Ghent university and Bayer partner to improve soil health on farms

Monsanto Blog, 19 July 2016

prof. dr. ir. Rabaey Korneel

Direct conversion of CO2 into useful chemicals via microbial electrosynthesis, an efficient and cost-effective strategy for bioproduction

New bioproduction routes utilizing microorganisms mostly focus on biomass-based production. These processes such as bio-ethanol production offer an alternative for fossil fuel based production, but require a considerable input of water, nutrients and arable land. CO2, being available in plenty, is considered to be a key and cheap feedstock for biochemical production. Our approach, microbial electrosynthesis, allows the direct conversion of CO2 into valuable biochemicals, such as acetate, using electricity and electro-active carbon fixating bacteria. It eliminates several of the limitations associated with conventional and algal bioproduction routes. The bioproduction in the bioelectrochemical system is then coupled to the extraction of the product through a membrane to enable in situ production and extraction, using electricity as driving force.

The coupling of the direct conversion of CO2 to the desired product and the simultaneous electrochemical extraction is an efficient and cost-effective strategy for bioproduction, which does not require arable land and uses sustainable, surplus electricity as energy source.