Calysta has successfully fermented methane into lactic acid, under a research collaboration with NatureWorks. Lactic acid is the building block for NatureWorks Ingeo™ lactide intermediates and polymers used in consumer and industrial products worldwide.
The joint development program, started in June 2013 between Calysta and NatureWorks, is focused on creation of a commercially viable methane-to-lactic-acid process. The key aims are providing a structurally simplified, lower cost Ingeo production platform and diversifying NatureWorks’ feedstock portfolio.
While the critical lab scale first stage of the project has confirmed methane conversion to lactic acid, much additional development work remains. A full demonstration of commercial feasibility may require up to five years of development effort. The companies will share commercialization rights for select products developed under the agreement.