Engineering Biology & Materials Science
Industrial Biotechnology Challenge:

Enable next-generation production through sustainable, cost-competitive, flexible, and efficient manufacturing processes.

Processes that enable circularity by utilizing complex waste resources that cannot be recycled with existing technologies.

  • Technical Achievement: Enable efficient breakdown of complex waste plastics (particularly mixed waste streams or multi-layer plastics such as those found in carpets or shoes) by engineered enzymes (e.g., PETases) or hybrid chemical-biological processes (e.g., gasification and fermentation) to make virgin materials.

Materials that enable low-cost, low-energy separation of bioproducts from aqueous solutions.

  • Technical Achievement: Identify, develop, and demonstrate separation membranes composed of biologically produced monomers/materials.
  • Technical Achievement: Identify, develop, and demonstrate biocompatible solvents/adsorbents capable of extracting molecules from fermentation broths.

Materials for biomining and uptake of metals.

  • Technical Achievement: Develop a broader range of biological systems (e.g., viral, bacterial, fungal-based) engineered to accumulate metals.
  • Technical Achievement: Tune biological systems for metal uptake, particularly bioaccumulation of only desired products (e.g., rare earth or precious metals).
  • Technical Achievement: Use natural biological polymers harnessed from biomining and functionalize with synthetic chemistries to endow tunable chemical and biophysical properties.
Last updated: January 19, 2021 Back