Development of a Bio-electrochemical Hybrid Fermentation Technology for the Carbon Conserving Production of Industrial Chemicals
Project Innovation + Advantages:
ZymoChem has created fermentation processes that convert sugars into polymer precursors using microorganisms with novel enzyme-based pathways that avoid the loss of the sugar’s carbon as CO2. ZymoChem will develop two transformational innovations that combine (1) inexpensive metal catalysts from abundant metals for converting electricity and CO2 into formate and (2) electricity-compatible fermentation systems that enable microbes to co-utilize formate and sugars for the production of a high-volume platform fuel and chemical intermediate. The project team is engaged in a strong technology transfer and outreach effort, using techno-economic analyses to select which end products to pursue and defining operating parameters for the engineered systems. The synergy from the combined efforts has the potential to develop a transformative technology ready for near-term market adoption.
The application of biology to sustainable uses of waste carbon resources for the generation of energy, intermediates, and final products---i.e., supplanting the “bioeconomy”—provides economic, environmental, social, and national security benefits and offers a promising means of carbon management.