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Occidental Unit, Cemvita Factory Plan To Develop Pilot Plant For CO2-to-bio-ethylene Technology

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures or OLCV, a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), announced Tuesday a deal with bio-engineering startup Cemvita Factory to construct and operate a one metric ton per month bio-ethylene pilot plant. Start-up of the pilot plant is expected in 2022.

In the planned pilot plant, the companies would apply a jointly developed technology using human-made carbon dioxide or CO2 instead of hydrocarbon-sourced feedstocks.

The pilot project will scale up the process that was successful in laboratory tests, which showed the OLCV-Cemvita technology is competitive with hydrocarbon-sourced ethylene processes. In the chemical industry, ethylene is widely used primarily as a precursor to polymers for use in items like durable, long-life products.

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita Factory, said, "Today bio-ethylene is made from bio-ethanol, which is made from sugarcane, which in turn was created by photosynthesizing CO2. Our bio-synthetic process simply requires CO2, water and light to produce bio-ethylene, and that's why it saves a lot of cost and carbon emissions."

In 2019, OLCV made an investment in Cemvita Factory to jointly explore how the advances in synthetic biology can be utilized to provide sustainable pathways for the bio-manufacturing of OxyChem's products.

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