On December 7, 2010 the United States Patent Office published several new biofuels-related patents, including one to Amyris Biotechnologies relating to a jet fuel or diesel fuel including a bioengineered isoprenoid component.

  1. US Patent 7,846,712 (Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC) claims an isolated polynucleotide having an amino acid sequence that is at least 95% identical to the sequence of KmLAT1, an arabinose transporter gene cloned from Kluyveromyces marxianus. The specification relates more broadly to providing new yeast strains capable of using L-arabinose to produce ethanol at relatively high yield. According to the specification, this can be achieved: 1) by introducing two L-arabinose transporters, specifically introducing KmLAT1 and PgLAT2 (from Pichia guilliermondii), into yeast such as S. cerevisiae to improve arabinose transport kinetics; and 2) by cloning bacterial araA, araB and araD genes into yeast such as S. cerevisiae in which the aldose reductase gene is disrupted to enable making ethanol from L-arabinose.


  2. US Patent 7,846,323 (Syntroleum Corporation) claims a method of making an isoparaffinic product useful as a jet fuel, as well as a method of co-producing liquid petroleum gases (LPG), isoparaffinic naptha and jet fuel. The specification describes the method as involving a hydrotreating step, a hydroisomerizing step, and a fractionation step having recycle of the hydroisomerization products. More specifically, a renewable feedstock of triglycerides and/or free fatty acids such as from animal fats, animal oils, vegetable fats, vegetable oils, plant fats, plant oils, rendered fats, restaurant grease, waste industrial frying oils, and/or fish oil is hydrotreated to produce a hydrotreated heavy fraction including n-paraffins. In the case of the method for producing the isoparaffinic product, the hydrotreated heavy fraction is hydroisomerized to produce an isoparaffinic fraction and a heavy fraction, which are separated so that the heavy fraction can then be recycled back to the hydroisomerization step. In the case of the method of co-producing LPG, isparaffinic naptha and jet fuel, the hydrotreated heavy fraction is hydroisomerized to produce a hydroisomerized heavy fraction and isoparaffin. The hydroisomerized heavy fraction is recycled back through the hydroisomerizer and is then itself hydroisomerized to produce an isoparaffinic product, which is fractionated to produce LPG, isparaffinic naptha and jet fuel. According to the specification, the jet fuel has improved cold flow properties.


  3. US Patent 7,846,222 (Amyris Biotechnolgies) claims a fuel composition comprising one of a group of specified isoprenoid compounds such as farnesane, among other ingredients, and having a flash point of at least 38 degrees C. The specification is directed to a method of biologically manufacturing the isoprenoid compounds referenced in the claims. The specification exemplifies the production of alpha-farnesene and Beta-farnesene in bioengineered E.Coli and S. cerevisiae host strains, and the chemical hydrogenation of the microbially-derived Beta-farnesene to farnesane.