Butamax Advanced Biofuels has acquired natural gas supplier Nesika Energy and its ethanol facility in the US state of Kansas for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition is aimed at commercializing bio-isobutanol, a cost-effective alternative to isobutanol made from fossil feedstock.

Butamax will commence the detailed engineering work needed to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the ethanol plant acquired from Nesika in Scandia. It will also carry on with its ethanol production before and after the bio-isobutanol capacity addition.

Based in Delaware, Butamax is a 50:50 joint venture between BP and DuPont in the US. It was founded with the purpose of combining the expertise of BP in fuels with the industrial biotechnology know-how of DuPont.

The company will develop and commercialize bio-isobutanol as a renewable biofuel and chemical.

DuPont industrial biosciences president William F. Feehery said: “To drive growth in U.S. manufacturing, we must employ disruptive thinking and innovation to unlock the power of renewable raw materials.

“With the purchase and planned build-out of the Nesika facility to include bio-isobutanol production, Butamax is taking the next step forward in advancing the bioeconomy, which supports economic growth and opportunity in rural communities.”

The BP and DuPont joint venture intends to license its proprietary bio-isobutanol technology and take it beyond its first production facility in Scandia to a global scale.

After the Scandia plant is equipped with bio-isobutanol production capability, it will be used as a facility to demonstrate for potential licensees to look at the technology in action, besides catering as an established base for future developments.

Butamax CEO Stuart Thomas said: “The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements. Our plan is to broadly license our technology, and Nesika and the technology deployed at the site will play a key role in that activity.”