Towards a "Net Zero" Future - New EraCoBioTech2018 (BBSRC) Project Unveiled at SBRC-Nottingham

Developing sustainable fuels and platform chemicals from greenhouse gases is the focus of Senior Researcher Dr Chris Humphreys at the SBRC-Nottingham.  Based in the University of Nottingham Biodiscovery Institute, Chris’ new research project "SynConsor4Butanol" is funded by ERACoBioTech (BBSRC) and makes use of his expertise with Acetogenic bacteria to recycle waste Carbon gases.

The "SynConsor4Butanol" grant is worth €1,317,000 and will run Sept 2020 – Aug 2023 and was written by Minton NP, Humphreys CM (Nottingham), Soucaille P (Toulouse), Liebl W (Munich), Banyeras L (Girona) and BASF.  

Dr Humphreys, who will lead the laboratory work explains "One of the greatest challenges facing society is the future sustainable production of chemicals and fuels from non-petrochemical resources while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cellulosic feedstocks present in lignocellulosic plant biomass or in waste-paper and cardboard represent the largest source of renewable carbon on the planet, however current conversion processes inherently release a significant proportion of this carbon into the atmosphere as CO2, and therefore achieve relatively low yields of value-added product.

"In this project, SynConsor4Butanol, we will engineer synthetic bacterial consortia to convert, without net CO2 production, the cellulosic fraction lignocellulosic materials to the platform chemical and biofuel, n-butanol. With industrial collaboration this will lead to the development of new "CO2 free" sustainable production and conversion processes based on lignocellulosic feedstocks.

"SynConsor4Butanol connects research partners in four different countries (Germany, UK, Spain, and France) with varied but complementary scientific and technological expertise. Our role in the SBRC will be the engineering and development of the acetogenic chassis C. carboxidivorans to capture and convert the CO2 and H2 produced by other members of the bacterial consortia, into a metabolite which can be reassimilated by the non-acetogenic species. This will increase the overall yield of n-butanol in the process to values close to the theorical maximum." 


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