We seek to use engineered thermophilic bacteria to process biomass without added enzymes or thermochemical pretreatment.
Distinctive Technological Approach
Enabled by recent advances in genetic engineering, Enchi Corp. starts with thermophilic microorganisms representative of nature’s best hemicellulose and cellulose fermenters, and develops strains that produce desired products well. This may be contrasted to the dominant approach in the field to date, which is to start with yeast and other microbes that are good at producing products and engineer them to utilize cellulose and hemicellulose. A growing body of research suggests that the Enchi approach has some substantial inherent advantages and is likely to be the most cost effective for some important applications. In particular, by taking advantage of the superior feedstock-utilizing capability of thermophiles, we envision biomass processing with no added enzymes and with milling during fermentation (cotreatment) in lieu of thermochemical pretreatment, thus avoiding the two principle impediments to low-cost processing today.
Enchi CSO Lee Lynd leads an academic laboratory at Dartmouth College that is the most active worldwide in genetic engineering of thermophilic lignocellulose-fermenting microorganisms and invented cotreatment (https://lynd.engineering.dartmouth.edu/). By virtue of an agreement with Dartmouth College, Enchi has exclusive license to 4 granted patents, 20 published patent applications, and three submitted patent applications. These include the largest patent estate in metabolic engineering of thermophilic anaerobes as well as the foundational patent for cotreatment (US Patent 10,533,194). Enchi is the only company working to advance consolidated bioprocessing with cotreatment, C-CBP.