(238c) Commercializing the Production of 1,3 Butadiene through the Production of 2,3 Butanediol Using Intrexon’s Natural Gas-to-Liquids Platform
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, October 29, 2018 - 4:30pm to 5:00pm
This toolbox has enabled Intrexon to use its methanotroph platform to convert natural gas into 2, 3 butanediol and deploy a catalytic process to dehydrate 2, 3 butanediol into 1, 3 butadiene, an important chemical for the production of synthetic rubber. Using a methanotrophic bioprocess to produce 2, 3 butanediol has several advantages beyond the low cost and minimal processing of feedstock. First, natural gas bioconversion offers scaling opportunities beyond traditional gas-to-liquid (GTL) facilities, as well as biomass feedstock facilities. Second, the theoretical yields of methanotroph/methane exceed that of yeast/sugar approaches by a wide margin. Lastly, biocatalytic processes that achieve high yields under milder processing conditions allow for reduced capital and operation expenditures, offering greater economic viability.
To effectively bring this technology to commercial scale, Intrexon has successfully transferred technology from lab scale to the pilot plant scale. By operating extended runs at the pilot scale, safety, operability and technology readiness is rapidly addressed allowing the completion of the FEL-2 engineering package. The rapid pace at which the pilot work occurred came as a result of working with multiple partners who had both the assets and domain knowledge to operate parts of this process at the pilot scale. In addition to the consideration given to optimizing the bacterial metabolic pathway, key issues in the fermenter design, downstream processing and overall plant economics were addressed to evaluate all aspects of bringing this platform from lab to commercialization.