Electrifying bacteria with graphene to enhance microbial electro-fuels production from CO2
Research Project , 2017 – 2018

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.

Participants

Nikolaos Xafenias (contact)

Forskare vid Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Andrea Fazi

Projektassistent vid Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Jie Sun

Docent vid Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Quantum Device Physics

Funding

ÅForsk (Ångpanneföreningens Foundation for Research and Development)

Funding Chalmers participation during 2017–2018 with 470,000.00 SEK

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces

Energy

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering

Areas of Advance

Nanofabrication Laboratory

Infrastructure

Materials Science

Areas of Advance

More information

Latest update

2018-02-28