While sugar based fermentation has been deployed commercially for many decades the fermentation of carbon rich gases is an emerging technology of increasing commercial interest. Gas streams include the increasingly abundant low cost natural gas from shale development, biogas produced from anaerobic digestion, carbon monoxide obtained from industrial flue gases and synthesis gas derived from the gasification of carbon rich raw materials such as biomass or post-consumer wastes. The gasification of carbon rich raw materials provides several key benefits, it allows;
- The conversion of mixed materials to a variety of simple gases
- The conversion of non-biological raw materials such as plastic to fermentable gases
- Both the carbohydrate and lignin components of biomass to be used as a fermentation feedstock potentially leading to high yields of fermentation product.
As an emerging technology, the industry faces a number of technology challenges in developing these commercial processes making the development of gas fermentation processes highly collaborative, requiring expertise in thermochemical processing to be combined with the biotechnology of gas fermentation.
Full technical demonstration of processes also requires the on-site integration of gas generation, for example gasification rigs, and gas fermentation vessels.
CPI brings together critical competences and facilities for gasification, anaerobic digestion and fermentation enabling integrated technology development and demonstration.