Joule today announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has favorably reviewed the company’s Microbial Commercial Activity Notice (MCAN) for Joule’s first commercial ethanol-producing catalyst. This clears the catalyst for commercial use at the company’s demonstration plant in Hobbs, New Mexico. Notably, this also marks the first time that EPA has allowed the commercial use of a modified cyanobacterium.
MCAN filings are required by the EPA prior to commercial use of certain modified microbes, including for biofuel or bio-based chemical production. In its review of Joule’s MCAN, EPA had no health or safety objections to use of the modified strain at the Hobbs facility. Joule and EPA have entered into a voluntary consent order which allows Joule to use this catalyst strain commercially at the Hobbs facility, while also providing EPA with further data resulting from such use.
“The favorable review of our first MCAN is an important step,” said Paul Snaith, President and CEO of Joule. “This work will help us not only meet or better EPA regulations beyond our plant in Hobbs, but also outside the US as we industrialize our solar, CO2-to-fuels platform.”
Joule has developed a portfolio of catalysts that are engineered to continuously consume and convert industrial waste CO2 emissions directly to transportation fuels. The catalysts are derived from an environmentally benign cyanobacterium that exists naturally in the wild, and Joule has redirected the metabolism of multiple strains for the production of specific products, including ethanol and diesel-range alkanes – an industry first. This feat enables the continuous, single-step conversion of CO2 to fuels, negating the need for biomass feedstocks and complex downstream processing.
Joule has pioneered a CO2-to-fuel production platform, effectively reversing combustion through the use of solar energy. The company’s platform applies engineered catalysts to continuously convert waste CO2 directly into renewable fuels such as ethanol or hydrocarbons for diesel, jet fuel and gasoline. Free of feedstock constraints and complex processing, Joule’s process can achieve unrivaled scalability, volumes and costs without the use of any agricultural land, fresh water or crops. Joule is privately held and has raised over $160 million in funding to date, led by Flagship Ventures. The company operates from Bedford, Massachusetts and The Hague, The Netherlands, with production operations in Hobbs, New Mexico. Additional information is available at www.jouleunlimited.com.