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USPTO awards Gevo patent for process to upgrade or convert ethanol and bio-based alcohols to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels

US-headed biofuels- and biochemicals producer and process developer Gevo, Inc., has announced that it has received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a process that encompasses upgrading ethanol and bio-based alcohols into drop-in, bio-based diesel, and jet fuel products.

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Gevo, Inc., has received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a process that encompasses upgrading ethanol and bio-based alcohols into drop-in, bio-based diesel, and jet fuel products.

The USPTO has awarded Gevo U.S. Patent No. 11,078,433 titled “Conversion of Mixtures of C 2 -C 8 Olefins to Jet Fuel and/or Diesel Fuel in High Yield from Bio-Based Alcohols.”

According to Gevo, the patented process establishes a new technology and route to hydrocarbons that did not previously exist. This creates an opportunity for Gevo to diversify ethanol production to help meet the increasing demand for renewable diesel and jet fuel.

We have been working on the conversion of alcohols into hydrocarbons for many years. Ethanol, when produced using renewable energy in combination with other sustainable practices, could be a good feedstock. The technology in this patent is different from what others have done in that it provides high yields of quality diesel fuel, and can also produce SAF if we want. We are believers in the ‘net-zero’ approach. We need to account for carbon and related emissions across the whole of the business system. We must pay attention to the source of renewable carbon and the energy involved with manufacturing fuel products. But that alone isn’t enough. We also have to pay attention to additional key sustainability attributes in the business system, like agricultural practices, land use, protein production, water, and all the rest. From our work on Net-Zero 1, we have a deep conviction that net-zero hydrocarbons are possible and commercially viable. We need to work to further decarbonize ethanol, said Dr Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo.

Securing the patent falls in line with Gevo’s business model to develop, apply, and scale technology that can be used to produce drop-in hydrocarbon fuels. These fuels, when coupled with Gevo’s integrated-systems approach that includes regenerative agriculture and renewable energy, could produce net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the lifecycle of the product.

This patent covers technology that has the flexibility to make quality renewable diesel fuel or jet fuel from ethanol in a simple catalytic process. Producing renewable diesel makes sense in some regions of the world, whereas in others, producing high levels of jet fuel might be the right economic answer. There is a lot of overlap in the production technology used for the conversion of ethanol or isobutanol to hydrocarbons, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we would broaden our scope. The combination of using decarbonized, plant-based alcohols, with our proprietary innovations to processing techniques known in the chemical industry can be a very powerful approach to dial in the desired renewable hydrocarbon fuel product mix, commented Dr Paul Bloom, Chief Carbon and Innovation Officer of Gevo.

Gevo believes the grant of this patent adds additional value to the company’s intellectual property portfolio, which has previously been valued at greater than US$400 million by Peak Value IP LLC in 2020.

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