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DNV and Gingko Bioworks with Potentially Game Changing Technology for Utilizing CO2

Tue, 18 December 2012

DNV Research & Innovation is pleased to announce significant progress in our collaboration with Gingko Bioworks in developing an advanced microbiological pathway to convert CO2 to fuels and chemicals. The successful results of our work were presented at the ARPA-E Electrofuels Workshop on December 10th, 2012.

Most biofuels are produced from plants or algae through photosynthesis; however, photosynthesis is an inefficient process. Electrofuels bypass photosynthesis altogether by utilizing microorganisms that don’t need sunlight to grow or produce biofuels. These microorganisms directly use energy and carbon from electrolytically-derived formate to produce liquid fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2). Such a process is much more efficient than photosynthesis. Electrolytic production of formate from CO2 can utilize electricity from a variety of renewable sources. The flexibility of electricity and the avoidance of the need for direct sunlight translate to greater flexibility in the location of such an electrofuel facility.

Ginkgo has validated that their genetically modified microbes can utilize a feedstock of formate produced from CO2 by DNV. DNV’s ECFORM process has met many of the metrics required for successful commercialization of the electrolytic production of formic acid and formate salt from CO2. The combination of Ginkgo’s engineered microbes and DNV’s demonstration-scale reactor technology represent the largest step towards scale-up of Electrofuels production to date.

“The development of the electrofuels technology is an important advance in the utilization and recycling of CO2 providing a pathway for sustainability and self-sufficiency” says Narasi Sridhar, Program Director in DNV Research & Innovation.

Recently, Gingko announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent Application Number 13/285,919 entitled "Methods and Systems for Chemoautotrophic Production of Organic Compounds." DNV has applied for patents on a number of technologies pertinent to its ECFORM process.

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