RWE Power, BRAIN join forces in white biotech: co-operation on CO2 as raw material for new products

06-Jan-2010 - Germany

To convert carbon dioxide into microbial biomass or biomolecules: such is the goal of co-operative research agreed between RWE Power and BRAIN AG. The power generator and the biotech company want to equip micro-organisms” with new enzymes and explore innovative synthesis routes and pathways. Flue gas, rich in CO2 from a lignite-fired power station, feeds these designer micro-organisms. The process creates biomass and industrial products such as new biomaterials, bioplastics and chemical by-products. Possible applications, now being explored, include building and isolation materials and the production of fine and specialty chemicals. An experimental plant is to be located at RWE Power's Coal Innovation Centre, at its Niederaussem power plant site.

"Our search for biotechnological solutions to CO2 conversion proves a point: we have the energy to lead in climate conservation," declares Dr. Johannes Lambertz, CEO at RWE Power. "Our goal is constant expansion of our range in this field. As well as reducing and storing carbon dioxide, we want to develop further intelligent uses. Quite deliberately, we are combining what we know about power generation with the expertise of specialist companies such as BRAIN. We want to find as many different solutions as possible," adds Lambertz.

"The targeted use of 'nature's toolbox' is making many industrial processes more effective, environmentally compatible and more sustainable. White biotech is a pointer to the industry of the future, which will conserve the environment and its resources," notes Dr Holger Zinke, co-founder and executive chairman of BRAIN.

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