11 February 2019

Researchers win award to develop high-pressure gas fermentation

The award gives researchers the chance to bridge the knowledge and technology gap in high-pressure gas fermentation.

Dr Tuck Seng Wong

Dr Tuck Seng Wong and his research group have been awarded the Business Interaction Vouchers to address the knowledge and technology gap in high-pressure gas fermentation.

The research group has been awarded the Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) from C1net to address the knowledge and technology gap in high-pressure gas fermentation, using Cupriavidus necator H16 to produce bioplastic (polyhydroxyalkanoate, PHA) as model system.  The BIV has been jointly awarded with HEL Ltd

The awards are aimed to encourage and support collaboration between academic partners and industrial partners within the C1net framework.

"This exciting collaboration has brought us one step closer to utilizing CO2 for biomanufacturing. I am pleased that Sheffield will be continuing working closely with HEL Ltd to realise a low-carbon bioeconomy."

Dr Tuck Seng Wong

Microorganisms can convert gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable chemicals in a process known as gas fermentation. By using abundantly available CO2 as carbon feedstock, this biological CO2 capture and utilization can break our dependence on fossil fuels as we move towards a low-carbon economy.

This project combines the expertise of microbial biomanufacturing at Sheffield and process safety and control in high-pressure reaction system at HEL Ltd. 

The team will continue to develop this high-pressure gas fermentation technology with significant outcomes expected:

  • Safety of high-pressure gas fermentation can be achieved by maintaining a gas composition outside the gas explosion limit.
  • Elevated pressure increases gas solubility during fermentation.
  • Increasing gas pressure from 1 bar to 3 bar during autotrophic cultivation increases the growth rate of C. necator H16.
  • The baro-tolerance limit of C. necator H16 is 4 bar.
  • C. necator H16 produces PHA under 3-bar gas fermentation.
  • HEL’s BioXplorer 400P is ideally suited for high-pressure gas fermentation of C1 organisms.