using sustainable corn as the sugar feedstock.
The cellulosic ATJ was produced in conjunction with the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA supplied the sugars that were derived from forest residuals in the Pacific Northwest. Gevo produced the cellulosic renewable isobutanol at its demonstration facility in St. Joseph, MO, that it jointly operates with ICM Inc. The cellulosic renewable isobutanol was then transported to Gevo’s biorefinery facility in Silsbee, TX, that Gevo operates with South Hampton Resources where the cellulosic renewable isobutanol was converted into ATJ.
“I have long championed the development of commercial jet fuel made from renewable sources. It was what we first envisioned when the Virgin Green Fund invested in Gevo with the aim of developing fuel from cellulosic materials such as wood waste. I am very pleased the first commercial flight using Gevo's cellulosic jet fuel is to be flown soon by Alaska Airlines, as we look to move the aviation industry towards a renewable future," said Sir Richard Branson.
“Gevo’s production of this cellulosic ATJ removes all doubt that cellulosic sugars can be successfully converted into isobutanol using Gevo’s technology. Gevo’s ATJ technology then reliably converts isobutanol into renewable jet fuel, regardless of the sugar source. I’m looking forward to seeing this fuel power an Alaska Airlines flight in the near future. I wish to congratulate our team at Gevo, all the other NARA members, and thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, who funded the work,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer.
Gevo is a member of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and is providing the organization with technology to enable the commercial scale processing of cellulosic sugars from wood waste into valuable products. NARA is a five-year project supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and is comprised of 33 member organizations from industry, academia and government laboratories. Its mission is to facilitate development of biojet and bioproduct industries in the Pacific Northwest using forest residuals that would otherwise become waste products.