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August 27, 2013

Gevo to produce biobased para-xylene at newly opened biorefinery complex

Mary Page Bailey

Gevo, Inc. (Englewood, Colo.; held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its demonstration-scale para-xylene plant in Silsbee, Texas. The para-xylene 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. Congressman Steve Stockman, Mike Schultheis, Principal Engineer Sustainable Packaging Global R&D of The Coca-Cola Co., James C. Greenwood, CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and Simon Upfill-Brown, president of South Hampton Resources were on hand to deliver remarks and participate in the grand opening.
Gevo is working with The Coca-Cola Co. to deliver a new production technology for renewable para-xylene, a key building block for producing fully renewable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for beverage bottles. Research and Development support for this plant was provided by The Coca-Cola Co. under a joint-development agreement.
Gevo is working with Toray Industries, Inc. to develop renewable para-xylene, 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 para-xylene plant was provided by Toray Industries, Inc. Gevo and Toray have successfully produced fully renewable and recyclable PET fibers and films from isobutanol at laboratory scale in 2011. Toray has also signed an offtake agreement for para-xylene produced at the Silsbee facility. Toray will purchase para-xylene from Gevo and will convert it into PET fibers, textiles and films for scaleup evaluation and market development purposes.  Gevo's para-xylene, once converted to bio-based PET, has high potential for any commercial application currently served by petroleum-derived PET.

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