DOE awards grant to Microvi for biogas conversion technology

By Microvi | October 13, 2016

Microvi has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a new groundbreaking biocatalytic technology that converts methane and carbon dioxide in biogas into valuable liquid chemicals, the company announced today.

The new technology, based on Microvi’s MicroNiche Engineering Platform Technology, can convert biogas that is created at facilities like landfills and wastewater treatment plants into important energy chemicals such as biobutanol.

Microvi’s technology has great promise to avoid the pitfalls of conventional gas-to-liquid (GTL) processes, which must improve the efficiency of gas conversion and remove impurities in the biogas using costly, inefficient chemical processes.

Biogas has the potential to be an important part of the future energy landscape, and it has been estimated that 11,000 sites across the United States are suitable for significant biogas production. Biogas is created by the decomposition of organic material in landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, manure and other agricultural wastes. Its primary components are carbon dioxide and methane, potent greenhouse gases.

Because of the current burdensome process, much of the world’s biogas is simply burned off into the atmosphere. Microvi’s new technology aims to maximize the value of this underused global resource.

“Microvi is on the forefront of GTL or biogas technology, and we are excited to have the opportunity to further develop this promising technology that will change the way we use biogas,” said Microvi CEO Dr. Fatemeh Shirazi. “We’re proud to have been chosen by the Department of Energy to further develop this technology, which will protect the environment and make it possible to harness this neglected resource.”

Microvi’s new biogas conversion technology builds on its transformative biochemicals portfolio, such as the company’s bio-ethanol technology, which has been validated at the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.