The project is about recuperating excess renewable electricity as useful chemical commodities, using microorganisms as catalysts. We intend to generate valuable chemicals like biofuels, animal feed, and plastic precursors using biogas as CO2 source for the microorganisms, while providing electrons from renewable-energypowered electrodes. The project is grounded on recent developments in microbial electrosynthesis and intends to find strategies for green production of useful chemicals from renewable resources, hereafter touching upon three
major legs of the NNF call: the use of biological tools for making valuable products, improvement of the production potential in microorganisms, improvement of raw/renewable material utilization.
Microbial electrosynthesis from biogas will be studied in Clostridium ljungdahlii, a versatile acetogenic bacterium.
Chemical production in Clostridium will be improved using genetic engineering, nano-engineering and removal of inhibitory by-products with the help of
microbial partners. Furthermore, C. ljungdahlii will be metabolically
engineered to produce desired value-added chemicals by implementing new metabolic pathways.
The novelty of our approach lies in nano- and genetic- engineering of Clostridium cell-surfaces to increase
electron transfer from electrodes to microorganisms; and the use of synthetic consortia to sway electron flow towards production of desired chemicals. This is the first time these methods will be used to improve conversion of biogas to valuable chemicals.
The applicant has experience with synthetic consortia, and the use nanoparticles to stimulate metabolisms. The applicant is part of a large consortium that develops strategies for biogas upgrading on the account of renewable energy. The proposed work aims to synergize biogas upgrading and biogas conversion to valuable commodities, in order to attain the chemical power plants of the future, fueled by renewable energy sources and waste products.