Kiverdi: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

5-Minute-Guide-logoKiverdi makes high-value oils and chemicals for a variety of product applications such as detergents, biomaterials and fuel additives. Kiverdi’s chemicals are sustainably produced from waste carbon and decoupled from the price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitics associated with commodities.

Kiverdi is in the class of gas fermentation companies – like, say, Coskata, INEOS Bio or LanzaTech, and a modular bolt-on to syngas production processes, such as commercially available gasification or steam reforming technologies. Their differentiating point? The ability to produce a wide range of commercially useful mid- and long-chain carbon molecules using proprietary microbes, co-designed bioreactors, and integrated operations.

The result? In prospect, a high margin, low Capex waste-conversion technology that can use agricultural carbon-based wastes, natural gas (particularly stranded natural gas), biogas, LPG, or petcoke, to manufacture petrochemical replacements and drop-in fuels.

The Situation

In February, In Washington, the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office announced the selection of seven projects across the country to receive up to $10 million to support innovative technologies and solutions to help advance bioenergy development. These projects will support BETO’s work to develop renewable and cost-competitive biofuels from nonfood biomass feedstocks by reducing the risk associated with potentially breakthrough approaches and technologies.

Kiverdi, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will receive up to $2 million to further develop processes and genetic tools to produce hydrocarbons in previously unengineered bacteria that directly utilize biomass-derived syngas for growth.


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Kiverdi’s proprietary technology produces sustainable oils from gasified waste and waste carbon at a fraction of the cost of chemical catalysts, based on proprietary high-yield microbes produce high quantities of oils from waste carbon resources, demonstrating a process that surpasses chemical catalysts in capital efficiency and product selectivity.

With the Kiverdi cutting-edge Carbon Engineering platform, the company applies “advanced biotechnology and carbon engineering tools to our high-yield microbes to tailor oils to match different applications – from consumer chemicals to jet fuel.”

The technology starts with a fundamentally different approach – Kiverdi uses “proprietary microbes that are rich in oils and consume waste carbon feedstocks and syngas that can be sourced from diverse inputs, including landfills, agricultural residue, wood waste, industrial flue gas streams and manufacturing waste, enabling lower cost conversion of waste carbon into high-value products. “

The high-yield microbes and integrated low-temperature, low-pressure bioprocess provide an “attractive alternative to chemical catalysts for waste carbon and syngas conversion” and “capex requirements are less than half the capex required by chemical catalysts.”


Kiverdi’s low-cost chemicals offer partners “superior performance and margin potential” in three market segments — consumer goods, biomaterials and fuels.

Consumer goods

Kiverdi produces fatty acids, fatty alcohols, and triacylglycerides that can be used in consumer products including bar and liquid soaps, shampoo, skin creams, and detergents, offering a better sustainability profile than the palm and fossil petroleum alternatives.


Kiverdi technology offers “a sustainable and lower cost approach to producing molecules that can be used in the synthesis of bioplastics, nylons, and other polymers.” Applications of polymers that can be manufactured from these molecular building blocks range from textiles and fabrics, surgical materials, electronic parts, to sports and recreational equipment.

Fuel additives

Kiverdi’s molecules can be “dropped” into existing pipelines and refineries that already process millions of barrels of petroleum a day for vehicle and jet engines. The technology enables the production of hydrocarbons without wax or methane co-products, allowing for a higher yield with no required hydrocracking.

Top Past Milestones

In September 2012, Kiverdi was awarded a $747,126 grant from the California Energy Commission’s Research, Demonstration, and Development program for its efforts to develop beneficial uses of carbon dioxide (CO2). Kiverdi also announces that it was selected by a competitive peer-review process to become an Industrial User at the Molecular Foundry, where Kiverdi has access to world-class, state-of-the-art facilities and services.

In April 2012, Kiverdi, won the coveted 2012 Edison Award in Energy and Sustainability.

Kiverdi has picked up some impressive other wins, being named among the Top 25 Eco-Startups at the NREL Industry Growth Forum; winner, California region in the Cleantech Open,  for Air, Waste and Water; and, the company was a top 5 finalist for the MIT Clean Energy Prize–Top 5 Finalist

Major Milestone Goals

Commercial-scale project.

Business Model:

Technology developer

Competitive Edge:

Lower capex, lower feedstock costs


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