DuPont, BP biofuel venture buys Kanas plant

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a 50/50 biofuels venture between BP and DuPont, announced the acquisition of Nesika Energy, LLC and its ethanol facility in Scandia, KS.

Butamax is headquartered near Wilmington. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Scandia is in north central Kansas near the Nebraska border.

Butamax will now start the detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the facility, while continuing to produce ethanol before and after adding this capacity. Both fuels use bio-materials.

Bio-isobutanol is an alternative to isobutanol derived from fossil oil.

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As a fuel, it can be blended with gasoline in higher concentrations than ethanol without compromising compatibility or performance. Bio-isobutanol blends do not suffer from the water solubility issues of ethanol, which means they can be transported via existing fuel pipelines.

In the chemicals industry, it is used both directly and as an important building-block for a wider range of products.

“To drive growth in U.S. manufacturing, we must employ disruptive thinking and innovation to unlock the power of renewable raw materials,” said William Feehery, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “With the purchase and planned build-out of the Nesika facility to include bio-isobutanol production, Butamax is taking the next step forward in advancing the bioeconomy, which supports economic growth and opportunity in rural communities.”

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Nesika site and would like to welcome Nesika and its employees to Butamax,” said Stuart Thomas, Butamax CEO. “The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements. 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.”

DuPont, BP and Butamax worked with the state of Kansas on the project.

When the newly acquired facility in Kansas has bio-isobutanol production capability, it will be used as a demonstration facility for potential licensees to see the technology in operation and serve as a proving ground for future developments.

Butamax benefits from the combination of DuPont’s proven industrial biotechnology experience and BP’s global fuels market knowledge, a release stated.

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