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BP, DuPont Joint Venture To Ramp Up Biochemical Production

A BP and DuPont biofuels joint venture recently acquired a Kansas ethanol plant in an effort to produce a common petrochemical from renewable sources.

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A BP and DuPont biofuels joint venture recently acquired a Kansas ethanol plant in an effort to produce a common petrochemical from renewable sources.

Butamax Advanced Biofuels announced the purchase of Nesika Energy and its plant in Scandia, Kan., earlier this month and said that it would begin adding bio-isobutanol to the facility’s existing ethanol operations.

Company officials said that renewable isobutanol could be produced at scale and at sufficient cost-effectiveness to compete with conventional isobutanol, a common solvent.

In addition to providing a low-carbon alternative in chemical applications, Butamax said that bio-isobutanol could be blended with gasoline in higher concentrations than ethanol and, unlike ethanol, could be transported through existing fuel pipelines.

The Scandia facility will serve as a demonstration facility for potential partners and test potential new applications for bio-isobutanol. The plant will also continue to produce ethanol.

DuPont and BP officials called the acquisition an important step forward toward a low-carbon future.

"The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements," said Butamax CEO Stuart Thomas. "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.”

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