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New Genomatica Chemical Process Targets Ailing Ethanol Assets
Date:2/24/2009

First-ever bio-manufacturing process to produce methyl ethyl ketone from renewable feedstocks proven in rapid order

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at Genomatica, Inc., a sustainable chemical company, have developed a bio-manufacturing process for methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), a commonly used industrial solvent with a global market valued at more than $2 billion. The rapid development breakthrough demonstrates that Genomatica's technology can repeatedly target specific chemicals that previously could only be produced from petroleum-based feedstocks. Genomatica's research proves these chemicals can be manufactured inside organisms using renewable feedstocks.

In the second half of 2008, on the heels of its first breakthrough, 1,4-Butanediol (BDO), Genomatica targeted MEK and began development. By extensively leveraging unique capabilities of Genomatica's technology platform, researchers have successfully created the first organism known to bio-manufacture MEK from sugar in the laboratory. The process converts sugar and water into this valuable chemical, most prominently used as a solvent in paints and coatings for furniture.

Genomatica executives selected MEK because it can be produced in existing ethanol manufacturing facilities left idle by a recent market contraction. Because of a recent downturn in demand for corn ethanol, many small- and mid-sized manufacturing facilities have been forced to cut production or shut down. These facilities are also facing serious concerns regarding the long-term competitive outlook for profitable ethanol production. To make better use of those investments, Genomatica developed a sustainable chemical process that would use the same equipment, temperatures and processes. With minimal additional investment, plants will be able to produce a chemical valued at significantly higher
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SOURCE Genomatica, Inc.
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