From CO2 to bioplastic – coupling the electrochemical CO2 reduction with a microbial product generation by drop‐in electrolysis

Markus Stöckl, Svenja Harms, Ida Dinges, Steliyana Dimitrova, Dirk Holtmann

ChemSusChem, 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.202001235

Abstract

CO2 has been electrochemically reduced to the intermediate formate, which was subsequently used as sole substrate for the production of the polymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) by the microorganism Cupriavidus necator . Faradaic efficiencies (FE) up to 54% have been reached with Sn‐based gas diffusion electrodes in physiological electrolyte. The formate containing electrolyte can be used directly as drop‐in solution in the following biological polymer production by resting cells. 56 mg PHB L ‐1 and a ratio of 34% PHB per cell dry weight were achieved. The calculated overall FE for the process was as high as 4%. The direct use of the electrolyte as drop‐in media in the bioconversion enables simplified processes with a minimum of intermediate purification effort. Thus, an optimal coupling between electrochemical and biotechnological processes can be realized.

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