Electrifying bacteria with graphene to enhance microbial electro-fuels production from CO2

Electrical energy produced from renewable resources, together with CO2 produced by many industrial processes, could be used to produce fuels needed for our society and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. However, these new technologies need to be able to compete with the well-established fossil-based methods. This project is about developing advanced electrode materials modified with graphene for enhancing electrofuel production from CO2 with specialized microbial catalysts. A major drawback in this microbially-catalyzed electrofuels (MCEF) technology is the fact that many conventional electrode materials used are not optimized or suitable for microbial electrocatalysis. In this project we will test and optimize graphene electrodes which are expected to accelerate MCEF production because of graphene’s unique properties and particularly its exceptionally high conductivity, high active surface area, and mechanical robustness. Graphene is a novel material with countless future applications and also one of EU’s biggest research investments. However, the incorporation in MCEF systems has not advanced yet as existing graphene-grown methodologies do not favor biofilm growth that is needed for the microbial catalyst to function properly. This project will develop for the first time biocompatible graphene, tailor-made to accelerate the conversion of CO2 and electricity into liquid fuels (focusing on ethanol and butanol). This application is to support an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Industrial Biotechnology group and the Graphene Innovation Lab, incorporating methods primarily related to biotechnology, electrochemistry, and materials’ science and engineering. The work will be co-financed by a 3-years’ Formas-“future research leaders” grant aiming on bioelectrochemical production of alcohol fuels from CO2, and will help to produce new knowledge on the use of graphene for biological and electrochemical applications.

Start date 01/06/2017
End date The project is closed: 30/06/2018

Page manager Published: Thu 19 Jul 2018.