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Tailoring the electrode-enzyme interface for efficient bioelectrochemical CO2 reduction by formate dehydrogenase

Project description

Optimising the electrode-enzyme interface for efficient bioelectrochemical CO2 reduction

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in our atmosphere are associated with fossil fuel combustion, and as such, they are a major driver of climate change. Transitioning to cleaner forms of energy is critical, but it takes time. Capturing and converting CO2 before it is released is an excellent short- and mid-term solution. Fortunately, CO2 is an important feedstock for chemical fuels. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the BERCO2 project is optimising the enzyme-electrode interface to be used for efficient and green bioelectrochemical CO2 reduction using the bacterial enzyme formate dehydrogenase. The interface will be implemented in an innovative biofuel cell producing electricity from CO2 and molecular hydrogen.


The main objective of this proposal is to optimize the enzyme-electrode interface to achieve efficient bioelectrochemical carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction by formate dehydrogenase (FDH). To achieve the overall goal of the proposed project, the specific objectives are: 1) Incorporation of an unnatural amino acid (UAA) to Molybdenum-containing FDH (Mo-FDH) such that the enzyme can be specifically and covalently attached to electrode surfaces with controlled orientation for improved electron transfer (ET) 2) Tailoring the bio-interface between electrodes and FDH H for facile electrocatalysis by direct ET (DET) or mediated ET (MET). This includes the design electrode surface with pyrene moieties/mediator for directing orientation of biocatalysts on electrode surfaces. 3) Bioelectrosynthetic CO2 capture with electrochemical systems exploiting UAA-FDH H. For this, the prepared UAA containing Mo-FDH based biocathodes will be coupled with a hydrogenase bioanode to provide a complete enzymatic biofuel cell (EBFC) producing formate (HCOO− )and simultaneously producing electrical energy from molecular hydrogen (H2) and CO2.
The project will be conducted in 3 work packages associated with research objectives. An UAA will be introduced to FDH H for the first time, yielding an approach for site-specific functionalization of complex metalloenzymes with this project. The proposed technology is highly attractive because it presents a promising solution to tackle global climate issues and energy concerns by providing improved green conversion of CO2 to chemical fuels.
This project will be undertaken within the group of Professor Ross Milton (University of Geneva, Switzerland) and a secondment of two months is planned with Prof. Jason Chin (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK) in order to develop skills in UAA incorporation.


Net EU contribution
€ 191 149,44
1211 Geneve

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Genève
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 191 149,44