PYROCO2 is a 5-year Horizon Europe project addressing the Green Deal call LC-GD-1-2020- Closing the industrial cycle to combat climate change - Industrial feasibility of catalytic routes for sustainable alternatives to fossil resources. With 20 partners spanning 11 countries and a budget of 43 MEuros (4.28 MEuros allocated to NORCE), leading universities and research institutes are working closely with industry to demonstrate the scalability and economic viability of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) to make platform chemicals for the chemicals, fuel additives, and materials markets. The aim is to produce climate-positive acetone from industrial CO2 and renewable H2. Acetone is an important platform chemical used for synthesis of compounds in products including packing material, tires and many more that are all important for all aspects of modern life. Globally, more than 6 million tons of acetone are produced annually, the majority by the petrochemical industry.

The PYROCO2 project is lead by SINTEF, with NORCE playing a major role, with the Industrial Biotechnology group co-leading WP2: From Feedstock to Acetone: Bioprocess Development & Optimisation. The IB group in Stavanger is focused on developing sustainable industrial processes for the production of chemicals and bio-based products by developing processes for converting low value compounds into high value products, for example using greenhouse gasses or industrial waste or by-products to produce high quality protein, lipids, or platform chemicals through microbial fermentation. The group’s key expertise is in developing processes from lab to pilot scale, thereby bridging the gap between R&D and industrial production plants. The main role of the Industrial Biotechnology group in PYROCO2 is to design and optimise a two-step fermentation process (i.e., the conversion of CO2 and H2 to acetate followed by the conversion of acetate to acetone) with the partners, and scale up to a demo scale. This will be done by developing a kinetic model based on laboratory-scale fermentation experimental results, and the model being tested, refined and validated by comparing predictions with data obtained from intermediate scale fermentations. The refined model will be used when developing the fermentation strategy through sequential steps from lab scale to near-industrial scale. Key steps in this process will be to balance the activity of the two microbial processes for maximum production efficiency; designing a semi-circular fermentation setup so a minimum amount of resources, in terms of nutrients and energy is used to obtain a maximum production of acetone, and establishing a demo-scale plant in Porsgrunn for the utilisation of 10,000 tons CO2. This project will also complement the group’s broader activities to establish the Risavika site for the NFR-funded Norwegian Bioprocessing and Fermentation Centre (NBioC).


Catherine Boccadoro

Chief Scientist - Stavanger
+47 51 87 54 93
+47 473 31 738

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16.09.22 - 16.09.27

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