Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 12 , 439-470 ( 2021)
Owing to rising levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and oceans, climate change poses significant environmental, economic, and social challenges globally. Technologies that enable carbon capture and conversion of greenhouse gases into useful products will help mitigate climate change by enabling a new circular carbon economy. Gas fermentation usingcarbon-fixing microorganisms offers an economically viable and scalable solution with unique feedstock and product flexibility that has been commercialized recently. We review the state of the art of gas fermentation and discuss opportunities to accelerate future development and rollout. We discuss the current commercial process for conversion of waste gases to ethanol, including the underlying biology, challenges in process scale-up, and progress on genetic tool development and metabolic engineering to expand the product spectrum. We emphasize key enabling technologies to accelerate strain development for acetogens and other nonmodel organisms.