December 17, 2010
TetraVitae Bioscience announced today that it has completed a successful demonstration of its process to produce renewable n-butanol in a corn dry-mill pilot plant. The demonstration is a major milestone in creating economically competitive renewable n-butanol for the coatings, plastics, personal care, and packaging industries.
"With this achievement, TetraVitae has shown that producing renewable n-butanol in a commercial scale corn dry-mill will be a reality very soon," said Jay Kouba, CEO of TetraVitae. "Corn dry-mills offer the most direct, capital efficient, and low-cost route to large-scale production of renewable chemicals in North America. The industry has built a successful business based on fuel ethanol. TetraVitae is offering dry-mill operators a way to make higher value products using their existing capital base."
In the demonstration, TetraVitae worked with The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) to retrofit NCERC's fully integrated corn dry-mill pilot plant to enable it to run TetraVitae's technology.
The technology performed as expected, producing n-butanol, acetone, and distillers grains, and validating that the production process is economically competitive. The demonstration shows that a corn dry-mill can be retrofitted to efficiently produce n-butanol.
In addition, TetraVitae has demonstrated product purification. Working with the University of Texas in Austin's Separations Research Program, the company took the raw chemical products produced at NCERC and produced purified n-butanol and acetone in a continuous distillation. The products meet standard chemical industry specifications for solvents.
"n-Butanol and acetone are high value chemicals with many applications in the coatings, plastics, personal care, and packaging industries," said Kouba. "TetraVitae is creating partnerships with companies across these value chains that will result in economically competitive renewable products that consumers use every day."