An Acoustically Enhanced Pervaporation Bioreactor (APB)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Envirogen, Inc.
4100 Quakerbridge Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

65536 Gaseous alkanes such as methane, ethane, propane, and butane are the most abundant and least expensive hydrocarbon feedstocks available; however, the processes used to convert them into more useful products are too energy intensive. There is a need to develop catalysts and associated processes that will reduce energy consumption by increasing the yield of the desired compounds. This project will develop a low-cost, low-energy, and environmentally friendly procedure with an efficient biological catalyst that can oxidize alkanes to alcohols and/or methyl ketones. In Phase I, a broad-substrate-specificity alkane, monooxygenase, will be cloned and expressed so that the genetic information and genes can be used to develop a high-performance biocatalyst for alkane oxidation. Afterwards, the expression, activity, stability, and substrate range of the monooxygenase will be improved, the initial oxidation process will be developed, and an alkane oxidation system will undergo pilot-scale testing. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Alkane oxidation biocatalysts should find use in energy recovery and in the production of alcohols, ketones, olefins, and epoxides with wide ranging commercial applications. They could also be used to generate high-value epoxides, and possibly enantiomerically-pure (chiral) epoxides, used in the production of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, agrochemicals, and polymers.