The Use of Genetically Enhanced Biocatalyst to Convert Greenhouse Gases Into Plastic

M. Herrema
Newlight Technologies, LLC, US

Keywords: plastic, bioplastic, PHA, greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, methane


The use of greenhouse gas (GHG) to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) thermoplastics is an elegant concept with major potential benefits. Converting greenhouse gases into plastics has the potential to significantly impact efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption, mitigate global climate change, increase the use of sustainable materials, and reduce the cost of plastics manufacturing. Unfortunately, the commercial success of GHG-PHAs has been fundamentally constrained by at least three major challenges: 1) the low yield of PHA polymer produced from GHGs; 2) the high cost of downstream processing; and 3) the functional limitations of PHAs relative to their commodity counterparts. To address these issues, Newlight has developed a high-performance biocatalyst that dramatically increases the yield of PHA polymer generated from GHG by approximately 500% relative to previous biocatalysts. To do this, Newlight has developed a novel epigenetic modification technology, which enables PHA overproduction by the company’s biocatalyst and significantly reduces overall PHA production cost.