Syngas Fermentation

Developing efficient syngas fermentation using bacterial platforms

The main aims of AMBITION’s syngas fermentation work are:

  • Development of molecular tools and introducing synthetic pathways for engineering M. thermoacetica for efficient 1-butanol production
  • Evolutionary engineering for increasing the recombinant M. thermoacetica resistance towards acetate and 1-butanol
  • Development of a complementary syngas fermentation platform towards butyric acid production for further integration with enzymatic 1-butanol esterification for producing butyl putyrate
  • Design bioreactors that resolve the challenges of mass transfer limitations

Acteogenic bacteria have the capability of converting simple inorganic substrates such as CO, H2 and CO2 into acetic acid and a range of other compounds. Very few anaerobic CO2 fermenting bacteria are able to produce traceable amounts of 1-butanol.


AMBITION focuses on engineering thermophilic acetogens, enabling production of 1-butanol, and using mesophilic carboxydotrophs for producing butyric acid for further enzymatic esterification of both syngas-derived bioproducts to butyl butyrate:

  • DTU, as leader of AMBITION’s studies into syngas fermentation, will conduct the enegineering of the thermophilic acetogens.
  • LNEG will carry out the optimization of the complementary syngas fermentation route, focusing butyric acid, and will explore the use of mixed cultures.
  • SINTEF will be involved in the enzymatic esterification of 1-butanol and buyrate to form butylbutyrate and assess how mass transfer limitations in the fermentations can be resolved through bioreactor design.  SINTEF will also estimate the cost effects of improved reactor design.
  • CENER will perform the integration of the syngas fermentation routes and perform the upscaling of the bioprocesses.
  • ENEA & CENER will model both syngas fermentation routes and perform life cycle analysis (LCA) after receiving the data input from pilot-scale fermentation studies.

Work Package Leader

Lead Scientist