Calysta, Inc. has successfully fermented methane into lactic acid, under a research collaboration with NatureWorks. Lactic acid is the building block for NatureWorks Ingeo lactide intermediates and polymers used in consumer and industrial products worldwide. (Earlier post.)
The joint development program, started in June 2013 between Calysta and NatureWorks, is focused on creation of a commercially viable methane-to-lactic-acid process. The key aims are providing a structurally simplified, lower cost Ingeo production platform and diversifying NatureWorks’ feedstock portfolio.
This important milestone was achieved ahead of schedule, and demonstrates the capability of Calysta’s proprietary Biological Gas-to-Chemicals synthetic biology platform to create new manufacturing pathways using methane as an advantaged and sustainable feedstock.—Alan Shaw, Ph.D., Calysta President and CEO
While the critical lab scale first stage of the project has confirmed methane conversion to lactic acid, much additional development work remains. A full demonstration of commercial feasibility may require up to five years of development effort. The companies will share commercialization rights for select products developed under the agreement.
Calysta Energy is developing new Biological Gas-to-Liquids and Biological Gas-to-Chemicals technologies using methane, the primary component of natural gas. The technology allows conversion of a plentiful energy resource into high value chemicals and transportation fuels with cost and performance advantages over current processes,the company says.