Proterro Further Expands Executive Team, Receives U.S. Patent

Bioprocess engineering industry veteran Edi Eliezer named engineering V.P. to develop pilot project demonstrating affordable biofuels and biobased chemical production

USPTO grants Proterro patent number 8,367,379 for engineered cyanobacteria and their genetic code

Proterro, Inc., the only company making sugar instead of extracting it from crops,
has added to its executive team Edi Eliezer, as the company’s engineering vice president, effective Feb.1, 2013.

Eliezer joins Proterro with three decades in industrial bioengineering, with expertise in biochemicals and biofuels, and deep commercial operations experience in bioprocess development, fermentation systems, bioreactor design, facility engineering, scale-up and downstream/upstream process integration.

Among the companies at which Eliezer has held positions are:

  • Fluor Corp., where he was director, bioprocess technology & engineering;
  • DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts, where he was V.P. of technology R&D;
  • Aker Kvaerner (now Aker Solutions), where he was director, bioprocess technology;
  • Raytheon Engineers & Constructors (now part of URS Corp.), where he was manager, bioprocess technology & engineering;
  • Abbott Laboratories, where he was process development lead and manufacturing engineer for chemicals, agricultural and pharma businesses; and
  • Corn Products International (now Ingredion)/Enzyme BioSystems, where he was process development lead for a new enzyme manufacturing facility.

In addition, Eliezer was a consultant on numerous large-scale industrial bioengineering projects in the United States, Asia, Europe, India, Norway, the Netherlands and Brazil, including for Cargill, Degussa, Metabolix, LS9, Solar Energy Research Institute (now the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Purac, Norferm, Reliance India and Biobras.

“We are on track to pilot a full-scale photobioreactor and completing designs for a demonstration-scale facility this year and Edi is the perfect person to develop and execute the plan,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin. “His wide and deep ‘concept to construction’ and ‘lab to production’ experience in bioindustry around the world is exactly what is needed.”

“Proterro can be the key to unlocking the power of biofuels and biobased chemicals,” said Eliezer. “Getting the demonstration project up, running and successful is the next step toward that end, and I am committed to making it happen.”

A member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and the Society for Biological Engineering, Eliezer earned an M.S. degree in applied industrial microbiology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and a B.Sc. degree in biochemical engineering from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA)-Toulouse, France.

U.S. Patent Number 8,367,379; Issue Date: Feb. 5, 2013

The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a composition of matter patent that protects Proterro’s
unique engineered photosynthetic cyanobacteria and their genetic code.

The issued patent is directed to the sequence and assembly of discrete genes of engineered cyanobacteria and the cyanobacteria themselves, which Proterro uses in a biosynthetic process to manufacture affordable sucrose for the economical and scalable production of biofuels and biobased chemicals.

The patent protects the genetic blueprint of these sucrose-producing microorganisms and is the cornerstone of Proterro’s patent portfolio. The company has seven more U.S. patent applications and multiple foreign patent applications pending.

“These engineered cyanobacteria, which require a combination of only water, carbon dioxide, sunlight and nutrients to produce sucrose in a biosynthetic process at consistently high yields, are what make us different from our perceived competitors,” said CEO Kasdin.

“With our recent funding, expanded executive team and the patent issuance, Proterro is making great progress in developing the answer to the high cost of feedstock,” she continued.

About Proterro
Proterro is the only company that makes sucrose instead of extracting it from crops. Proterro combines its core, patented “microorganism technology” with its patent-pending, high-density, modular, solid-phase photobioreactor for scalable production of the only non-crop-based, noncellulosic, clean sucrose that avoids the pricing volatility associated with corn and other feedstock markets. The company projects it can produce its sucrose at a cost of less than $.05/lb., which is far less than sugarcane, corn, other energy crops, or cellulosic sugar approaches. Proterro CEO Kasdin has been named one of the top 100 people in bioenergy (for two consecutive years), as well as one of the top 10 influential women in the biofuel business. The company has been recognized by Lux Research as a top innovative company that stands out for its “disruptive potential.” Proterro’s leadership team includes advisors with extensive experience from BP, Cargill, Gevo and Solazyme. The company is backed by Battelle Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Cultivian Ventures and Middleland Capital.

Note: Proterro is a trademark of Proterro, Inc. Any other names of actual companies, organizations, entities, products or services may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


Proterro, press release, 2013-02-13.


Abbott Laboratories
Aker Solutions
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Cargill, Inc.
DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products
Enzyme BioSystems
Evonik Degussa
Fluor Corp.
Grupo Biobras
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA)
International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering
LS9, Inc.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Proterro, Inc.
RIL Reliance Industries Limited
Society for Biological Engineering
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)