NMMA endorses use of Gevo’s isobutanol in marine fuel market

By Gevo Inc. | June 17, 2015

Gevo Inc. has received a key endorsement for the use of its renewable isobutanol by the marine industry, following support and recommendation for the use of isobutanol by the National Marine Manufacturers Association as an effective, less damaging, more suitable biofuel alternative than ethanol for powering various types of marine and recreational boat engines.

The NMMA is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. Its member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Over the last five years, the NMMA has worked together with Gevo, the U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Coast Guard and others on the testing of isobutanol in a variety of marine engines. During this time, the NMMA has gathered a great amount of data supporting the viability of isobutanol as the preferred renewable fuel blendstock for gasoline-powered marine engines.

The studies showed that isobutanol fuel blends are a preferable power source for the marina markets. Isobutanol solves concerns that many boaters have with ethanol-blended fuels, which can damage internal engine parts. In the studies several advantages of isobutanol-blended fuel were apparent, including:

- Provides higher energy content;
- Prevents moisture absorption & phase separation; and
- Reduces engine corrosion.

"We believe that the marine industry will be an important market for Gevo's isobutanol. The technical properties of isobutanol shine in this application. We appreciate the efforts and the collaboration between Gevo and the NMMA throughout the testing program. We are pleased to have provided, from our plant in Luverne, the isobutanol needed to make the 16 percent isobutanol blended fuels that the studies required, for both on-water tests and in the laboratory," said Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. "We are delighted with the results of the testing and to have the endorsement of the NMMA. Isobutanol has proven to be an effective, highly compatible biofuel for the recreational boating industry."

"Based on years of collaborative testing across the industry, biobutanol fuel blends, such as the ones provided by Gevo during our test program, are a safe and viable alternative to ethanol for use in recreational marine engines and boats up to 16.1 percent by volume," said Jeff Wasil, Engineering Manager, Emissions Testing, Certification and Regulatory Development at BRP US Inc. (Bombardier Recreational Products), an NMMA member.

The formal announcement by the NMMA to endorse isobutanol as an industry-wide biofuel alternative comes as the fuel industry focuses on addressing the congressionally-mandated renewable fuel standard (RFS), which requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into the gasoline supply by 2022. These events will help broaden the market for Gevo's isobutanol fuel technology, enabling Gevo to support recreational boating in its efforts to move towards alternative, renewable fuels and chemicals.