Methanol Fermentation in Clostridium Bacteria

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Warrenville, Illinois
Project Term:
01/15/2014 - 06/13/2014

Technology Description:

Coskata is engineering methanol fermentation into an anaerobic microorganism to enable a low-cost biological approach for liquid fuel production. Currently, the most well-known processes available to convert methane into fuel are expensive and energy-intensive. Coskata is constructing strains of the anaerobic bacteria to efficiently and cost-effectively convert activated methane to butanol, an alcohol that can be used directly as part of a fuel blend. Coskata’s process involves molecular genetics to introduce and control specific genes, and to inactivate undesired pathways, together with fermentation optimization of constructed strains. Further, the team will work to increase the tolerance of these strains to high concentrations of butanol, an essential element of the technology.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Coskata’s technology will enable the rapid microbial conversion of methanol to fuel with high carbon and energy efficiency. In addition, Coskata’s technology could integrate with other technologies that activate methane to methanol.


An improved bioconversion process could create cost-competitive liquid fuels significantly reducing demand for foreign oil.


This technology would allow for utilization of small-scale remote natural gas resources or methane and carbon rich gas residues for fuel production reducing harmful emissions associated with conventional fuel technologies.


Expanding U.S. natural gas resources via bioconversion to liquid fuels could contribute tens of billions of dollars to the nation's economy while reducing or stabilizing transport fuel prices.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ramon Gonzalez
Project Contact:
Mr. Anthony Gatenby
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