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Cemvita’s new pilot plant transforms CO2 emissions into renewable feedstocks, fertilizers


Photo: Business Wire

Cemvita announced April 12 the opening of a pilot plant in Houston, Texas, in what the company calls a.landmark step in the development of technology for using CO2 emissions as feedstock to produce valuable biocommodities including fertilizer, plastic, methane and fuels.


The opening of the pilot plant also marks the launch of Cemvita’s eCO2 business as a wholly owned company under Cemvita.


Boasting a volume of 55,000 liters (14,530 gallons), the plant is currently producing eCO2™ Oil, a cutting-edge microbially produced alternative to vegetable oil.


The company is already shipping samples of eCO2 products to customers including leading renewable fuels companies and plastics manufacturers.


The eCO2 company is already in pre-FEED engineering on full commercial-scale designs.


The biofuels industry “is currently facing feedstock shortages and price fluctuations due to growing-season risks,” Cemvita stated. “In contrast, eCO2 plants can provide reliable feedstock production with minimal land and electricity needs, without relying on hydrogen or sunlight like algae. Furthermore, the output of eCO2 plants will be carbon-negative and are aiming to be cost-competitive with existing crop-based [hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA)] feedstocks and fuels, which is a crucial factor for the successful adoption of any new biomanufacturing process.”


Cemvita’s eCO2 biomanufacturing platform uses engineered microbes that absorb and convert carbon dioxide into essential feedstocks and finished products.


The plant operates at ambient temperature and pressure and requires very little electricity.


The eCO2 platform is flexible and designed to produce reliable results in harsh operating environments.


From discrete manufacturing to petrochemical facilities, the process can be scaled and customized for any company looking to make their current processes “energy-transition ready,” the company stated.


“The energy transition requires completely new, cost-effective approaches for heavy industry,” said Charlie Nelson, chief operating officer of Cemvita. “We built this next-generation pilot plant in response to strong demand from offtake partners who are actively seeking sustainable solutions to the HEFA feedstock shortage.”


Cemvita pointed out that traditional biofuels, including renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, have relied on oils derived from crops, such as soybean and corn, as well as recycled vegetable oils.


According to Cemvita, its renewable feedstock comes with no carbon footprint attached.


“One eCO2 plant at full commercial scale can annually replace the oils produced from 200,000 acres of soybean farmland,” the company stated.


Moji Karimi, CEO and co-founder of Cemvita, said, “Our pilot plant represents the most cost-effective way of producing chemical feedstocks with all of the economic benefits of agriculturally derived equivalent and none of the harmful environmental impacts. It’s an ambitious first step in providing heavy industry customers with climate-positive alternatives. We’re making it possible for our partners to take part in the energy transition and reach decarbonization goals—without cutting into margin.”

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