Oakbio is developing new technology for capture of waste industrial CO2 gas (otherwise released into the atmosphere) and for conversion of captured CO2 into valuable chemicals. Current technologies for decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) release focus on CO2 capture and geo-sequestration. The capture and sequestration processes are energetically very expensive, create little new value in the captured CO2 and require access to geological formations suitable for CO2 burial. Oakbio Inc. has developed novel microbes in integrated bioreactor systems that capture CO2 from waste industrial gases to make valuable chemicals during microbial growth. Oakbio’s microbes can grow using waste CO2 as their sole source of carbon. Chemical products from the Oakbio process will generate income that will offset the increased cost of reducing GHG emissions. Funds from the PIER program will be used to test two gas streams of relevance to GHG release from industrial processes in California.
A test bioreactor system operating 24/7 has been established at the Lehigh Southwest Permanente Cement plant in Cupertino, California. Microbial CO2 capture from cement flue gas and conversion into biomass and chemicals is measured. Results from studies to be funded by the PIER program will allow Oakbio to predict performance characteristics, improve bioreactor design and determine implementation cost for larger scale CO2 capture systems using cement flue gas. Oakbio will test microbes already adapted for growth in cement flue gas for growth performance and the amount of CO2 capture and chemicals production. Cement manufacture alone contributes ~5% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions worldwide, so implementation of a cost-effective carbon capture and chemical conversion technology for cement plants would be significant. Coal-fired power plants across the United State and natural gas-fired power plants in California are major contributors to GHG release. Capture of only 5-10% of GHG release from power plants and conversion into valuable chemicals may offset the high costs of parallel implementation of earlier-developed CO2 capture and geo-sequestration processes.
“Oakbio is honored to receive this grant award from the PIER program of the California Energy Commission”, said Russell Howard, Oakbio’s CEO, “We are aware that here in California there is not only intense interest in exploration and implementation of novel technology solutions to pressing Californian and World issues concerning our environment, but also that the State Government leadership is creating the regulatory framework to support technology innovation and commercialization for the long-term benefit of all”.
About Oakbio, Inc.
Oakbio is a private technology-based company in Sunnyvale dedicated to sustainable production of specialty chemicals using novel microbial production processes that combine GHG reduction with manufacture of sustainable specialty chemicals (see www.oakbio.com)