Biological Co-fermentation of Carbon Dioxide and Methane to Malate

Industrial Microbes, Inc.

  • Project Type

    Research & Development

  • Project Value

    $537,000

  • Project Status

    Complete

  • Location

    USA

  • Funding Amount

    $500,000

Industrial Microbes is developing a process to combine CO2 and natural gas into malate, a valuable organic compound used to manufacture biodegradable plastics and fibres. Malate is produced by natural enzymes inside living cells, similar to how alcohol is produced during beer brewing. In Industrial Microbes’ process, CO2 emissions from an oilsands operation or power plant are bubbled through a fermentation tank, along with natural gas. Designer microbes consume these carbon sources to produce malate, which is then purified into solid crystals. Malate can be used directly as a food or beverage additive, or it can be chemically converted into a high-performance biodegradable plastic. Industrial Microbes’ malate replaces petroleum-derived malate, which is made in a process that emits (rather than absorbs) CO2.