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Carbon 2 Butanol, a breakthrough technology in eco-innovation that cuts GHG emissions by converting industrial waste gases into chemicals and biofuel.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - C2B (Carbon 2 Butanol, a breakthrough technology in eco-innovation that cuts GHG emissions byconverting industrial waste gases into chemicals and biofuel.)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-04-30

Due to the increasing dependence on fossil fuels to meet our energy needs during the last few decades, the release of the greenhouse gas (GHG) CO2 has increased exponentially. Approximately 36 billion tons of carbon in the form of CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere in 2014 , and this trend is increasing every year. No significant change is foreseen in the coming years in terms of the source of this energy, and fossil fuel will remain the major source for fulfilling this energy requirement.

Climate change due to excessive CO2 levels is the most serious problem mankind has ever faced. This is causing abrupt weather patterns such a flood and drought, and we already witnessed this in recent years. CO2 emissions need to be urgently reduced and new carbon capture technologies are poised to offer a significant contribution. Capture and conversion of CO2 to fine commodity chemicals is one of the best ways to tackle the challenges of environment and energy together.

C2B is a novel microbially-mediated process that captures large amounts of CO2 from industrial plants and converts it into products in a commercial setting such as n-butanol, PHA bioplastics, and many other chemicals. C2B process is based on Oakbio’s proprietary microbial strain, which uses CO2 from any flue gas and hydrogen (H2) as a feedstock to produce chemicals. Oakbio’s microbial strain grows in a standard fermenter that can be located next to the flue stack of the factories (cement plants, power plants and refineries). It can capture flue gas directly at the point source with minimal retrofitting. This will allow such factories to cut 70% of their direct GHG emissions, while the chemicals manufacturing adds a significant revenue stream to their bottom line: Oakbio estimates a return of more than €25 per t/CO2 captured.
The main achievements reported in the study included:
- The identification of PHA as first output to be produced by the system. Oakbio compared the economics and technology readiness level of C2B in regards to PHA bioplastic, n-butanol and animal feed. The definition of the overall business cases for the three applications showed a higher technology and market readiness and significantly stronger growth potential in Europe for PHA. Oakbio has therefore decided to focus the development of C2B on the PHA production, calibrating the SME Instrument Phase 2 application accordingly.
- An analysis of the latest regulatory trends in Europe for GHG reduction and carbon capture technologies. This also included the analysis of the EU regulatory framework affecting the manufacture of large bioreactors, in particular the ATEX Directive, which covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
- An IP landscape analysis to ensure Oakbio’s freedom to operate in Europe. Also, the assessment of the main risks (technical and business) that C2B’s implementation will be likely to face in the two-years-project.
- The definition of a workplan for the development of the C2B pilot plant and for its demonstration with the industrial partner. In this regard, Oakbio has had conversations with CMOs, industrial plants, biotech hubs and research facilities such as BIO Base Europe Pilot Plant and Wroclaw Technology Park, which was eventually selected as base for the Phase 2 project. Oakbio Ltd is a UK based company with offices in London. We deemed it crucial to move our future operations to areas with easier and more affordable access to incentives, high-level labs and scaling-up capacities is easier and less costly. We have therefore drafted a list of hubs and incubators geared toward biotech startups, and assessed the best location for operations according to the following 3 criteria: ease of scaling-up, access to high-level labs and talent, a strong business environment. The Wroclaw Technology Park met all selection criteria. Wrocław Technology Park is currently a place of operation for over 200 companies from the highly-specialized technology sector and a workplace for over 1600 employees of these companies. A group of 12 laboratories and prototyping facilities with world-class equipment, the Technological Line which is unique on the scale of the country, a modern office area, investment plots and the Nowa Siódemka production and storage hall – all this will be at the disposal of Oakbio for the duration of the Innovation Project.
Cost-effective CCU technologies as C2B represent new tools for Europe to achieve its medium and long-term climate objectives while maximising societal benefits and economic prosperity as addressed in the 2016-2017 Work Programme for Climate Action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials. The EU is committed to pursuing policies which are consistent with the overall political objective of keeping the global mean temperature increase below 2°C. The EU has confirmed its target to achieve domestic emissions reduction of at least 40% by 2030. Furthermore, based on the 'Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050', pursuing a deep decarbonisation pathway will require at least an 80% reduction of domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050 (compared to 1990). A socio-economic transformation of this scale will require a paradigm shift and will have massive spill-over effects across the whole of European industry. C2B is ready to anticipate this shift, providing large CO2 emitters with a new path to sustainability and clean growth.