“They employed greenhouse gas as a raw material for producing plastics. To perform this, they initially produced formic acid and methanol from CO2, which were later converted into building blocks for polymers and similar materials through microorganisms.
When fossil-based raw materials are burned, CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. Until now, CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere has already increased to nearly 400 parts per million (ppm), which equals 0.04%. This level was valued at 280 ppm until the mid-19th century.
The elevated level of carbon dioxide has a notable effect on the climate. From January 1st, 2021, CO2 emissions obtained from the combustion of fossil fuels have added to carbon pricing, implying that the manufacturers have to pay for their CO2 emissions. Consequently, this encouraged a greater number of companies to look for fresh solutions.
Techniques on cost reduction associated with CO2 emission pricing and CO2 emission reduction through the bio-intelligent process were under focus.
Catalytic Chemistry and Biotechnology — a Winning Combination
At present, researchers are working on techniques to overcome this issue in the EVOBIO and ShaPID projects at the Fraunhofer Institute of Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB. The project is a collaborative work involving several Fraunhofer Institutes.
Yet, this unique aspect is not only relevant to CO2-based methanol and formic acid production but also relies on the combination with biotechnology, particularly with fermentations induced by microorganisms.
In simple words, the scientists initially use the waste product CO2, which is detrimental to the climate, to generate formic acid and methanol. These components are further used to “feed” microorganisms that again produce additional products from them.
For example, these kinds of organic acids are utilized to build blocks for polymers, which is a method to generate plastics based on CO2. This technique can also be employed to form amino acids, such as animal feed or food supplements.
According to Fabarius, the novel method provides an array of advantages….”
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