Oakbio Makes Bioplastic at Cement Plant using CO2 from Flue Gas and Electricity

Milestone for cement industry and renewable products

Today Oakbio Inc. announced the successful production of bioplastic polymers in their bioreactor systems. Oakbio’s system creates bioplastic using inputs of cement plant flue gas and electricity. The technology uses bioreactors driven by non-toxic microbes to capture CO2 and convert it to a variety of sustainable products directly from the plant’s gas emissions.

This is the latest development from an on-site research collaboration at Lehigh Southwest Cement Company’s Permanente cement manufacturing plant in Cupertino. Lehigh Southwest is part of Lehigh Hanson, Inc., the North American operations of the HeidelbergCement Group, a world leader in construction materials with approximately 52,000 employees in more than 40 countries.

Chief Scientist Brian Sefton stated, “Our carbon conversion process yields over 50% bioplastics in microbe biomass by dry weight from inputs of raw flue gas and electricity. The type of plastic we make is not only renewable, but biodegradable as well.

“The effective conversion of captured CO2 into a valuable bioplastic product represents an important technical achievement for potential large-scale bioplastics production. This result also points the way to a new method for greenhouse gas capture, making emissions gas CO2 a feedstock for mass scale manufacturing.”

CEO Russell Howard added: “At Oakbio we see industrial CO2 as a carbon resource. By converting virtually unlimited amounts of low cost CO2 available from various industries worldwide into sustainable products like biodegradable plastics, Oakbio’s technology can answer multiple needs: full scale chemicals production without the use of petroleum oil or agricultural feedstock; replacement of petroleum oil-derived plastics with bio-degradable renewable products; and the capture of CO2 to prevent greenhouse gas accumulation. The ability of our microbes to perform their magic in cement flue gas is an important step toward achieving this vision”.

About Oakbio, Inc.
Oakbio is a private technology-based company in Sunnyvale dedicated to sustainable production of specialty chemicals using novel microbial production processes that combine GHG reduction with manufacture of sustainable specialty chemicals.

Russell Howard, CEO, Oakbio,
phone: (408) 930-7004;
email: [email protected]

Source: Oakbio, press release, 2012-07-10.