The BioSFerA project (BIOfuels production from Syngas FERmentation for Aviation and maritime use) was launched online on April 30, 2020. This new project within the frame of the EU Horizon 2020 program is coordinated by Dr. Panagiotis Grammelis, from the Ethniko Kentro Erevnas Kai Technologikis Anaptyxis (EKETA, Thermi Thessaloniki, Greece). The Margarita Salas Center for Biological Research (CIB-CSIC) participates in this project, which is granted with a total of € 5 million, with the direction of Prof. José Luis García López, Head of the Environmental Biotechnology Group, and Dr. Jorge Barriuso Maicas, research scientist of the Biotechnology for Lignocellulosic Biomass group. The BioSFerA project is a collaboration of six academic and six industrial partners, from six European countries (Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, The Netherland, and Spain).
The aviation and shipping transport sectors are expanding fast, increasing the overall fossil fuel consumption, and affecting directly the global greenhouse gas emissions and air quality. The Paris Agreement's objectives related to climate change put aviation, along with other industries, under great pressure and environmental inspection. Thereby, the Aviation industry and IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee are committed to achieving a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 level. One solution to reduce CO2 and sulfur emissions is to substitute conventional fuels by alternative biofuels.
BioSFerA proposes a novel approach for the conversion of waste to sustainable biofuel. The project will develop a cost-effective technology that will gasify biogenic residues and waste feedstock. The syngas obtained will be first converted into acetate under anaerobic conditions using improved acetogenic bacteria, followed by a second step using metabolically engineered oleaginous yeasts to produce bio-based triacylglycerides (microbial oil). The microbial oil will be purified and hydro-treated resulting in drop-in aviation and marine biofuels. The process will be scaled-up to industrial size using appropriate models for the validation and optimization of biofuel production in terms of efficiency, financial impact, and environmental footprint.
The BioSFerA project is led by a multidisciplinary and industry-driven consortium, which addresses the market needs for aviation and marine biofuels. BioSFerA promotes a circular economy approach, and a viable alternative to reduce production costs and improve the performance of renewable fuels for aviation and shipping.
Biosfera Press Release: link.
Horizon 2020: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/884208