Feedstock flexibility – enabling the circular economy
A high proportion of the cost of chemical products can be due to the cost of the input feedstock. ZuvaSyntha recognises that market share in this space will be driven by production costs and is therefore focused on cheap and renewable sources of C1 feedstocks such as syngas, methane, CO2 and methanol. Almost all carbonaceous materials, including plant biomass, municipal waste, and many end-of-life consumer products can be converted to syngas. This feedstock flexibility means the process can be deployed in a variety of geographical locations. This also presents an attractive opportunity to develop linking technology that enables the conversion of these waste products – such as used car tyres – into syngas, which is then converted by ZuvaSyntha’s process into the chemical building blocks for new products.
This is an exciting example of the circular economy where commercial value can gained both from feedstock push as well as product pull. ZuvaSyntha is already in detailed discussions with potential partners who are looking at this technology as part of a waste recycling or remediation play to deliver new revenue streams but also to enhance the green credentials of existing legacy processes. Partners for ZuvaSyntha’s technology may therefore come from the feedstock side or from the product side or, as in the case of our first major industrial partner, both.
ZuvaSyntha has developed a novel pathway to BD and has worked with a top computational metabolic modelling expert to validate and guide its pathway selections. Alternative feedstocks that ZuvaSyntha are evaluating include methane and methanol. The increase in methane availability since the advent of shale gas exploitation has catalysed rapid growth in methanol production, and costs of both are predicted to decrease significantly over the next decade particularly in the US. ZuvaSyntha’s strains naturally utilise methanol using the same pathways engineered for syngas conversion and are therefore ideally suited to exploit this opportunity with appropriate commercial partners.