Butamax Advanced Biofuels has been granted another patent 8,273,558 (‘558 patent). The company is focused on developing commercial technology for the production of biobutanol, with a focus on the fuel market. One aspect the company has been working on is capitalizing on sugar conversion via the enzymes paired with yeast.
Yeast only expresses certain enzymes in small compartments of a cell and thus limits the availability of these enzymes to convert sugar to biobutanol in high rates and significant quantity. The company developed modified genes that express key enzymes in the larger area of the cells, and this is the technology covered under 558 patent. The modified genes increase the volume and rate of isobutanol produced. The 558 patent also protects blending the isobutanol produced through the modified yeast cells with fossil fuels.
Butamax is working on refining its technology in several research facilities across the world including Hull, England. During the 2012 Olympics, the facility provided biobutanol to BP for its use in fueling portions of the Olympic fleet.