Butamax signs on first 'early adopter'

Butamax Advanced Biofuels signed on its first early adopter, Highwater Ethanol, a 50 MMgy corn ethanol plant in Minnesota, to incorporate its isobutanol production technology.
By Ron Kotrba | December 01, 2011

Butamax Advanced Biofuels announced an agreement today on commercialization principles with Highwater Ethanol, what Butamax calls “the first entrant to the Butamax Early Adopters Group.”  

Butamax’s business model is to offer current ethanol producers its proprietary biobutanol technology, as the company says, “to permit improved biofuels growth and plant profitability.” 

The company’s group of early adopters includes founding member Highwater Ethanol based in Lamberton, Minn., a 50 MMgy Fagen/ICM plant.  

Highwater CEO Brian Kletscher said, “Butamax offers our shareholders both new technology, extensive engineering resources needed to retrofit our existing facility, and a commitment to the long-term success of the biofuels industry.”

Just days ago Butamax reported that the USPTO denied Gevo’s request to reexamine Butamax’s initial isobutanol patent. On the matter Butamax Chief Operating Officer Peter Matrai said, “According to USPTO statistics, 95 percent of reexamine requests are granted. The denial of reexamination for the ‘188 patent demonstrates the strength of the patent and Butamax’s clear position as the true innovator of biobutanol production technology.”

Butamax filed suit against Gevo Inc. for infringement of the‘188 and ‘889 patents, which the U.S. Patent office issued in December 2010 and August 2011. A hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt Gevo’s infringement is scheduled for early 2012. 

Also, last November Butamax announced the addition of a technology laboratory in Paulinia, Brazil, to accelerate process development efforts for producing biobutanol from sugarcane. In addition, the Butamax technology demonstration facility in Hull, England, is producing biobutanol to support design of commercial facilities.