By our colleague Edna Vassilovski:

The US and PCT patent organizations published the following patents and applications during the week of August 15, 2010:

  1. WO2010093835 (Xyleco) relates to a utilizing existing manufacturing facilities, such as those used for the production of starch-, sucrose-, or lactose-based ethanol, to produce non-starch, non-sucrose, and non-lactose based products. The disclosure contemplates using the facility as-is, adding or removing equipment from the facility, as well as adapting the facility to include additional functionalities such as including a recalcitrance reducing system, and/or an enzymatic hydrolysis system.
  2. WO2010093832 (Xyleco) relates to methods for converting cellulosic and lignocellulosic feedstocks to a concentrated form which can be easily transported and utilized. The disclosed method involves mixing a cellulosic or lignocellulosic feedstock with a solvent such as water and a saccharifying enzyme and transporting the resulting mixture.
  3. WO2010093829 (Xyleco) relates to methods for processing biomass, for example in the context of producing biofuels. The method involves measuring the lignin content of the biomass and adjusting process parameters based in empirically determined relationships between lignin content and recalcitrance. According to the specification, the disclosed process enables manufacturing plants to utilize different types of feedstock and compensate for variations within the feedstocks.
  4. WO2010093765 (Arch Chemicals) relates to an antimicrobial composition for use during the fermentation step in the conversion of sugarcane to ethanol. The composition comprises an antimicrobial agent of the guanidine family, e.g. poly(hexamethyl biguandine) (PHMB), an antibiotic agent, and a surfactant in amounts sufficient to control wild yeast, Lactobacilli and bacteria microbiota contamination.
  5. WO2010093399/U.S. Patent Pub. No. 20100209548 (ENE003) relates to a portable apparatus for ethanol production and extraction from organic feedstock such as corn mash. According to the specification, the apparatus is designed to be mechanically simple and affordable so that it is suitable for use by farmers in small farms, yet can be upscaled for larger facilities.
  6. WO2010093365 (Helio Biotechnology Corporation) relates to cyanobacteria nucleic acid sequences, vectors and host cells useful in the production of ethanol, and methods of producing ethanol from solar energy and CO2 using cyanobacteria. For example, the specification discloses a genetically engineered cyanobacteria comprising a polynucleotide construct having a polynucleotide sequence encoding pyruvate decarboxylase enzyme (which can be obtained from Acetobacter pasteurianus plasmid pGADL201) and a copper ion inducible promoter (such as the pPetE promoter). According to the specification, in contrast to biomass ethanol production, the disclosed help reduce greenhouse gas by utilizing large quantities of CO2 as a carbon source for fuel production.
  7. WO2010093310 (Boson Energy) relates to a process for pelletization of biomass to increase its bulk density and reduce its storage and transportation costs. The process, which can be continuous, involves distinct heating, defibration and pelletization steps, which are all carried out in an substantially oxygen-free atmosphere. The heating and pelletization steps are carried out at a temperature within the glass transition or softening temperature interval of the lignin contained in the raw material.
  8. WO2010092924 (University of Miyazaki), which is published in Japanese, appears to relate to pentose-assimilating recombinant E. coli, useful in the production of ethanol. According to the abstract, the specification discloses E. coli obtained by destroying or eliminating the ptsG gene of the K011 strain of E. coli and that consequently improve or resolve the diauxy problems of the K011 strain of recombinant ethanol-producing E. coli.
  9. WO2010091507 (Natural Energy Systems) relates to a process for converting organic material to a methane-rich fuel gas. The process involves forming a first mixture by vaporizing the organic material in a substantially oxygen-free, enclosed chamber, and then mixing the vaporized organic material with an excess amount of hydrogen gas, and optionally superheated steam, at temperature ranging from 450 C to 650 C; forming a gaseous mixture containing methane, hydrogen and acid by heating the first mixture to a temperature ranging from 600 C to 900 C in the presence of an excess amount of hydrogen gas and superheated steam; and, neutralizing the gaseous mixture with a base.
  10. US Patent Pub. No. 20100210741 (Range Fuels) relates to catalyst compositions for converting syngas to alcohols such as ethanol. The catalyst compositions comprise cobalt-molybdenum-sulfide powders in which sulfur is present in a total amount of at least 40% by weight of the catalyst composition, for example in a total amount of 42% to 44% by weight. The amount of elemental sulfur present in the composition is preferably low, for example between 100 ppm – 5000 ppm calculated on a total catalyst weight basis. According to the specification, the molar ratio of sulfur to cobalt, given and initial assignment of sulfur to molybdenum to yield MoS.sub.2 is an important parameter, and is preferably between 0.1 to 4.
  11. US Patent Pub. No. 20100205857 relates to a eukaryotic cell capable of producing butanol and ethanol at a ratio of butanol:ethanol of between 1:2 to 1:100. The eukaryotic cell is preferably a Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which comprises at least one inactivated nucleotide sequence encoding an enzyme required for the production of ethanol, for example an alcohol dehydrogenase. The eukaryotic cell can comprise a nucleotide sequence encoding a butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase and at least one nucleotide sequence encoding a heterologus electron transfer flavoprotein. The eukaryotic cell can further comprise a nucleotide sequence encoding a heterologous enzyme having enzymatic activity for converting pyruvate, acetaldehyde or acetate into acetyl-CoA in the cytosol. According to the specification, it was surprisingly found that such a eukaryotic cell can be used in a large-scale ethanol fermentation process with minor to no adaptations in fermentation and distillation equipment.
  12. US Patent Pub. No. 20100205854 (Chevron U.S.A.) relates to low melting point triglycerides made esterification of Fischer-Tropsch acid by-products and the glycerol by-product from biodiesel generation. According to the specification, the low melting point triglycerides are useful as a fuel or fuel blending additive component for cold climates.