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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X025853/1
Title: SynBioCO2 - A synthetic biology platform for biomanufacturing with carbon dioxide
Principal Investigator: Tee, Dr K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
HEL Limited
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 December 2023 Ends: 30 November 2026 Value (£): 355,733
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 May 2023 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 and 4 May 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The global trend towards more sustainable development has encouraged the use of biomass as a renewable feedstock. Biomass is now used to produce biofuels for energy, proteins and nucleic acids as therapeutics, enzymes for biocatalysis, and these are on top of its applications in food and food ingredient manufacturing. While biomass is more sustainable than fossil fuel, biomass supply is limited. Recognizing this, the government is planning to publish its Biomass Strategy in 2022 to review the amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK. Prior to this, the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the Biomass Policy Statement in Nov 2021 to set out the government's key principles for a biomass priority use framework. This prioritization clearly signals limited biomass supply and its logistics as key challenges for manufacturing. We have seen how over-reliance on a single resource (e.g., fossil fuel) can lead to depletion and how geopolitical factors can influence resource accessibility (e.g., COVID vaccines and Ukraine war on gas), both of which push prices up for essential needs. It is thus critical that we broaden our feedstock options by (1) moving away from virgin biomass to explore waste biomass and (2) identifying alternative sustainable feedstock that can be used for biomanufacturing.

This project focuses on the use of carbon dioxide in air as an alternative sustainable feedstock in biomanufacturing. We will engineer and optimize a carbon dioxide utilizing microorganism that converts carbon dioxide in air into polyhydroxyalkanoate, a biobased and biodegradable plastic. Development of this technology will benefit the sustainable growth of the UK bioeconomy, a sector worth £220bn in 2014 and expected to reach £440bn in 2030 according to the UK Bioeconomy Strategy. It will also allow us to tap into the value of carbon dioxide, a highly accessible but insufficiently explored resource.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk