Proposals should address current limitations of CO2 reuse technologies based on microbial platforms, by developing their full potential, and need to cover one or more of the following issues:
- Microbes with an improved ability to convert CO2 as a feedstock into chemicals and plastics.
- Discovery of new, more active and robust enzymes for improved bio-catalysis.
- Design of new synthetic microbial systems to produce useful enzymes.
- Improved microbes with resistance to impurities, by-products and target products.
- Exploring the potential application sectors of the products and technologies to be developed.
Proposals should address elements of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), exploring the public perception and acceptance of the technology of CO2 reuse.
Proposals can be considered complementary to those dealing with CO2 reuse in the SPIRE public-private partnership (Part 17 of this Work Programme), where the issue is being tackled from a purely chemical perspective.
Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 3 to 5. This topic addresses cross-KET activities.
Insofar as possible, proposals will involve SMEs and engage in international cooperation,
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Nowadays CO2 re-use is one of several technological ways to reduce otherwise harmful CO2 emissions, thus making CO2 a valuable commodity rather than a pollutant. However, the research behind full development of CO2 reuse technologies is in its early stages. Some of these technologies use CO2 as a feedstock for chemicals and plastics, thus increasing the industrial biotechnology potential for enhancing European economic competitiveness. In this way, tackling the CO2 challenge includes interesting possibilities for encouraging innovation and sustainability.
An industrial biotechnology route for CO2 re-use is fermentation, where CO2 is fermented into a desired molecule using hydrogen as a source of energy. However, there are technical issues that need to be resolved, because the biochemical reactions involved are not yet self-supporting in terms of energy for the industrial scale conversion of CO2 into chemicals. Moreover, the final yield of the products is low and the process needs optimisation. Ultimately, the success of CO2 reuse technologies will depend on developing processes which are less energy and material intensive than the processes they aim to replace and which can be scaled to an industrial level of production. In this context, an important consideration or advantage would be the ability of the microbes to process raw CO2 (low concentrations, presence of impurities, etc.). Therefore, substantial research is required to achieve the goal of a CO2 economy.
- Development and validation of at least two microbial cell factories;
- Development of concepts for solving challenges expected by an industrial-scale implementation;
- Contribution to the reduction in CO2 emissions in the medium to long term;
- Supporting the EU in becoming a global leader in CO2 re-use technologies through the utilisation of microbial platforms.
Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.