BP/DuPont JV Buys Nesika Energy
Butamax Advanced Biofuels, owned 50% each by BP and DuPont, will now start detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the Kansas plant, which will continue to produce ethanol both before and after the project is completed. Investment costs and capacity details were not disclosed.
The addition of bio-isobutanol is the next step in Butamax’s plans to commercialize the renewable material. It can be used to increase the renewable content of gasoline and as a lower carbon alternative to fossil-based isobutanol in chemical applications.
“The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements. Our plan is to broadly license our technology, and Nesika and the technology deployed at the site will play a key role in that activity,” said Stuart Thomas, CEO of Butamax.
Once the Kansas plant has the capability to produce bio-isobutanol, it will be used as a demonstration facility for potential licensees to see the technology in operation as well as serve as a proving ground for future developments.
Butamax believes that once commercialized, bio-isobutanol has the potential to be a strong step forward in the growing bio-economy. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that the bio-economy currently contributes $393 billion to the US every year and supports 4.22 million jobs.
The joint venture was formed in 2009 to develop and commercialize bio-isobutanol as a next-generation renewable biofuel and chemical, benefiting from DuPont’s industrial biotechnology experience and BP’s global fuels market knowledge.