KiOR vs Butamax: Who's the Best?

August 12, 2011 |

Background: This is a first round, East Regional match-up between #2 seed KiOR and #15 seed Butamax, in the 2011 Transformative Technologies tourney, from Biofuels Digest.

The winner gets: Most votes advances to the second-round (round of 32), and a shot at the Biofuels Sweet Sixteen.

The loser: Goes home.

Laurels: KiOR is the #47 company in the 2010-11 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy poll. Butamax currently holds down the #38 position.

The match-up: It’s been a huge year for KiOR – IPO, progress towards its first commercial facility in Mississippi. It’s a catalytic pyrolysis technology – the first to (reportedly) overcome the stability and upgrading issues that have plagued pyrolysis technologies. Butamax is JV of Dupont and BP commercializing Dupont’s biobutanol fermentation technology. Butamax has been in the news lately over a pair of lawsuits filed against IPO darling Gevo over patent infringement.

Looking at KiOR

Developing its first commercial facility in Columbus, Mississippi, USA

Technology: Catalytic pyrolysis, producing renewable Drop-in fuel

The latest: In Mississippi, the state legislature approved Governor Haley Barbour’s special session request for a $75 million loan to kior for a proposed development of five biofuel plants in Mississippi by the Houston-based pyrolysis group. Kior committed to invest a total of $500 million of its own funds towards its first three projects, including sites in the northern city of Columbus, in the center of the state in Newton County, and near the city of Bude in the struggling southwestern section of the state. The Digest has esimtaed production volumes and completion dates based on the investment size and typical permitting and construction timetables.

Looking at Butamax

Technology: Fermentation of corn starch, producing Biobutanol – retrofit of existing corn ethanol plants

The latest: BP and Dupont have been in joint R&D for 7 years, and the last five focused on biobutanol; The UK demonstration plant commissioned in Q3 2010. Expecting to enter the US market and be commercially viable in late 2012 and early 2013, and Brazil in 2013. Volumes are Digest estimates based on retrofits of 100 Mgy ethanol plants to 80 Mgy of butanol.

 


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