Bioenergy Production Based on an Engineered Mixotrophic Consortium for Enhanced CO2 Fixation

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Newark, Delaware
Project Term:
08/05/2021 - 08/04/2024

Technology Description:

The University of Delaware aims to develop a platform technology based on synthetic syntrophic consortia of Clostridium microbes to enable fast and efficient use of renewable carbohydrates to produce targeted metabolites as biofuels or chemicals. In this syntrophic microbial consortium, two microbial species are co-cultured, allowing the different species to divide individual bioconversion steps and reduce their individual metabolic burden. This project will achieve complete utilization of glucose substrate carbon while also using additional CO2 and electrons from H2 to generate improved yields of products such as isopropanol. The isopropanol product can serve as biofuel component or a valuable solvent with a market size of $2.65B.

Potential Impact:

The application of biology to sustainable uses of waste carbon resources for the generation of energy, intermediates, and final products---i.e., supplanting the “bioeconomy”—provides economic, environmental, social, and national security benefits and offers a promising means of carbon management.


If successful, the new technologies are expected to catalyze new conversion platforms for biofuels and other high-volume bioproducts that are capable of promoting U.S. energy security by increasing recoverable product from the same mass of feedstock through the avoidance of wasting carbon in the form of CO2.


This program funds cutting-edge technologies to de-risk the engineering of carbon optimized bioconversion pathways capable of generating valuable bioproducts such as sustainable aviation fuel without emission of CO2 as a waste product.


The technologies funded by this program can increase the potential bioproduct output by more than 40% without requiring another square inch of land or pound of feedstock, while catalyzing the next generation of carbon optimized bio-based manufacturing.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Steven Singer
Project Contact:
Prof. Eleftherios Terry Papoutsakis
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Project Contact Email:


Tulane University

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