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Fuels from electricity: de novo metabolic conversion of electrochemically produced formate into hydrocarbons

eForFuel

Fuels from electricity: de novo metabolic conversion of electrochemically produced formate into hydrocarbons

Link to CORDIS:
Objectives: 

For biorefined fuels to fully replace fossil carbons, we must identify feedstock sources which are essentially unlimited in capacity and scalability and are independent of agriculture and forestry land use. Here, we propose to use electricity – preferably produced from renewable sources and at off pick hours – as the sole energy source for microbial growth and the conversion of CO2 into fuels.

We aim to tackle the shortcoming of previous technologies by using completely soluble formate as a mediator between electrical current and living cells. Within an integrated electrobioreactor, CO2 will be reduced to formate at a very high rate, and the formate will be consumed by an engineered E. coli to produce propane and isobutene, gaseous hydrocarbons that are easy to separate from the liquid broth. Both propane and isobutene can be further converted into a range of products, including excellent fuel substitutes (e.g., isooctane), using conventional chemical engineering methodologies.

Our approach comprises a truly interdisciplinary effort. Material scientists will design novel electrode compositions and structures, which will be used by electrochemists to optimize electrochemical formate production at high efficiency and current density. Metabolic engineers will adapt E. coli for growth on formate via two synthetic formate assimilation pathways, specifically designed to fit the metabolism of this model bacterium. Synthetic pathways for propane and isobutene biosynthesis will be implemented in the formatotrophic strains. Process engineers will construct a unique electrobioreactor to support simultaneous formate production and consumption.

Experts in environmental assessment will analyze the benefits of the suggested technology, and the project vision and results will be disseminated to the scientific community and general public. The technology put forward in this proposal could have a transformative effect on the way we produce our chemicals and fuels.

Institution Type:
Type of funding:
Programme Other: 
LCE-06-2017 New knowledge and technologies
Lead Organisation: 

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Wissenschaften Ev

Address: 
HOFGARTENSTRASSE 8
80539 München
Germany
EU Contribution: 
€572,425
Partner Organisations: 

Universidad De Alicante

Address: 
CAMPUS DE SAN VICENTE RASPEIG
03690 ALICANTE
Spain
EU Contribution: 
€299,299

Biofaction Kg

Address: 
KUNDMANNGASSE 39/12
1030 WIEN
Austria
EU Contribution: 
€309,280

Imperial College Of Science Technology And Medicine

Address: 
Exhibition Road, South Kensington
LONDON
SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom
EU Contribution: 
€351,294

Weizmann Institute Of Science Ltd

Address: 
HERZL STREET 234
REHOVOT 7610001
Israel
EU Contribution: 
€149,538

Commissariat A L Energie Atomique Et Aux Energies Alternatives

Address: 
RUE LEBLANC 25
75015 PARIS 15
France
EU Contribution: 
€349,785

Sintef

Address: 
Strindveien 4
7034 TRONDHEIM
Norway
EU Contribution: 
€350,000

C3 Bio-Technologies Limited

Address: 
20 MANNIN WAY LANCASTER BUSINESS PARK CATON ROAD
LANCASTER LANCASTERSHIRE
LA1 3SW
United Kingdom
EU Contribution: 
€149,875

Ifeu - Institut Fur Energie Und Umweltforschung Heidelberg Gmbh

Address: 
IM WEIHER 10
69121 HEIDELBERG
Germany
EU Contribution: 
€200,000

In Srl

Address: 
VIA CARDUCCI 9A
33100 UDINE
Italy
EU Contribution: 
€226,375

Universitaet Paderborn

Address: 
Warburger Strasse 100
33098 Paderborn
Germany
EU Contribution: 
€346,844

Arcelormittal Belgium Nv

Address: 
KEIZERINLAAN 66
1000 BRUSSEL
Belgium
EU Contribution: 
€156,875

Altar

Address: 
5 RUE HENRI DESBRUERES BIO CLUSTER GENOPOLE CAMPUS 1
91030 EVRY
France
EU Contribution: 
€496,125

Global Bioenergies

Address: 
5 RUE HENRI DESBRUERES
91000 EVRY
France
EU Contribution: 
€159,494
Technologies: 
Development phase: