Co2Smos aims to develop breakthrough
and cost-effective routes

to produce high added-value bio-based chemicals from bio-based industrial CO2 emissions (especially focused on biogenic CO2) and renewable sources (green H2 and biomass), by means of a solution that combines innovative biotechnological and intensified chemical conversion processes. The project will tackle the development and optimisation of a CO2 conversion technological toolbox allowing production of seven added-value chemicals and polymers from the primary conversion of CO2 into two platform bulk chemicals (syngas and acetate). The proposed technologies will be tested and validated from lab to pilot scale, and the obtained molecules will be validated into final applications for the formulation of high-performance biopolymers renewable chemicals.


Industrial fermentation plants for the production of bio-based products, renewable chemicals, food and beverage, bioethanol and biorefinery plants



CO2 emission generated from different industrial sources such as fermentation processes in bio-based industries and biofuel sector, in-site anaerobic treatment plants (waste valorization, biogas plants), and other fermentation processes and solid biomass combustion

CO2 conversion tecnhologies


CO2SMOS solutions include gas/liquid fermentation–biorefinery processes, intensified electrocatalytic processes and biobased/organic catalysed processes



7 added-value chemicals and polymers: polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA, PHB), 2,3-butanediol, long chain dicarboxylic acids C16-C18, BTEX, cyclic carbonates and hydroxycarboxylic acids



Various application fields from packaging to coatings, textiles and materials for biomedical applications and high-performance biopolymer applications

Co2 Conversion Technologies

Tech 1
Gas fermentation

Anaerobic bacteria named as acetogens have been shown to ferment gases such as CO and CO2 plus H2 into chemicals (acetate, ethanol, lactate, 2,3-BDO, etc.) through the acetyl-CoA pathway. Depending on the composition of the C1 gases and particularly depending of the CO content of syngas, some bacteria can be more efficient to produce acetate. In this context, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are powerful tools to increase the acetate production and reduce the spectrum of unwanted by-products.
CO2SMOS proposes two routes to optimize the productivity of the CO2 to C2-C4 compounds:

  • Tech 1.1: Biotransformation of CO2 into acetate
  • Tech 1.2: Biotransformation of CO2 derived syngas into C2 (acetate) and C4 (2,3 BDO) compounds

Tech 2
Electrocatalytic reduction

The electrochemical conversion of CO2 to syngas must compete with syngas from fossil sources, which is yet abundant and can be converted using highly optimised industrial processes. Thus, it is critical to achieve high efficiencies in the electrochemical route. CO2SMOS proposes:

  • Tech 2.1: Electrocatalytic reactor for direct syngas production from CO2 and H2O
  • Tech 2.2: PCEC for simultaneous polyols oxidation and CO2/H2O conversion into syngas and HCAs

Tech 3
Biocatalysed conversion

The proposed technology based on heterogeneous and reusable organic catalysts will lead to 100% bio-based cyclic carbonates, serving as potential building blocks in the synthesis of bio-based polycarbonates. Potentially, CO2 can be used as an interesting bio-based building block in preparing aliphatic polycarbonates, which has good biodegradability and biocompatibility, with low carbon footprints. CO2SMOS will combine different bio-based epoxides derived from terpenes or fatty acid esters coming from biomass with metals to provide heterogeneous catalysts with different structures, tuned functionalities and pore diameters. These developed reusable organic catalysts will be tested in the thermocatalytic conversion using CO2 as reagent, leading to the synthesis of new bio-polymers.

Tech 4
Liquid fermentation

The CO2-derived bio-acetate produced in the first stage (Tech1) can be used as carbon source by many microorganisms and compete with traditional carbon sources (glucose, sucrose, starch) for industrial fermentations. CO2SMOS proposes the use of CO2-derived acetate as a key-starting material to be transformed in a second stage by means of aerobic liquid-phase fermentations into high added-value chemicals. Further assistance by synthetic biology tools will enable increasing the efficiency of acetate transformation by modifying wild type strains. Mcl-PHA and PHB will be produced by genetically engineered P. putida and C. necator, respectively. LcDCAs will be generated by recombinant Y. lipolytica and 2,3-BDO will be produced by recombinant E. coli. After completing each of the different fermentation processes, it will be necessary to carry out the DSP to obtain high purity added-value chemicals for further transformation.

Tech 5
Catalytic conversion

Direct conversion of syngas to BTEX and PX will be conducted in a CMR combining catalytic conversion of syngas to BTEX with a ceramic membrane-based separation. The reaction will take place in presence of a tandem catalyst combining metallic oxides to produce specific intermediates from syngas with a zeolite to in-situ transform, via acid catalysis, the intermediates into aromatics. Over the metallic sites, CO and H2 will form methoxy intermediates that diffuse to the acid sites within the pores of the zeolite. Inside this pore system, these intermediates will first form olefins. The zeolite composition, topology and surface chemistry will be adjusted to drive the product distribution towards the aimed aromatics, while minimising undesired methanation and coking. As a result of the CO reduction, lots of water will form in the reactor. By means of a SEOS, the formed water will split into H2 and oxide ions (O2-), and the latter will be extracted. Extraction of O2- will have a double effect: (i) the subtraction of a reaction product shifts the equilibrium favouring the formation of more product, and (ii) the H2 formed by water deoxygenation is a reaction substrate, that will push the reduction of CO. The SEOS will be a dense ceramic solid-oxide electrolyte able to pump oxide ions from one side to the other when a current is applied. The inner surface of the electrolyte will promote water splitting and avoid coking or methanation, providing protection against reduction.


Goals for 2025

Development of breakthrough technologies for the conversion of CO2 into high added-value chemicals

Design of an integrated process with zero or negative greenhouse gas emissions

New business models and value chains in the CO2 utilization sector

Definition of targets of the conversion process including energy requirements, production costs and product yields

Diversification of the economic base of bio-based industries

Good challenges are
the most difficult ones



Preparatory activities
The overall approach of CO2SMOS starts with a set of activities: the identification of the value chains and KPIs, the mapping of CO2 emissions and preparatory actions for the CO2 conversion processes, the identification and characterisation of the most suitable biomass material/waste to be used for the organic-based catalyst, and the engineering of microorganisms that will optimise the performance of the biological processes.


Optimisation of technologies at lab scale (TRL 3-4)
All 5 CO2SMOS’s technologies will be optimised and technologically validated at lab scale in partners’ facilities, improving their overall reaction and global yield (Tech 1), maximising stability and effectivity under operating conditions (Tech 2), developing new processes using renewable resources (Tech 3), and test new strategies (Tech 4 and Tech 5).


Process up-scaling and pilot plant validation (TRL 5)
In this crucial phase, the 5 CO2SMOS’s technologies tested in lab conditions will be optimised to pilot plant scale. During this process, experimental protocols will be validated and all engineering, technological data required to ensure the feasibility and reliability of CO2SMOS technologies will be produced.


Final formulation of new bio-products
The most promising formulations of biomaterials produced will be tested to determine purity, processability and commercial quality. The formulation will be tested firstly at lab scale, for the validation and qualification of intermediate CO2-based products, and secondly at pilot scale aiming at the standardization of the end-products.

Final Step

Full value chain evaluation and horizontal activities
The whole process and technologies will be validated, focusing on the full value chain evaluation. A series of horizontal activities will be performed to set a strategy to further develop CO2SMOS technologies to higher TRLs and explore the prospective for commercialisation. Such activities include the analysis of the regulatory and Health & Safety challenges, social readiness and acceptance, environmental-socio-economic aspects, market analysis and business models.

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