Biocatalytic Coatings – A better way to produce clean fuels and chemicals
The biocatalytic capabilities of living microorganisms have become an essential tool for the sustainable production of a rapidly growing number of fuels and chemicals. The challenge is to move these new biocatalysts into commercial scale processes. In contrast to chemical catalysts, living microorganisms are seldom available as “off-the-shelf” reagents that can be readily integrated into a multi-step production process.
At BioCee, we are developing integrated biocatalyst-reactor solutions based on our proprietary biocatalytic coating technology. Biocatalytic coatings are biocomposite materials, in which living microorganisms are immobilized in thin, nano-structured polymeric matrices. Using well-established coating technologies, the biocatalytic coatings can be applied to a wide range of surfaces and geometries, allowing us to design highly customized reactors. These coating-enabled reactor designs overcome key hurdles in traditional biocatalysis and are particularly well suited for multi-phase processes, such as liquid-liquid processes (e.g. biological desulfurization of petroleum) and gas-liquid processes (e.g. syngas fermentation, CO2 sequestration, partial oxidations).
BioCee’s reactor solutions are inherently modular in design allowing for rapid scale-up of a given process. Combined with the unique ability to store biocatalytic coatings dry at ambient conditions for extended periods of time, this enables a completely new business model for the bioprocess industry. Now, a microbial biocatalyst can be produced cost-effectively in a central location, packaged in biocatalytic coating modules, shipped dry to multiple distant utilization sites, and, upon arrival, be ready for immediate deployment or for storage as a backup. Once the catalytic activity is exhausted, the modules can be either disposed off or returned to the manufacturing location for refurbishment.
Our analyses show that, compared to a traditional fermentation process, BioCee’s biocatalytic coating technology can reduce capital cost of multi-phase biocatalytic processes by as much as 90% and operating cost by up to 50%.