Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ethanol from biomass

Of a different route to bioethanol, see Scientist-turned-entrepreneur wants to make biofuels cheaper than oil

Goodliffe, 41, is chief executive of Sustainable Ethanol Technologies, a UNCC spinoff that’s developing a process to produce ethanol — a fuel typically made from corn kernels — from any kind of biomass. The process can use the rest of the corn plant, wood chips, construction and yard waste, and paper. In May, the startup received the first strategic corporate partnership award from the Charlotte Venture Challenge sponsored by UNCC.

The patent-pending process was developed by UNCC professor Matt Parrow and Richard Giles, a former UNCC grad student, now teaching at Cleveland Community College.


I [Goodliffe] spend most of my time talking on the phone and emailing. I am working with the Hutchison law firm in Raleigh, which is giving us about $40,000 in legal fees for equity in the company.

I’m managing Richard and Matt, who are tweaking the process. I’m helping run the pilot project at EcoComplex, a landfill in Catawba County. They’re giving us free biomass, and we’re making ethanol from it.

I’m also managing — or maybe he is managing me — Rick King of Preflight Ventures in Raleigh. He is selling us to ethanol plants so we can start generating revenue. We are close to our first sale and should have an agreement in place by summer. Ultimately, we would like to earn a royalty from each gallon a plant produces using our process.

One relevant US case is US 20110294169 published December 1, 2011 (from 13/116860 ).

The first two claims of the patent application are:

1. A method of treating a lignocellulosic material comprising: degrading lignin of the lignocellulosic material with at least one fungus; and hydrolyzing cellulose of the lignocellulosic material with at least one microorganism.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one fungus comprises a white rot fungus.

**In an Advisory Action mailed on Nov. 25, 2013, the examiner maintained obviousness rejections over a paper by Filley et al.,
Organic Geochemistry (2002), a patent to Akhtar, and other references.

**An RCE, with altered claims, was filed April 7, 2014.


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