Stranded methane to food: techno-economic analysis of methanotrophic protein production

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 5 of this Preprint.

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Authors

Sahar Head El Abbadi, Evan D Sherwin , Adam R Brandt , Stephen P. Luby, Craig S. Criddle

Abstract

Methane is emitted and flared from industrial sources across the United States, contributing to global climate change. This need not be the case. Methanotrophic (methane-oxidizing) bacteria can transform methane into useful protein-rich biomass (e.g., to replace fishmeal in animal feeds). Here, we analyze the economic potential of producing methanotrophic microbial protein from methane emitted and flared from wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and oil and gas facilities. Our results show that current technology can enable production equivalent to nearly 15% of the global fishmeal market at prices at or below the current cost of fishmeal of roughly $1,600 per metric ton. We find that methanotroph production is most sensitive to electricity costs, which can be reduced through lower prices or reducing electricity demand. Bioreactor cooling and biomass drying are the most energy intensive processes, and additional price savings can be achieved by reducing labor requirements.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5PP5D

Subjects

Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Engineering

Keywords

methane, single cell protein, methanotroph, fishmeal

Dates

Published: 2021-02-23 06:41

Last Updated: 2021-02-25 03:15

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
None

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