From our colleague Edna Vassilovski:

On July 29, 2010, the following U.S. patent applications were published relating to biofuels:

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100191022 (Undisclosed assignee) relates to the use of Arundo donax feedstock in a gasification process to produce ethanol. According to the application, ethanol is produced substantially without by-products except for an ash stream of the inorganic plant nutrients.

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100191008 (Energy & Environmental Research Foundation Center) relates to a process for the simultaneous production of chemical feedstocks and fuel blendstocks such as jet fuel from biomass feedstock, and specifically from unsaturated and polyunsaturated vegetable oils and/or algal oils. The process involves integrating metathesis reactions with other processes to produce suitable chain-length fuel components and chemicals.

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100191004 (Sartec) relates to the use of certain metal oxides to catalyze the production of pentose and hexose derivatives from carbohydrates. Embodiments include the use of alumina, hafnia, titania and zirconia to catalyze the production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) or a biofuel from glucose, sucrose, fructose, and cellulolose at a temperature of greater than 100 degrees C.

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100190259 (Undisclosed assignee) relates to a recombinant thermophilic, Gram-positive bacterium, a strain of B. thermoglucosidasius, having an ldh (lactate dehydrogenase) mutation and in which the stability of the ldh mutation has been enhanced. The application also relates to a process for improving the stability of the mutation by specific homologous recombination between a plasmid and the insertion sequence within the ldh gene. According to the specification the strain is useful for producing of ethanol in fermentation.

US Pat. Pub. No. 20100190226 (Iogen Energy Corporation) relates to a process for feedstock pretreatment. The process involves wetting grasses, cereal straws or stover of a particular length, pressing the wet feedstock through one or more roll presses, slurrying the pressed feedstock, and subjecting the slurried feedstock to dilute acid pretreatment to produce pretreated feedstock. According to the specification, the process allows for the crushing and shearing of feedstock and the removal of much of the soluble salts, proteins, sugars, alkaline compounds and organic acids from the feedstock.

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100189076 (Verenium) relates to lignocellulolytic enzymes that hydrolyze sugarcane bagasse. According to the specification, the enzymes hydrolyze soluble cellooligsaccharides and arabinoxylan oligomers into monomer xylose, arabinose and glucose.

U.S. Pat. Pub. Nos. 20100187822 and 20100187818 (Louisville Clean Energy) relate to a combined heat and power production system, which improves the energy efficiency of individual production systems in the combination. Specifically, gasification, combined heat and power/combined-cycle, methane reactor, biodiesel, and ethanol fermentation methods of energy production are combined such that waste heat from one method serves directly as the heat reservoir for a successive method.

U.S. Pat. Pub. Nos. 20100186736 and 20100186735 (SunOpta BioProcess Inc.) relate to a method and apparatus for conveying cellulosic feedstock. The ‘736 application discloses an apparatus comprising a holding tank having an inlet and an outlet, wherein the outlet is at an elevation below the inlet, and at least one screw conveyer having a variable pitch along its length. In operation, the apparatus withdraws cellulosic feedstock from the tank in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the feedstock through the tank. According to the specification, embodiments of the invention enable actively withdrawing feedstock from different portions of the outlet, preferably evenly from across the outlet, leading to a achieving a generally uniform residence time of feedstock in the tank. The ‘735 application discloses a similar apparatus but which includes two conveyers, the first conveyer delivering a first portion of the feedstock in a first direction, and the second conveyer delivering a second portion of the feedstock in a second direction.

U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20100186291 (China Fuel (Huabei) Bioenergy Technology Development Co., Ltd.) relates to a process for producing biofuel via co-gasification of cellulosic biomass and coal in the presence of a catlyst. According to the specification, the process is a highly effective method of producing biofuel because the mixed use of cellulosic biomass and coal provides syngas, with a composition approaching the optimal ratio for producing methanol and ethanol, in a one-step gasification. The specification also suggests that co-gasification can reduce the ash fusion temperature of coal.