Carbon Negative Chemical with Synthetic Biochemistry

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Monrovia, California
Project Term:
10/01/2021 - 09/30/2023

Technology Description:

Invizyne Technologies proposes an electrically powered cell-free enzymatic approach for upgrading ethanol into more useful chemicals. Because carbon for 99% of organic chemicals is petroleum-derived, replacing petroleum carbon with carbon captured from the atmosphere could greatly mitigate carbon emissions. Atmospheric CO2 represents a potentially limitless source of inexpensive carbon, but there are significant challenges to converting captured CO2 into useful chemicals and fuels. While recent technologies can capture CO2 by converting it into simple chemicals such as formate or ethanol, these molecules have limited applications. INvizyne Technologies’ approach would enable efficient, economical, bio-based, and carbon negative chemical production from CO2 neutral/negative ethanol and formate. Successful completion of the project will demonstrate that cell-free biocatalysis (using enzymes to catalyze multi-step chemical reactions in vitro) can complement cell-based metabolic engineering. The project will help diversify existing ethanol markets and seed a carbon-negative chemical industry.

Potential Impact:

The application of biology to sustainable uses of waste carbon resources for the generation of energy, intermediates, and final products---i.e., supplanting the “bioeconomy”—provides economic, environmental, social, and national security benefits and offers a promising means of carbon management.


If successful, the new technologies are expected to catalyze new conversion platforms for biofuels and other high-volume bioproducts that are capable of promoting U.S. energy security by increasing recoverable product from the same mass of feedstock through the avoidance of wasting carbon in the form of CO2.


This program funds cutting-edge technologies to de-risk the engineering of carbon optimized bioconversion pathways capable of generating valuable bioproducts such as sustainable aviation fuel without emission of CO2 as a waste product.


The technologies funded by this program can increase the potential bioproduct output by more than 40% without requiring another square inch of land or pound of feedstock, while catalyzing the next generation of carbon optimized bio-based manufacturing.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Kirk Liu
Project Contact:
Dr. Tyler Korman
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of California, Los Angeles

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