SCANDIA, KS, April 5, 2017 - Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, announced the acquisition of Nesika Energy LLC and its state-of-the-art ethanol facility in Scandia, Kansas. Butamax will now start to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the facility, while continuing to produce ethanol before and after this new capacity comes online.
“The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements,” said Stuart Thomas, Butamax CEO. “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.” The company says that about 200 existing corn ethanol plants could be converted to bio-isobutanol production.
Unlike isobutanol, which is produced from fossil feedstocks, bio-isobutanol is produced from renewable feedstocks and offers both a valuable option for increasing the renewable content of gasoline and a lower carbon alternative to fossil-derived isobutanol in existing chemical applications, according to Butamax.
Bio-isobutanol blends do not suffer from the water solubility issues of ethanol, which means they can be transported via existing fuel pipelines. In the chemicals industry, it is used both directly and as an important building-block for a wider range of products, the company said in a release.
Dev Sanyal, BP’s chief executive of alternative energy, said, “With the largest operated renewables business among the major oil companies, BP is committed to being a part of the global transition to a lower-carbon future. We invest in renewables where we believe we can build commercially viable businesses at scale, and this project, which brings together BP’s and DuPont’s complementary expertise, is another important step in that direction.”
“To drive growth in U.S. manufacturing, we must employ disruptive thinking and innovation to unlock the power of renewable raw materials,” said William F. Feehery, president, DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “With the purchase and planned build-out of the Nesika facility to include bio-isobutanol production, Butamax is taking the next step forward in advancing the bioeconomy, which supports economic growth and opportunity in rural communities.”
Butamax believes bio-isobutanol’s many applications across a variety of industries, when coupled with commercial-scale production, have the potential to be a strong step forward in growing the bioeconomy and the rural economy. The bioeconomy today contributes $393 billion to the United States each year and supports 4.22 million jobs, according to the latest USDA estimates, and many of those jobs are for highly skilled workers.