Visolis Utilizes Synthetic Biology to Convert Biomass into Eco-Friendly Everyday Items

by Manuel Costa
5 comments
Sustainable Manufacturing

Under the guidance of Deepak Dugar, Visolis is revolutionizing manufacturing processes with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The company uses microbes to ferment biomass waste, creating a carbon-negative building block for a wide array of products. Visolis already has several products and a revenue stream in the millions, with plans to increase their operations, adding sustainable aviation fuel to their product line.

Deepak Dugar, the founder of Visolis, is committed to decarbonizing the production of a range of products, from rubber to jet fuel.

Weaning off fossil fuels will necessitate a change in manufacturing methods. Hydrocarbons found in fossil fuels such as crude oil, natural gas, and coal are also present in everyday items like plastics, clothing, and cosmetics.

Visolis, established by Deepak Dugar, an MIT alumnus, is merging synthetic biology and chemical catalysis to revolutionize manufacturing — significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

The company transforms biomass waste like wood chips into a molecular building block called mevalonic acid by using a specific microbe. The company is thus sustainably manufacturing everything from car tires and cosmetics to aviation fuels by adjusting the chemical processes to produce different byproducts.

Visolis, an innovative startup led by MIT graduate Deepak Dugar, employs synthetic biology to decarbonize the manufacturing of a wide array of products from jet fuel to rubber to skincare.

Dugar explains, “We initially started with isoprene, a key molecule derived from mevalonic acid, as our primary product. However, we’ve since broadened our platform with this unique fusion of chemistry and biology that allows us to rapidly and efficiently decarbonize multiple supply chains. Imagine carbon-negative yoga pants — we can make that a reality. Everything from personal care products to apparel to industrial goods can reduce their carbon footprint, and we are already supplying personal care items.”

Visolis is already collaborating with some of the world’s largest consumers of isoprene, a raw material for rubber. Now, Dugar aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s process in other industries that are heavy emitters.

“Our process is carbon-negative because we utilize plant matter that has absorbed CO2 from the air. We transform it into synthetic rubber, which is used in products like roofing and tires,” explains Dugar. “In most cases, these materials are recycled at the end of their life cycle, thereby preserving the carbon that was initially captured by the plants. This means our production can be carbon-negative depending on the emissions associated with the production process. This allows us not only to reduce climate change but potentially to reverse it.”

During his doctoral studies, Dugar researched the economic viability of utilizing microbes to create high-octane gas additives. Inspired by classes on sustainability and entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, he decided to start a company.

Driven by his desire to create a significant climate impact, Dugar decided to replace petroleum in both fuels and materials. He pursued this idea after analyzing recent advances in synthetic biology and conducting some first-principle calculations. With the help of others at MIT, he demonstrated the viability of a microbial approach to cleaning up rubber production.

After developing a microbe that met 80 percent of his criteria for producing mevalonic acid, he then developed a chemical catalysis process that converted this acid to isoprene, the primary component of natural rubber. Visolis has since patented other chemical conversion processes that convert mevalonic acid into aviation fuel, polymers, and fabrics.

Today, Visolis is selling skincare products under the brand Ameva Bio, which makes creams from mevalonic acid by recycling plant byproducts. Visolis is also starting the process to gain regulatory approval for its sustainable aviation fuel, which Dugar believes could have the largest climate impact by decarbonizing commercial flight fuel production.

Visolis, which already generates millions of dollars in revenue, is looking to rapidly scale now that its core molecule has been validated. Dugar says, “We have been increasing the capacity of our technology tenfold every two to three years, and we’re excited about keeping up this momentum.”

I consent to the use of Google Analytics and related cookies across the TrendMD network (widget, website, blog). Learn more
Yes No

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sustainable Manufacturing

What is Visolis and who founded it?

Visolis is a company that uses synthetic biology to transform biomass waste into carbon-negative building blocks for various products. It was founded by Deepak Dugar.

What is the main goal of Visolis?

Visolis aims to revolutionize manufacturing processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They do this by using microbes to ferment biomass waste, thereby creating carbon-negative materials for use in different products.

What does Visolis produce?

Visolis manufactures a wide array of products by sustainably altering the chemical processes involved in making items ranging from car tires and cosmetics to aviation fuels.

How does Visolis contribute to reducing carbon emissions?

Visolis uses a microbe to ferment biomass waste, creating a carbon-negative building block called mevalonic acid. This method allows them to produce various items in a way that captures CO2 rather than releasing it.

What is the potential climate impact of Visolis’ sustainable aviation fuel?

The sustainable aviation fuel produced by Visolis could have a significant climate impact by reducing the carbon emissions associated with commercial flight fuel production.

What is Visolis’ future plan?

Visolis is already generating significant revenue and plans to scale up rapidly now that its platform molecule has been validated. It aims to increase its technology capacity tenfold every two to three years.

More about Sustainable Manufacturing

You may also like

5 comments

GreenLivingLover July 20, 2023 - 9:57 am

cant believe how far tech has come! using microbes to make us more eco friendly, that’s just mind blowing…

Reply
JohnDoe2023 July 20, 2023 - 4:13 pm

This is rly good stuff. We need more co’s like Visolis that r takin action against climate change.

Reply
EcoWarrior101 July 20, 2023 - 8:38 pm

I’m pretty impressed with this, you know? it’s high time businesses started to take responsibility and help reverse climate change. Go Visolis!

Reply
EnviroMike July 21, 2023 - 5:22 am

Making money while helping the environment, now thats a win-win in my books!!

Reply
TechGuru22 July 21, 2023 - 7:32 am

Impressive approach. Synthetic biology might be the key to sustainable future we all need.

Reply

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

SciTechPost is a web resource dedicated to providing up-to-date information on the fast-paced world of science and technology. Our mission is to make science and technology accessible to everyone through our platform, by bringing together experts, innovators, and academics to share their knowledge and experience.

Subscribe

Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

© 2023 SciTechPost

en_USEnglish