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Engineering Anaerobic Mixed Microbial Communities for Biofuels Production


A European reintegration grant is proposed to conduct a 3-year research project aiming at the development of sustainable processes for the conversion of carbohydrate rich feedstock into valuable biofuels (like hydrogen, methane, ethanol, butanol) using microorganisms in anaerobic reactors with the following two main objectives: (i) The development of trustable quantitative models to describe and control product formation from anaerobic mixed culture fermentation of glucose based on metabolic modelling and bioenergetics; (ii) The evaluation of the potential and feasibility of bioelectrochemically assisted reduction of organic acids into alcohols like ethanol and butanol by supplying power to a biocathode to facilitate the process. To achieve these objectives, experiments will be carried out together with mathematical modelling integrating fermentation bioenergetics and bioelectrochemical systems. Research results in this area can largely contribute to energy independence from fossil fuels in Europe by progressing towards the feasible large scale production of biofuels from abundant carbohydrate feedstock using open mixed microbial cultures and therefore avoiding sterilisation through the process. The applicant researcher has an excellent track record on mathematical modelling of anaerobic fermentations and of bioelectrochemical systems. These skills will enable the integration of both modelling approaches and its combination with experimental work. The project will be conducted in the Group of Environmental Engineering and Bioprocesses (GEEB) at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) by the researcher and an assistant funded by this grant. The grant will highly benefit the researcher’s career by providing him with very valuable funding to develop his own research ideas, manage a project and supervise a student, all fundamental skills in a researcher focused career. The reintegration grant will also act as incentive for his permanent employment by the host.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/organic acids
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/biofuels
  • /engineering and technology/industrial biotechnology/bioprocessing technologies/fermentation
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/geological engineering
  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/employment
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/alcohols
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-ERG - European Re-integration Grants (ERG)


Colexio De San Xerome Praza Do Obradoiro S/n
15782 Santiago De Compostela
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 45 000
Administrative Contact
Fernando Sedano Arnaez (Dr.)