Bacterial conversion of CO2 and renewable H2 into biofuels

VITO is research partner in the European H2020 Bac-To-Fuel consortium that focuses on the bacterial conversion of CO2 and renewable H2 into biofuels. In this project, the current inefficient H2 production from water and solar light (≈0.1% energy efficiency) is upgraded by the development of new materials that boost H2 evolution at high efficiencies (≈10 %) and the demonstration of an integrated photocatalytic and electro-biocatalytic techno-economic feasible pilot system at VITO.

The first target is to obtain a cost-competitive alternative for fossil-based H2 production, that serves the transition towards low carbon, renewable energy production. Another important breakthrough is expected from the bioproduction of biofuels as a strategy for CO2 Capture and Utilization. For this pathway, genetically modified bacteria are being  developed, which are able to reduce atmospheric CO2 with photogenerated renewable hydrogen. The collaboration between leading expert groups in this field will result in the development of an enabling technology for the European Union in the fight against Climate Change. This challenging interdisciplinary project will be monitored by Dr. Maria Georgiadou (Project Officer, Brussels) with feedback from KIC-Innoenergy.

This 3 million H2020-funded project is coordinated by the University of Santiago de Compostela (ES) and includes research groups from the University of Lancaster (UK), the University of Wageningen (NL), the Technical University of Berlin (DE), NANOGAP (ES) and VITO (BE). The kick-off meeting was held on 12th February 2019 at USC, Spain. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 825999.