I Just Want to Say One Word to You. Just One Word. Are You Listening? Biocatalysts.
by Jim Lane (Biobased Digest) Could enzyme biocatalysts replace fermentation among the hottest process platforms in industrial biotech? Newlight thinks so, as it applies its supercatalyst to low-cost plastics. And no petroleum or food crops required.
In the weeks and months to come — and in the wake of hiccups at Gevo and Amyris that have prompted concern over scalability of advanced fermentation technologies — we are going to here a lot more about biocatalysts – and biocatalysis as an alternative to fermentation.
If you’re confused about the difference – or didn’t realize there was one, or hadn’t heard about biocatalysis at all – you are one of the many, not the few.
One of the reasons we need to focus on biocatalysts, sooner rather than later, is that a new class of technologies are now coming out of stealth mode, that have discovered ways to make biocatalysts work better than ever before.
An impressive entry in the field is Newlight Technologies, now emerging from a long stretch in stealth mode.
The breakthrough? Newlight uses a new class of biocatalyst to convert air and greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide (which can be derived from a range of sources, including wastewater treatment systems, digesters, landfills, and energy facilities), into PHA-based plastics that can match or exceed oil-based commodity plastics on performance while significantly out-competing on price.
… “Our big breakthrough — there was a switch that turned on to limit the activity of the catalyst. It blew through roof when we turned switch off.” READ MORE