Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ENGICOIN (Engineered microbial factories for CO2 exploitation in an integrated waste treatment platform)
Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-09-30
• Microbial Factory 1 is reliant on the photosynthetic microorganism Synechocystis which uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce lactic acid
• Microbial Factory 2 is reliant on a facultative chemo-litho-autotrophic bacterium, Cupriavidus Necator, which converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced by water electrolysis into polyhydroxyalkanoates, which are biodegradable and biocompatible thermoplastics
• Microbial Factory 3 is reliant on the acetogen of the genus Clostridium, Acetobacterium woodii, to produce Acetone, which converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen into acetone, which is mainly used as a solvent in products manufacturing.
Currently, the project is in the first phase of R&D development which is mainly focused on microbial chassis design and improvement. In-fact, to make the production competitive on a market scale ENGICOIN is working on microorganism modification to increase CO2 capture and conversion ability. Synthetic and systems biology studies are ongoing to increase the CO2 uptake as substrate as well as its fast and selective transformation into the desired products or to facilitate product extraction. At the same time, a new PEM electrolyser for H2 production and integration with MF2 and MF3 is under development. All these R&D activities are running in accordance with the original plan. Moreover, in view of the final in field validation (phase 3), the basic site preparation activities have been carried out including the design of the validation site and experimental campaign as well as the feedstocks and services distribution lines deployment and the development of protocols to extract organic substrates from the AD digestate which will be utilized as complementary carbon substrates for the Microbial Factories.
Moreover, coupling ENGICOIN technologies and processes for CO2 capture and conversion into value-added chemicals with waste treatment platform defines an ecologically and economically sustainable strategy. The project is developing a win-win condition perfectly matching with Circular Economy principles and aiming at the demonstration of a “near to zero waste biorefinery”.