Menlo Park, CA – June 16, 2014 – Calysta, Inc. today announced it 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.
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,” said Alan Shaw, Ph.D., Calysta President and CEO. “Calysta offers NatureWorks innovative biological tools to activate a broader array of greenhouse gas feedstocks supporting NatureWorks’ commitment to feedstock diversification.”
A greenhouse gas ~20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, methane is generated by the natural decomposition of plant materials and is a component of natural gas. Methane is also generated from society’s organic wastes and is produced from such activities as waste-water treatment, decomposition within landfills and anaerobic digestion. If successful, the technology could directly access carbon from any of these sources.
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, Inc. (www.calysta.com), Menlo Park, CA, is an innovator in industrial products from sustainable sources. 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. Calysta Nutrition develops and commercializes fish and livestock nutritional products based on gas fermentation of methane. Calysta Nutrition has operations in Stavanger, Norway.