Industry News

LANXESS & Gevo Form Partnership to Develop Butyl Rubber from Renewable Biomass Feedstocks

Published on 2011-09-20. Author : SpecialChem

One of the most intriguing working relationships in the search for renewable biomass feedstocks is the partnership of Gevo, a renewable chemicals company in Colorado, USA, and LANXESS, who intends to open up alternative resources for the production of butyl rubber.

Together, scientists from LANXESS and Gevo are now making good progress in producing isobutene a key raw material for butyl rubber from renewable resources. Traditionally, isobutene has been produced in steam crackers, which require various petrochemical-based materials for feedstock. But the LANXESS-Gevo partnership is now pioneering a unique method that may hold the key to the sustainable production of isobutene.

Researchers at LANXESS have now created a breakthrough dehydration process that converts isobutanol into isobutene. In this process, water is removed from the isobutanol. The result is biologically obtained isobutene. The dehydration process has not only proven to be successful in the laboratory, but has also undergone several months of practical testing in a small-scale reactor at LANXESS' site in Leverkusen, Germany. These tests have shown that the process can deliver bio-based butyl rubber that meets the rigorous standards of the tire industry, which represents 25 percent of LANXESS' sales. In the long term, bio-renewable isobutene will account for half of LANXESS synthetic rubber production at its plant in Sarnia, Canada. Heitmann stated: "As the world's largest purchaser of isobutene, it is only prudent that we seek alternate supply options from renewable sources as a counterweight to fossil fuels. It underpins our commitment to Green Chemistry."

About Gevo

Gevo is one of the leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels companies. They are developing biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products using a combination of synthetic biology and chemistry. They plan to produce isobutanol, a versatile platform chemical for the liquid fuels and petrochemical market. Isobutanol has broad market applications as a solvent and a gasoline blendstock that can help refiners meet their renewable fuel and clean air obligations. It can also be further processed using well-known chemical processes into jet fuel and feedstocks for the production of synthetic rubber, plastics, and polyesters. Gevo's technology was designed to retrofit existing ethanol plants of all kinds.


LANXESS is one of the leading specialty chemicals companies with sales of EUR 7.1 billion in 2010 and currently around 15,800 employees in 30 countries. The company is at present represented at 46 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.


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