b.fab GmbH received the official letter for project funding from BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) at the end of February as part of the call CO2-WIN. The project “TRANSFORMATE” coordinated by b.fab has set the goal to convert CO2 emissions from industrial parks into valuable biopolymers. In addition to b.fab, the project consortium includes a total of 7 project partners from academia and industry: Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, University Stuttgart, Ertel IonStream UG, YNCORIS GmbH & Co. KG and Dechema e.V.. The project runs for 3 years from 01.03.2020 to 28.02.2023.
The objective of the project is the recycling of CO2 exhaust gases from industrial parks into valuable, biodegradable and stable bioplastics. For this purpose, a novel combination of electrochemical conversion and biotechnology is chosen. In the first step, CO2 is converted into formic acid in an electrolyzer, and then converted into bioplastics in a second step by means of bacteria. Target products are polyhydroxy butyric acid (PHB) and crotonic acid. The project consortium covers the entire value chain and brings together high-ranking academic institutes such as the Max Planck Institutes in Potsdam and the University Stuttgart with proven industry experts. At the end of the project, an integrated process with an electrolyzer and bioreactor on a laboratory scale is expected to be operational, and thus being able to produce the two target molecules directly from CO2. The project serves as a preparation for further industrialization of the process, which is already being addressed in the project. The work is accompanied by a comprehensive life-cycle-analysis (LCA) and a technical-economic evaluation (TEA) of the process.