ButamaxTM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, global biofuel technology leader, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Butamax Patent Number 8,273,558 (‘558 patent). The innovative ‘558 patent technology provides a path to commercial production volumes of biobutanol for the global biofuel and other markets.
Butamax has specifically designed its microorganism to be cost-effective for all markets, but particularly for biofuel blending. While unmodified yeast may produce trace amounts of isobutanol via a different pathway than Butamax’s inventions, these unmodified yeasts only express certain enzymes in smaller compartments of the cell. This limits the availability of these enzymes to convert sugar to biobutanol in significant quantities and at high rates. Butamax developed modified genes that express key enzymes in the larger ‘cytosol’ area of the cell. This innovation, which is protected by the ‘558 patent allows for increased expression of these enzymes resulting in a significant increase in the volume and rate of isobutanol produced. This technology is critical for the commercial scale production needed to enable the global biofuels market. The ‘558 patent, which was filed from a 2005 priority application, also protects blending the isobutanol produced through the modified yeast cells with fossil fuels.
Since 2004, the Butamax team has relentlessly pioneered new technology to minimize the cost of manufacture for biobutanol for fuels and other markets. The company continues its commitment to developing and demonstrating its technology for successful market introduction into the global biofuels arena. Butamax constructed the first purpose-built bio-isobutanol demonstration facility located in Hull, England. Recently, the facility provided biobutanol to BP for its use in fueling portions of the Olympic fleet. Optimization of Butamax technology continues at this facility, prior to retrofit of a commercial facility and fuels market entry in 2014.
With this very deliberate approach to technology development and demonstration based on the tried and tested experience of BP and DuPont, Butamax continues to innovate in the areas of biocatalyst, engineering design, product recovery and end-use applications to deliver maximum value to our customers, partners and investors, and drive the biofuel industry forward. Butamax offers unique and comprehensive biofuel experience and the grant of the ‘558 patent further demonstrates the strength of its fuels expertise.
ButamaxTM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, a joint venture between BP and DuPont, was formed to develop and commercialize biobutanol as a next generation renewable biofuel for the transport market. The company benefits from the synergy of DuPont’s proven industrial biotechnology experience and BP’s global fuels market knowledge. Butamax’s proprietary technology offers a cost-advantaged manufacturing process for isobutanol with value from field to pump.
Source: Butamax, press release, 2012-09-25.