Biotechnological utilization of CO2

Converting carbon dioxide into biomass or directly into valuable materials using microorganisms – was the objective of our research cooperation with the biotechnology company BRAIN. The aim was to breed microorganisms and use them to explore innovative methods for CO2 conversion and synthesis. The CO2-containing flue gases from lignite-fired power stations are to be the "feed" for these "designer microorganisms".

BRAIN is a leading company in white biotechnology and has access to previously unknown microorganisms and to millions of novel enzymes and synthesis pathways. Based on this "toolbox of nature", synthetic biotechnologies permit the design of microorganisms for developing novel pathways toward products and materials made of CO2. Our partnership developed and researched these novel microorganisms. This research is aimed at developing microorganisms that bind more CO2 more efficiently than their predecessors thanks to new and optimised metabolism pathways ("pathway engineering").

Ultimately, biomass and industrially usable products emerge, like new biomaterials, bioplastics and interim chemical products, for which possible applications are being investigated, e.g. as construction and insulation material and in the production of fine and specialised chemicals as well as also bulk chemicals. Apart from R&D activities at BRAIN in Zwingenberg, trials were also run at the Coal Innovation Centre in order to examine the growth behaviour of microorganisms in the original lignite flue gas.