ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Navy, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and Gevo, Inc. (Nasdaq:GEVO), the world's only commercial producer of renewable isobutanol, announced today the first successful "alcohol-to-jet" (ATJ) supersonic flight at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md. This is the first aviation test program to comprehensively test and evaluate the performance of a 50/50 ATJ blend in supersonic (above Mach 1) afterburner operations - a critical test to successfully clear the F/A-18 for ATJ operations through its entire flight envelope.
The U.S. Navy is exploring alternative fuels that can serve as drop-in replacements to petroleum, as the availability of additional fuel sources can increase resiliency for operational commanders and help reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. The Navy Fuels Team at Patuxent River is leading the Navy's test and qualification efforts of alternative fuel sources. The F/A-18 testing is a significant milestone leading to a military specification (MIL-SPEC). This MIL-SPEC would allow for commercial supply of ATJ fuel to the Navy and Marines Corps.
Gevo's ATJ is produced at its demo biorefinery in Silsbee, TX, using isobutanol produced at its Luverne, MN, fermentation facility. Gevo is currently operating its Luverne plant in Side-by-Side operational mode, whereby isobutanol is being produced in one of the facility's four fermenters, while the other three fermenters are dedicated to ethanol production. The isobutanol that Gevo is producing is meeting product specifications for direct drop-in applications, as well as for use as a feedstock for the Silsbee biorefinery to produce hydrocarbons such as ATJ.
"We're extremely proud to have contributed to the U.S. Navy's successful ATJ test flights," said Patrick Gruber, Gevo's Chief Executive Officer. "These flights represent an accumulation of over four years of hard work involving innovative testing with multiple players and years of research. Together, we have proven that ATJ fuel is a viable alternative for both military and commercial applications. This is a great accomplishment for Gevo and the biofuels industry; we've validated that the isobutanol that we are successfully producing at Luverne, is an affordable, clean-burning, U.S.-made, drop-in fuel, that can also be further processed into direct replacement hydrocarbon products, such as ATJ fuel."
The F/A-18 Hornet is a single-and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. Its engine thrust from 36,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds utilizing two General Electric F414 turbo-fan engines.
Gevo is a leading renewable technology, chemical products, and next generation biofuels company. Gevo's underlying technology uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production and sale of isobutanol, as well as related products from renewable feedstocks. Gevo's strategy is to commercialize biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products to allow for the optimization of fermentation facilities' assets, with the ultimate goal of maximizing cash flows from the operation of those assets. Gevo produces isobutanol, ethanol and high-value animal feed at its first fermentation plant in Luverne, MN. Gevo has also developed technology to produce hydrocarbon products from renewable alcohols. Gevo currently operates its first biorefinery in Silsbee, TX, in collaboration with South Hampton Resources Inc., to produce renewable jet fuel, octane, and ingredients for plastics like polyester. Gevo has a marquee list of partners including The Coca-Cola Company, Toray Industries Inc., Total SA and LANXESS, Inc., an affiliate of LANXESS Corporation, among others. Gevo is committed to a sustainable bio-based economy that meets society's needs for plentiful food and clean air and water. For more information, visit www.gevo.com.
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements that are not purely statements of historical fact, and can sometimes be identified by our use of terms such as "intend," "expect," "plan," "estimate," "future," "strive" and similar words. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Gevo and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although the company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Gevo in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Gevo for the year ended December 31, 2013 and in subsequent reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K and other filings made with the Securities Exchange Commission by Gevo.