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Clariant to Develop Catalysts to Enable Gevo’s Ethanol-to-Olefins Technology

One of the world’s top chemical companies, Clariant has signed an agreement with Gevo to devise a new catalyst for Gevo’s ETO technology. Gevo’s advanced ETO technology utilizes ethanol as a feedstock, producing custom-made combinations of isobutylene, propylene, and hydrogen that are useful standalone molecules, or as feedstocks to produce commodity plastics, diesel fuel, and similar products that would serve as reliable substitutes for their fossil-based equivalent products.

Image Credit: Ken Wolter |

The basis of the ETO technology was Gevo’s proprietary mixed metal oxide catalysts that generate high purity isobutylene or polymer-grade propylene, together with high yields of hydrogen in only one processing step from traditional fuel-grade specification ethanol.

Clariant focuses on the development and building of catalyst, which is anticipated to continue the enhancement of the ETO technology. Gevo focuses most of it's internal resources towards the optimization of its central isobutanol technology. As soon as the ETO technology has been effectively developed and ramped up, Clariant will be able to produce the quantity of catalyst needed to fulfill commercial production needs. With regard to isobutanol technology, Gevo plans to expand its ETO business through licensing.

Gevo has applied for various patents that are related to the this ETO technology. Apart from using ethanol as a gasoline blendstock, the ETO technology could provide the estimated 25 billion gallon global ethanol industry with a much wider set of end-product margin and market opportunities. Additionally, ETO can cater to the needs of chemical and fuel cell markets, including packaging, automobile parts, durable goods made of plastic, renewable diesel fuel and renewable hydrogen for the chemical, energy and fuel cell markets.

We see the opportunity for Clariant catalysts to convert ethanol, produced from cellulosic or other carbohydrate sources, into more value-added products to create greater growth potential for the ethanol industry.

Stefan Brejc, Head of Specialty Catalysts Business Segment, Clariant

"We are pleased to be working with Clariant. They have tremendous capability and know-how to scale-up developmental, customized catalysts to enable commercialization of new, large-scale processes. We see the potential with this technology to address several major opportunities cutting across chemicals, plastics, fuels and hydrogen," said Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo.

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