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Novel Microbial Production of Chemicals from waste CO2

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The inventors have developed an electrosynthetic microbiome called the ElectrobiomeTM that directly converts CO2 water and small amounts of electricity into hydrogen (H2) formic acid and acetic acid. MUSC researchers have identified alternative conditions capable of driving the Electrobiome towards higher yields of acetic acid or hydrogen. The outputs from the Electrobiome can then be fed into a second bioreactor to generate bioplastics. The Electrobiome has been continually operating for more than three years which demonstrates sustainability that far surpasses other electrosynthetic microbiomes. As an added benefit the electrical input into the Electrobiome can be intermittent allowing it to run only when low-cost electricity is available. Thus far >1kg of H2 or acetic acid per m3 of reactor volume may be produced per day (1kg H2 ≈ 1 gallon gasoline equivalent) without costly rare-earth catalysts at the cathode. Markets for all of the Electrobiome products are sizeable and growing (annual global: H2 to $118B by 2016 fatty acids to $13B by 2017 and bioplastics in US to $7.7B by 2016). Further growth for most of these markets will depend on the availability of oil gas and coal which are scarce in many countries but presently plentiful in the US due in part to the advance of hydraulic fracturing methods. The Electrobiome is within range of cost competitiveness (e.g. it will produce one kg of acetate while consuming $0.35 of electricity or one kg of H2 with

Benefits:

Sustainable production of fuels chemicals and plastics from waste CO2 with potential to lower raw material cost and reduce carbon footprint.

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