Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coskata receives unfavorable Office Action on clostridium (11/441,392)

On 24 Feb 09, Coskata was mailed a non-final Office Action, rejecting all pending claims in the case involving Clostridium
(application 11/441,392). Rejections included 101, 112, and 102.

Separately, some of their bioreactor applications have published. For example, 20090029434 (12/111734 ), titled MODULAR MEMBRANE SUPPORTED BIOREACTOR FOR CONVERSION OF SYNGAS COMPONENTS TO LIQUID PRODUCTS, with abstract:

A modular membrane supported bioreactor for anaerobic conversion of gas into liquid products including membrane module(s) having a plurality of hollow fibers packed across a cross sectional area of the membrane module in a direction transverse to the axis of the membrane module; a membrane vessel for retaining the membrane module(s) at least partially submerged in a process liquid and isolated from ambient atmosphere; and a gas supply conduit operably connected to the hollow fibers for supplying a process gas to the hollow fiber lumens. The gas supply conduit enables the formation of a biofilm on the outer surface of the hollow fiber wall by interaction of microorganisms with the process gas and the production of a liquid product that mixes with the process liquid.

This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/781,717, filed Jul. 23, 2007.

**Coskata is mentioned in an 16 April 09 BusinessWeek article titled The Biofuel Bubble :

But everything will happen more slowly than many venture capitalists say. And the probable winners will be those with deep pockets and patience, such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), BP (BP), DuPont, agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), or the rare startup with revenues from another business, such as making drugs. For the rest, the demonstration biorefineries now being built are more like high-stakes auditions than a step in the process of becoming commercial biofuels producers. "The business model that makes sense for most of us is demonstrating the technology and getting it into the hands of those who have balance sheets," says Bill Roe, CEO of biofuel producer Coskata in Warrenville, Ill.

[Clicking on the link seems to induce a video clip about Verenium.]

Of "ethanol from algae", BW writes:

Scores of other companies are also jumping into algae. For most, though, the bubble will burst. "There's a huge amount of hype in algae," warns NREL's Jim McMillan. Experts at BP have looked over the entire field of algae competitors and found none they deemed worth investing in. "If they can make it work, it would be fabulous," says BP's Philip New. "But I think there are still fundamental issues with algae." Not least, it's challenging to grow it in open ponds and troughs, where it's exposed to bird droppings, fungi, bacteria, and voracious microbes that feed on algae "like a pack of jackals at a buffet," says Fred Tennant, vice-president of business development at PetroAlgae (PALG) in Melbourne, Fla.

BW separately notes oil companies aren't that interested in ethanol:

That's one reason for the growing interest in newer, non-ethanol biofuels. "Oil companies really don't want to invest a lot in ethanol infrastructure. They'd much rather develop a different molecule," says Nathanael Greene, biofuels expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. Whether that molecule is a type of alcohol called butanol (which DuPont and BP are working on) or other hydrocarbons more similar to gasoline, these fuels are compatible with existing refineries, pipelines, and vehicles. So some startups are designing microbes that can turn sugar from any source into diesel, gasoline-like molecules, or jet fuel. Colorado's Gevo, for instance, has an innovative business plan to add technology to corn ethanol factories to change the end products into fuels that are closer to gasoline or diesel.

**Separately, from Biomass Magazine:

According to Wes Bolsen, chief marketing officer and vice president of business development for Coskata, the company is progressing with plans to develop a 100 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Clewiston, Fla., which would annually convert 1 million tons of sugarcane waste and bagasse into ethanol. The estimated $400 million facility could begin production in 2012, pending USDA loan guarantees and a grant from the Florida Energy Office.


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