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Lanxess invests $10 million in Gevo

By Gerald Ondrey |

Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany; www.lanxess.com), the world’s largest producer of synthetic rubber, has invested in U.S. biofuel & biochemical company Gevo, Inc. (Denver, Colo.; www.gevo.com) as part of a proposed cooperation to produce isobutene from renewable resources. The companies aim to find an alternative route to source isobutene – a key raw material needed in the manufacturing of butyl rubber. Isobutene is conventionally produced in steam crackers, which use petroleum derivatives as a feedstock. Alternatively, Gevo is developing a fermentation process to produce the organic compound isobutanol from the fermentable sugars in biomass, starting with corn. Isobutanol is a fundamental building block for making biodiesel, bio jet fuel as well as plastics, rubber and fibers. Gevo and Lanxess intend to use their technical know-how to produce isobutene by dehydrating isobutanol. Researchers from Lanxess’ innovation department and the Butyl Rubber business unit are working together to optimize the dehydration process, which has proven successful in the laboratory. Lanxess has invested $10 million in Gevo. In exchange, it has received a minority shareholding in Gevo and a seat on the director’s board, which…
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