Gevo, Inc. has begun supplying the U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center with initial quantities of finished 16.1% renewable isobutanol-blended gasoline for engine testing.
“Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol-blended gasoline is truly a drop-in fuel, deliberately designed to be fully compliant with marine fuel specifications, including fit-for-purpose properties,” said Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s chief executive officer. “Isobutanol's low-water solvency and non-corrosive characteristics will offer consumers a high-performance, renewable biofuel ideally suited for a wide variety of marine engine applications.”
The U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center is using the Gevo-blended fuel as part of a 12-month, long-term operational study on marine engines that began during June. The testing is being performed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the U.S. Coast Guard, Honda, and Mercury and will focus on two of the Coast Guard’s platform boats – 38-foot Special Purpose Craft -Training Boat and 25-foot Response Boat - Small.
The U.S. Coast Guard completed a three-month round of testing in Florida earlier this year under the CRADA with Honda engines running on fuel supplied by Gevo which contained 16.1% renewable isobutanol. Engines were run at full throttle for an 8 hour day for several months and then broken down and inspected.
Isobutanol is a biofuel that compared to ethanol, has higher energy density, lower RVP, and does not present phase separation issues seen with ethanol. Mike Coleman, Project Manager at the USCG R&D Center stated, “All testing so far has been positive, and when the Yorktown tests are completed next year, we expect to have the information available to allow a decision on whether 16.1% Isobutanol fuel blends will be certified for use in the Coast Guard gasoline engine fleet."
“This testing will validate isobutanol-blended gasoline as a clean-burning, homegrown, drop-in fuel for marine applications,” Gruber added. "As we accelerate our full-scale commercial production efforts at the world’s first renewable isobutanol plant in Luverne, Minn., we are extremely excited to be working with a partner like the U.S. Coast Guard to evaluate and develop a product line of high-performance, isobutanol-based fuel blends for the marine engine market."
Testing will take place at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Va.