The company received the landmark patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office on its GIFT(R) separation unit, a central element in the Company's unique fermentation technology for the production of isobutanol.
Gevo was awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,101,808, "Recovery of Higher Alcohols From Dilute Aqueous Solutions." This patent addresses the separation technology used to produce propanols, butanols, pentanols, and hexanols. The claims also address how ethanol plants can be retrofitted to produce higher alcohols.
"This is one of several foundational Gevo patents. The technology described in this patent enables the separation of alcohols from fermentation broth using an elegantly simple design. It solves the long-standing problem for the practical production of higher alcohols, specifically how to separate these alcohol products from fermentation broth and achieve economic concentrations. This is the technology, along with our proprietary yeast, being implemented at our Luverne, Minnesota plant," said Brett Lund, EVP & General Counsel of Gevo. "With the broad coverage of this patent and its 156 claims, it is a significant patent. This technology combined with other elements of our patent estate that cover our biocatalyst, metabolic engineering and enzymes, cause us to believe that we have the intellectual property foundation to provide us and our partners a significant competitive advantage."
Gevo also filed a lawsuit against Butamax(TM) Advanced Biofuels LLC ("Butamax") and its affiliate E.I. du Pont de Nemors and Company ("DuPont") charging that Butamax and DuPont infringe the newly issued patent.
Gevo's proprietary integrated recovery process and related services, or the GIFT(R) system, provides enhanced fermentation performance as well as low-cost, energy-efficient isobutanol recovery. The GIFT(R) system permits the continuous removal of isobutanol as it is formed, increasing productivity and final product concentration.