BETO 2021 Peer Review - Waste Carbon Gas Upgrading via Acetogens

Jonathan Lo

Research output: NRELPresentation


Waste carbon gas represents a large and diverse set of feedstocks that could be captured and turned into useful products. This includes waste gas emitted from industrial activity, syngas from burned plant biomass or processed municipal waste, and electrochemical reduction of CO2. Currently, carbon gas is being microbially converted to ethanol as a main product. However, ethanol is a lower value product with a limited market size. While these microbes can make other higher value products, there are no commercial processes for generating these other products, leaving a gap in understanding potential implementation for commercialization. Expanding the products microbially produced from waste carbon gas requires several steps before commercial implementation. We are studying the acetogen Clostridium ljungdahlii as a biocatalyst to convert waste carbon gas to the chemical 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), a plastic monomer and fuel precursor. For that, we are studying and engineering microbial characteristics for novel 3HB product formation from waste gas streams. This includes metabolic characterization, genetic engineering, gas fermentation scaling, as well as technoeconomic and life cycle analysis.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2700-79320


  • CO2
  • electrochemical reduction
  • feedstocks
  • syngas


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