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Oil Companies Patent Trolling Biofuel Production 183

Whatsmynickname writes "Thought oil companies were done patent trolling to try to shut down any efforts to wean us off of crude oil (e.g. Chevron and NiMH batteries)? Think again. BP and DuPont (Butamax) have taken an advanced biofuel company to court over infringement of newly awarded patents for developing biobutanol. When an oil company advertises it is looking for alternative fuels, it's not necessarily because they want to be socially responsible..."
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Oil Companies Patent Trolling Biofuel Production

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  • Article is a troll (Score:2, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @01:08PM (#35254250)

    The company suing is a JV funded by BP and DuPont in order to commercialize the technology described in the Patent. How is that an effort to shut down efforts to wean us off crude oil? []

    BP is actually the largest alternative energy company in the world with investments in solar, wind, hydrogen, and a variety of biofuels. []

    Slashdot for the lose..

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @01:29PM (#35254368)
    The one thing we know for certain is that the cost will not go down. When all the oil goes away, its replacement will cost more, and the oil companies want to be the ones collecting that money.
  • by Candid88 ( 1292486 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @01:41PM (#35254436)

    I guess it's possible, but still, that's a million miles away from the plant based technologies "biofuels" of today and even theoretical algae biofuel technology is still likely to be less efficient land-wise than other solar powered derived electric vehicle techniques. []

    Provides a comparison of required land use of algae biodiesel production to a PV solar-energy powered electric car. The PV -> electric car method requires around 1/5 the land use. The real efficiency killer is simply the internal combustion engine. Also, that's based on theoretical algae biodiesel production, commercial-scale production would probably be less efficient. Meanwhile, both solar-power and electric car technologies are getting more efficient all the time.

  • Re:This is silly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @02:29PM (#35254684) Journal

    Butanol isn't a replacement for Ethanol, it's a replacement for gasoline!

    Butanol [] may be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Because its longer hydrocarbon chain causes it to be fairly non-polar, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol. Butanol has been demonstrated to work in vehicles designed for use with gasoline without modification.[1] It can be produced from biomass (as "biobutanol")[2] as well as fossil fuels (as "petrobutanol"); but biobutanol and petrobutanol have the same chemical properties.

    Historically Butanol and acetone has been produced by fermentation of starches and sugars by Clostridium acetobutylicum [] what the Butamax patent [] claims is a method of spicing the genes from C. acetobutylicum that make butanol into other organisms. The patent is very specific about which gene sequences do what and are inserted into the host cell, rather than the typical overly broad patent from typical patent trolls.

  • Yes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:43PM (#35256168)

    Wha ???

    Did you think anyone is going to spend millions to billions doing the research for a pat on the head and a thanks well done ?

    Yes, they will. The process that the patent covers is based on research from 1984 and includes work from Boston University and the University of Illinois. It was BP/Dupont who patented the process even though they didn't do the research. As it turns out, the original work was done by grad students (so they got to pay to do the research instead of being paid to do it).

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