Development of biofilm-based fermentation technologies for carbon capture and utilization

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Environmental microorganism biotechnology
    • Environmental technologies
    • Fermentation
    • Industrial microbiology
fermentation technologies
Project description

Carbon dioxide is the main anthropogenic greenhouse gas, contributing substantially to pressing environmental issues such as global warming and ocean acidification. Half of the Flemish carbon dioxide emissions are emitted by large point sources, which form an attractive opportunity for carbon capture and utilization (CCU). CCU aims at converting carbon-containing gases to added value products, thereby preventing their emission to the atmosphere. This project focusses on understanding the drivers for biofilm formation in homoacetogens, their underlying mechanisms and the development of strategies to maximize their activity with the ultimate goal of developing biofilm-based processes for CCU. To that end, we will study two possible microbial CCU routes, namely the direct fermentation of carbon-containing gases, and the indirect conversion of carbon-containing gases to methanol followed by methanol fermentation. In a first part, we will investigate the drivers for biofilm formation by homoacetogens and their underlying mechanisms, which is cornerstone to precisely control and tune biofilm attachment. In a second part, we will characterize the activity of biofilms in high-rate bioproduction systems and design biofilm management strategies using modelling tools to maximize biofilm activity. Finally, we will validate the developed principles at lab-scale. In doing so, we aim to pave the road for homoacetogenic biofilm-based production processes using carbon dioxide as a feedstock.