Gevo held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday for its
demonstration-scale paraxylene plant in Silsbee, Texas.
The paraxylene facility is located adjacent to Gevo's existing
jet fuel plant in Silsbee, and establishes the site as a biorefinery that will serve the
renewable chemicals and true drop-in biofuels markets.
Gevo says it is working with The Coca-Cola Company to
deliver a new production technology for renewable paraxylene,
a key building block for producing fully-renewable PET for
beverage bottles. Research and development (R&D) support
for this plant was provided by Coca-Cola.
Gevo is also working with Toray Industries to develop
renewable paraxylene, a building block for fully renewable
polyester for packaging films and fibers used in textiles,
clothing and other applications. Funding assistance for the construction of the paraxylene plant
was provided by Toray.
Project officials noted that Gevo
and Toray have successfully produced fully renewable and
recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers and films
from isobutanol at laboratory scale in 2011.
Toray has also signed an offtake agreement for paraxylene
produced at the Silsbee facility, in which Toray will purchase
paraxylene from Gevo and will convert it into PET fibers,
textiles and films for scale-up evaluation and market
"We believe we have an elegant, viable route to
fully-renewable, non-petroleum derived PET and we are pleased
that The Coca-Cola Company and Toray have supported this work,"
said Patrick Gruber, Gevo's CEO. "Fully renewable PET has the
potential to make the world a better place by reducing our
dependence on oil and the environmental consequences associated
with petroleum-based raw materials."
The majority of the world's PET production is for synthetic
fibers (in excess of 60%), with bottle production accounting
for around 30% of global demand. Gevo's paraxylene, once
converted to bio-based PET, has high potential for any
commercial application currently served by petroleum-derived
PET, according to company officials.