APRIL 2011
                                        

WM and Genomatica in strategic agreement to turn solid waste into chemicals

Waste Management and Genomatica announced a strategic joint development agreement to research and advance Genomatica’s technology and manufacturing processes to enable production of intermediate and basic chemicals from syngas made from municipal solid waste.

Under the agreement, Genomatica will create proprietary, specially-designed organisms and complete manufacturing processes to efficiently and economically convert syngas into chemical products. Genomatica’s patents, intellectual property and technology platform should facilitate further refinement of organisms and processes to allow chemical production from syngas produced from locally-available waste with varying characteristics. Biological production of chemicals would provide another potential use for any syngas produced by or for Waste Management through anaerobic digestion, gasification and landfill gas.

Syngas is produced throughout the world from natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons, and through the gasification of coal, biomass, and waste materials. Syngas is a low-cost input material often used to generate electricity, and can also be converted into liquid fuels. Prior to Genomatica, converting syngas to chemicals was primarily done through chemical processing techniques, which were generally energy-intensive and limited in their ability to produce specific chemical products. Supported by the new joint development agreement, Genomatica is working to enable the conversion of syngas into desired, major market intermediate and basic chemicals.

The joint development agreement with Genomatica complements Waste Management’s comprehensive waste services in the areas of recycling, landfill, waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy. This agreement will also help move Waste Management toward meeting three of its sustainability goals – doubling its renewable energy production and tripling the amount of recyclables processed by 2020, and investing in emerging technologies for managing waste.