Company initiatives

Introducing Calysta Energy

I’m working on the weekly news roundup and reading some of the recent earnings report from Amyris, Gevo, Codexis and Solazyme. In between these and studying, I’ll put this short post about a newly established company called Calysta Energy led by former Codexis CEO Alan Shaw, who stepped down from his post in Codexis early this year.

Calysta Energy was formed in 2011 is a spinout of DNA 2.0, a major provider of synthetic genes for industrial and academic use. I guess this company is joining those that are using gas to liquid (GTL) technology platforms such as LanzaTech, Newlight Technologies, Oakbio, Carbon Sciences, Siluria, Enerkem, among others.

According to the company’s website, Calysta will leverage its extensive expertise in protein engineering, gene synthesis and gene expression optimization to create advanced molecular biology tools able to engineer novel production organisms which enable process technology (I love cut and paste tools!).

Calysta said its proprietary biological gas-to-liquids (BioGTL) platform uses methane as feedstock to produce transportation fuels and high value chemicals. President and CEO Alan Shaw said the company will capitalize on the booming shale gas industry in the US given that methane is an energy-rich component of natural gas.

“Natural gas is an abundant, ideal source of low-cost carbon, and global natural gas production is expected to double in the next 30 years,” Shaw said. “However, practical technology to efficiently capture its potential beyond current usage has not been developed. Using our advanced biotechnology platform, Calysta is focused on enabling creation of economical fuels and chemicals from natural gas for the first time, addressing a global market need.”

The company will focus on developing enzymes and organisms capable of efficiently converting currently underused feedstocks (such as methane) to high value chemicals such as alcohols, esters, oxides, olefins. For biofuel application, Calysta said it can cheaply convert methane to a variety of alkane fuels, which is expected to cost less than half compared to other biological methods, allowing their fuels to directly compete with petroleum-based fuels.

Unfortunately, the blog is unable to do any interviews for the time being because of school schedule but I’m sure we will hear more from this company in the near future.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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