Calysta’s patented loop reactor technology has been demonstrated at the 10,000 ton per year scale for biological conversion of methane, and has been successfully deployed and operated at commercial scale. The unique design allows for maximal transfer of multiple gaseous feedstocks into solution to allow rapid and efficient conversion by the microorganisms. The unique feature of Calysta’s loop reactor design is the use of rapid liquid flow to drive the gas mixtures downwards against gravity faster than the normal rise rate of the bubbles. This leads to pressurization of the gas in situ, dramatically improving the rate of dissolution of the gas into the liquid. The liquid flow is achieved using pumps which operate at significantly lower energy costs relative to traditional stirred tanks while achieving orders of magnitude increases in mass transfer rates.
Biocatalyst Coated Reactors
Calysta is actively developing integrated biocatalyst-reactor solutions based on the company’s proprietary biocatalytic coating technology. Biocatalytic coatings are biocomposite materials, in which living microorganisms are immobilized in thin, nano-structured polymeric matrices. These coating-enabled reactor designs overcome key hurdles in traditional biocatalysis and are particularly well suited for multi-phase processes, such as gas-liquid processes (e.g. methane fermentation, CO2 sequestration, partial oxidations).
Calysta’s reactor solutions are inherently modular in design allowing for rapid scale-up of a given process. Combined with the unique ability to store biocatalytic coatings dry at ambient conditions for extended periods of time, this enables a completely new business model for the bioprocess industry. Now, a microbial biocatalyst can be produced cost-effectively in a central location, packaged in biocatalytic coating modules, shipped dry to multiple distant utilization sites, and, upon arrival, be ready for immediate deployment or for storage as a backup. Once the catalytic activity is exhausted, the modules can be either disposed of or returned to the manufacturing location for refurbishment. Company analyses show that, compared to a traditional fermentation process, Calysta’s biocatalytic coating technology can reduce capital cost of multi-phase biocatalytic processes by as much as 90% and operating cost by up to 50%.