The Competitive Edge: FeedstocksUnited : Biofuels Digest

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Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

Over half a century, work has been going on to reach implementation of bio-processes on the basis of methane. The rationale is abundantly available cheap natural gas and environmental aspects. Many outlet compounds are considered ranging from single cell protein to fuels. Despite all efforts, no large-scale production facilities are in operation due to various challenges.

The reason for founding FeedstocksUnited is that we see a completely different route from (bio-) methane, syngas and methanol, into many bio-products. We envisage chemical oxidation of these feedstocks via established technologies into trioxane which acts as a perfect fermentation feedstock provided one has the technology to bio-degrade it. Our vision is that trioxane-based fermentations can be enabled at very large scale producing organic acids, alcohols and proteins accounting for a multi-billion market size.

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

Our company is a recent start-up that focuses on developing enabling technologies for economically feasible bio-processes that are based on conversion of non-food, one-carbon feedstocks. We aim at developing proof of concepts of such processes, IP generation and commercialization thereof.

Q: What stage of development are you? Choose one:

Proof of concept stage – in the lab or in the product/service formation process

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

FeedstocksUnited’s technology aims at resolving key issues of current fermentation processes based on one carbon-(C1)-compounds methane, syngas, methanol, and industrial off-gas, such as:

  • Very high oxygen demand during fermentation
  • Poor solubility and mass transfer of gaseous feedstocks in fermentation
  • Very high heat generation during fermentation
  • Impure product streams, which need complex and costly purification.

Trioxane is used as the unifying feedstock of these C1-compounds and the key to unlock trioxane for easy fermentation of a variety of products is the basis of our technology.

We have pinpointed genes involved in trioxane degradation. Hence, by introducing these genes into C1-compound utilizing bacteria, they are expected to grow and produce on the basis of trioxane. Organisms already optimized for bioproductions from e.g. methane or methanol are good targets for our technology. In this way we will accomplish a new route from C1-compounds into bioproducts.

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost

or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

Our technology is a completely new approach in valorizing a broad spectrum of non-food feedstocks. Not only methane but also organic waste and non-food biomass can be used. Ligno-cellulosic biomass which now predominantly is seen as to be utilized via chemical pretreatment and enzymes before fermentation leaves a dirty hydrolysate with great challenges in downstream processing (DSP). Trioxane is a clean stream that will result in relatively simple DSP as compared to the hydrolysate. Another interesting aspect is that no problems are to be expected at the level of contaminations in the large fermenters. The transformative trioxane concept has a broad basis for applications in the non-food area and it will contribute significantly to the sustainability of transforming non-food feedstocks into valuable products.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

The key milestones accomplished are the demonstration of microbial degradation of trioxane in the absence of oxygen, obtaining a pure culture of a relevant bacterium, and leads from RNA-seq analyses pointing to specific enzymes. The last but not least milestone was filing of a patent application on the technology with claims covering genes, organisms and processes.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

The key milestones we see ahead of us are:

  1. Functional expression of trioxane degrading enzymes in established production hosts leading to production of relevant products, like protein, organic acids and alcohols.
  2. Team up with partners to bring the technology to the next level.
  3. Broaden our IP-portfolio

 

  1. Where can I learn more about Feedstocks United?

Click here to visit Feedstock United’s website.



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