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

Objective

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.

Call for proposal

H2020-LCE-2016-2017

See other projects for this call

Sub call

H2020-LCE-2017-RES-RIA-TwoStage

Coordinator

IN SRL IMPRESA SOCIALE
Net EU contribution
€ 285 825,18
Address
Via Carducci 9a
33100 Udine
Italy

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Region
Nord-Est Friuli-Venezia Giulia Udine
Activity type
Other
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (14)

UNIVERSITY OF STUTTGART
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 342 279,91
Address
Keplerstrasse 7
70174 Stuttgart

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Region
Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart Stuttgart, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
UNIVERSIDAD DE ALICANTE
Spain
Net EU contribution
€ 295 360,51
Address
Campus De San Vicente Raspeig
03690 Alicante

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Region
Este Comunitat Valenciana Alicante/Alacant
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
SINTEF AS
Norway
Net EU contribution
€ 345 394,63
Address
Strindvegen 4
7034 Trondheim

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Region
Norge Trøndelag Trøndelag
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
France
Net EU contribution
€ 345 182,46
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15

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Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE
Israel
Net EU contribution
€ 149 174,30
Address
Herzl Street 234
7610001 Rehovot

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 346 671,35
Address
South Kensington Campus Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London

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Region
London Inner London — West Westminster
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
ALTAR
France
Net EU contribution
€ 489 596,88
Address
5 Rue Henri Desbrueres Bio Cluster Genopole Campus
91030 Evry

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Essonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
GLOBAL BIOENERGIES
France
Net EU contribution
€ 157 395,10
Address
5 Rue Henri Desbrueres
91000 Evry

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Essonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
C3 BIO-TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 147 902,91
Address
20 Mannin Way Lancaster Business Park Caton Road
LA1 3SW Lancaster Lancastershire

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
North West (England) Lancashire Lancaster and Wyre
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
ARCELORMITTAL BELGIUM NV
Belgium
Net EU contribution
€ 154 810,80
Address
Keizerinlaan 66
1000 Brussel

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Region
Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
IFEU - INSTITUT FUR ENERGIE- UND UMWELTFORSCHUNG HEIDELBERG GGMBH
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 197 368,36
Address
Wilckensstrasse 3
69120 Heidelberg

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe Heidelberg, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
BIOFACTION KG
Austria
Net EU contribution
€ 305 210,43
Address
Kundmanngasse 39/12
1030 Wien

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Wien Wien
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 465 034,68
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munchen

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
B.FAB GMBH
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 90 000,00
Address
Carlo-schmid-allee 5
44263 Dortmund

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Arnsberg Dortmund, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00