October 8, 2010 (Mountain View, CA) - Fenwick & West LLP represented its client Joule Unlimited, Inc., pioneer of Liquid Fuel from the SunTM, in securing a U.S. patent to protect its breakthrough conversion of sunlight and waste carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into liquid hydrocarbons that are fungible with conventional diesel fuel.
U.S. Patent #7,794,969, entitled "Methods and Compositions for the Recombinant Biosynthesis of n-Alkanes," covers the use of engineered photosynthetic microorganisms for the direct synthesis of diesel molecules. Joule's direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of hydrocarbon fuels requiring no raw material feedstocks is the first of its kind. The process is an alternative to biofuel processes that require costly intermediates such as sugar, algal or agricultural biomass.
"This patent award represents a critical milestone for our IP strategy and validates the truly revolutionary nature of our process, which has the potential to yield infrastructure-compatible replacements for fossil fuels at meaningful scale and highly-competitive costs, even before subsidies," said Bill Sims, President and CEO, Joule. "Our vision since inception has been to overcome the limitations of biomass-based technologies, from feedstock costs and logistics to inefficient, energy-intensive processing. The result is the world's first platform for converting sunlight and waste CO2 directly into diesel, requiring no costly intermediates, no use of agricultural land or fresh water, and no downstream processing."
The patent team, lead by Fenwick's Chris Ullsperger and Joule's Chang B. Hong, secured issuance of the patent 154 days from the utility application filing.
Established in 1972, Fenwick & West works closely with clean technology, life sciences and other technology companies that are changing the world through innovation. The firm has more than 30 years of experience crafting innovative solutions to the business challenges that arise at the intersection of technology and the law. Fenwick & West clients, who range from start-up ventures to global enterprises, value our attorneys' deep industry experience and understanding of their technologies.