Energy Business

Little Guy Beats Up Big Guys in Alternative Fuel Race, Shares Skyrocket (GEVO, DD, BP, TOT)

Biofuels maker Gevo Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) is seeing its share price skyrocket today following a court ruling that the company probably did not infringe on a competitor’s patents. Gevo is now free to sell its renewable fuel products to any company or person willing to buy it.

The decision came in a patent infringement case brought in 2011 by Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a joint venture between E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD) and BP plc (NYSE: BP). French oil giant Total SA (NYSE: TOT) supported the Butamax side in the suit. Butamax has said it will appeal the ruling.

In mid-February Gevo filed a patent infringement suit against Butamax on the same day that Gevo received the patent on its fermentation process.

The fuel in question is isobutanol, which could be a substitute for corn ethanol. Gevo’s fermentation process can produce isobutanol at a cheaper price than other makers. Isobutanol also contains more energy than ethanol, about 80% of the energy contained in the same amount of gasoline. Ethanol contains less than 70% of gasoline’s energy.

While large scale production of isobutanol is some years (decades?) off, Gevo stock is up more than 35% today, at $8.03 in a 52-week range of $4.84-$18.75.

Paul Ausick

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