Development of a genetic engineering platform for methanotrophs capable of metabolizing methane to biofuels and biochemicals
Monday, April 28, 2014: 3:35 PM
Grand Ballroom A-C, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Lori Giver, Calysta Energy, Menlo Park, CA
Important progress has recently been made towards engineering a number of phototrophic and fermentative microorganisms for biofuels production. Several limitations, most notably the ever-increasing cost and linkage to oil prices of sugar feedstocks, currently prevent the economical production of biofuels from microbial systems. Exploiting methane, an inexpensive, domestically abundant carbon feedstock, represents an attractive strategy towards economically sustainable biofuel production. Calysta Energy has developed a genetic engineering platform for host organisms (methanotrophs) capable of metabolizing methane to a variety of biofuels and biochemicals. These genetic tools, together with innovative fermentation and bioprocess approaches, enable the rapid implementation of well-characterized pathways to utilize methane from natural gas as a biological feedstock instead of sugar. Long-term, this strategy can provide the basis for utilization of methane from anaerobic digesters using a variety of non-food waste biomass to compete directly with fossil gas sources. Such a model holds significant promise for developing an economically viable method of controlling greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously moving the world to renewable replacements for petroleum chemicals.