Scaling up ZymoChem’s unique process
ZymoChem is re-imagining the microbe, one that is designed to eliminate — or substantially reduce — carbon loss during the production of chemicals.
As part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Small Business Vouchers program, ZymoChem partnered with the ABPDU to prove their concept, purify their product, and scale up their process.
Jon Kuchenreuther, Chief Scientific Officer of ZymoChem, said the ABPDU was able to accommodate their unique bioprocess, validate it at the 300 liter scale, and generate a kilogram of material.
“Our process is not a standard fermentation process, so being able to validate it at this scale has been very useful in conversations with investors as well as potential development partners,” Kuchenreuther said. “The work has also been quite valuable for generating biologically based samples of our bioproduct. We were able to produce roughly a kilogram quantity of our product in our fermentation campaigns.”
Beyond its process development capabilities, for which the ABPDU is best known, the team also boasts a strong network in the biomanufacturing industry. The ABPDU was able to connect ZymoChem to Pope Scientific, an equipment manufacturer, to inquire about a wiped film evaporator (WFE).
ABPDU’s team optimized the evaporation process conditions for both mock and adipic acid- hexamethylene diamine (AA-HMDA) salt mixtures in their 2” glass WFE setup. The optimized condition was then scaled up in a 50L ABEC fermentation reactor that was modified by ABPDU to function as an evaporator for this project. The results in the WFE matched the scale up results in the 50L ABEC vessel.
“We were looking to scale that process up and hashed out the logistics and costs with the manufacturer,” Kuchenreuther said. “This unexpected benefit helped us think about and explore new ideas. The ABPDU enabled us to get the wheels turning and look into whether or not our ideas were feasible.”
As an early-stage startup in the Bay Area, Kuchenreuther said they frequently connect with other new companies that are trying to demonstrate their technologies and raise funds.