BIO-BASED PRODUCTION OF CARBON-NEGATIVE, HIGH-PERFORMANCE POLYMERS.


team:

Deepak Dugar, Ph.D.

Deepak Dugar, Ph.D.

Dr. Deepak Dugar is leading the Visolis project along with a team of engineers and advisers. Previously, he worked as a management consultant at PwC advisory helping Cleantech clients with their commercialization efforts. He has also consulted for Royal DSM, NREL, Flagship Ventures etc. He has been a recipient of the Legatum Fellowship and the Martin family society for sustainability fellowship. Dr. Dugar completed his Dual Degree (B.Tech and M.Tech) in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from IIT Delhi and MBA, M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT.

Visolis has garnered multiple awards including the Catalyst award from MassCEC and the Winner of winners award from NECEC. Visolis was invited to ring the NASDAQ closing bell for its work towards development and commercialization of bio-based products, Visolis also won the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition and the Asia Venture Challenge.


technology:

Critical need: Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies like bio-based materials are needed to complement existing efforts to mitigate climate change and keep projected warming below 2°C.

 
Image adapted from The Climate Institute report titled: Below Zero - Carbon Removal and the Climate Challenge

Image adapted from The Climate Institute report titled: Below Zero - Carbon Removal and the Climate Challenge

 

Technology vision: The Visolis process will enable production of bio-based elastomers, unsaturated polyester resins, superabsorbent polymers, and other products using a variety of feedstocks like agri-residues, dextrose, glycerol and syn-gas. As we come down the cost curve, the same technology can be adapted to produce high energy density jet fuels. 

 
Market size for Visolis target bio-products.

Market size for Visolis target bio-products.

 

Current state-of-the-art: Various bio-based processes have witnessed rapid development. However, scale up and commercialization has been risky due to low yields and reliance on a single product.

Key innovation: The high-yield Visolis process is a platform technology based on an engineered microbe coupled with efficient processing, leading to near theoretical energy and carbon efficiency. Furthermore, flexibility in the production process allows for rapid changes in the product mix in response to volatile market conditions reducing commercial risk much like a modern refinery.

Manufacturing challenges: Fermentation process scale-up and validation of structural performance for specific industrial applications.

Competing technology: Most petroleum-based processes are mature with little room for further improvement on cost. In particular, the shift in production of ethylene from naphtha to natural gas liquids has led to supply shocks and volatile C4-C6 chemicals prices. 

 
Ethylene data: AFPM producer data.

Ethylene data: AFPM producer data.

 

First market hypothesis: High value specialty chemicals where our products offer a lower cost, including methyl vinyl ketone and methyl isopropyl ketone.

Potential for impact: The Visolis process would reduce the cost of various products by 30-50% relative to the petroleum-based equivalent, while reducing process greenhouse gas emissions by 70%. As a bio-based process, our technology uses the photosynthetic capability of plants to fix CO2 into structural materials that can sequester carbon for decades. Resin applications alone represent a carbon sink potential of over 200 million tons CO2e, equivalent to planting 2 billion trees. 

 
 

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