Gevo starts up paraxylene facility

US-based bio firm Gevo, the world's only commercial producer of bio-isobutanol, has opened a facility to manufacture plastic feedstock paraxylene from biomass in Texas. Gevo is working with Coca-Cola and materials firm Toray to deliver a new production technology for renewable paraxylene, a key building block for producing fully renewable PET for beverage bottles and polyester for packaging films and fibres used in textiles, clothing and other applications.

Gevo and Toray have successfully produced fully renewable and recyclable PET fibres and films from isobutanol at laboratory scale in 2011. Toray has also signed an off-take agreement for paraxylene produced at the Silsbee facility and will convert it into PET fibres, textiles and films for scale-up evaluation and market development purposes.

The majority of the world's PET production is for synthetic fibres (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.

Gevo’s main product is a bio-based isobutanol that can be used as an alternative feedstock or in biofuels. The firm has executed initial commercial-scale production runs at its isobutanol facility in Luverne, constructed in conjunction with ICM, a leading provider of proprietary ethanol process technology, and has a marquee list of partners including Coke, Sasol Chemical Industries and Lanxess.


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