Natural and Synthetic Microbial Communities for Sustainable Production of Optimised Biogas (MICRO4BIOGAS)

Anaerobic digestion (AD) of organic matter is a robust technology, used for biogas synthesis from different types of waste (sewage sludge from water treatment, animal slurry, bio-waste, etc.). The main goal of AD is the production of methane, a renewable energy source that can be used to generate electricity, heat or as vehicle fuel. Biogas is a mixture of methane (CH4; 55–70% of the total volume), carbon dioxide (CO2; 30–40%) and traces of other gases. In 2018, EU was the world’s largest producer of biomethane, reaching 2,28 bcm. However, from a purely engineering view, the microbial process underlying methane production is considered to be a black box: it is subjected to a degree of variability and it is an industrial process with a lot of room for improvement in the systematic optimisation of (1) yield, (2) quality, (3) speed and (4) robustness of the process.

MICRO4BIOGAS aims to tackle these 4 aspects by integrating, for the first time, the use of microbial consortia that naturally inhabit anaerobic digesters with synthetic microbial consortia with improved capabilities, setting the basis for a user-friendly kit for bioaugmentation of biogas production (activities will be implemented at TRL3 with a TRL target of 5-6).

Partners from 6 EU countries will work side by side to make a difference in the European biogas industry, that individually could not be achieved. By improving the biogas production in Europe, this project meets the EU Bioeconomy Strategy and the European Green Deal, helping to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG7: Affordable and clean energy; SDG13: Climate Action) and working towards the circularity, resource efficiency and sustainability of European countries.

Role of DRAXIS:

DRAXIS will contribute to the preparation of an integrated roadmap of biogas-associated microbiomes. In addition, DRAXIS will be responsible for conducting the Life Cycle Assessment, the Social Life Cycle Assessment and the Techno-economic assessment of the project. The studies will be performed building upon existing and ongoing LCA activities on the process of anaerobic digestion.

This project is funded by the H2020 Framework Programme of the European Union