Redwood City, Calif., August 24, 2011 — Codexis, Inc. presented technical progress in its carbon capture program yesterday at the CO2 Capture Technology Meeting being sponsored this week by the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh.
Codexis, supported by a grant from the DOE's ARPA-E Recovery Act program, is using its CodeEvolver directed evolution technology to develop processes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The research program is based on development of customized carbonic anhydrase enzymes that could catalyze carbon capture under industrial conditions. Data showed CA performance has been improved by about two million fold over natural forms of the enzyme. Evolved CA enzymes are functional and stable in relatively inexpensive, energy efficient solvents for 24 hours at temperatures greater than 90 degrees C.
Use of carbon capture solvents with fully developed enzymes is expected to substantially reduce the costs and energy requirements to capture CO2 produced by coal-fired power plants. The data was presented by James Lalonde, Ph.D., Codexis' Vice President of Biochemistry and Engineering Research and Development. Codexis is jointly developing the technology with CO2 Solution, Inc., Quebec, Canada.
A 2011 NETL report estimated that coal-fired power plants account for roughly 37 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions and that current technology to capture CO2 would reduce power generating capacity by 30 percent.
In May 2010, Codexis was selected to receive an ARPA-E Recovery Act program grant for up to $4.7 million from the DOE for development of innovative technology to remove carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions. The grant was one of 37 research projects which the DOE said "could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy."