Department of Chemistry

Werner Siemens-Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology

Prof. Dr. Thomas Brück

The implementation of electrochemical Power-to-X (PtX) processes is seen as an essential step towards decarbonization of the mobility and chemical sector. However, these technologies are at least CO2 neutral or even consuming only if sustainable wind and solar power is available. During the so-called "dark ages" when neither wind is blowing nor the sun is shining, PtX processes, on the other hand, have to operate or shut down 81% of their operations with electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy.

The Werner Siemens Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology (WSSB) is therefore working on new plant concepts that enable continuous operation of PtX processes through synergistic integration of biotechnological processes. In this context, WSSB has had initial success with the algae-mediated conversion of CO2 and biogenic H2 into high-energy aviation fuels. In this field, WSSB has been cooperating with the Chair of Biochemical Engineering (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Weuster-Botz) for many years. In the future, this technology is to be supplemented by synergistic processes such as syngas fermentation. The latter process biotechnologically converts CO2 and "green" hydrogen into low-molecular substances (e.g. ethanol, acetic acid), which, however, are not suitable for modern, high-energy fuel solutions. Therefore, syngas products need to be refined in a further biocatalytic step, such as the conversion of acetic acid into yeast oil, which was developed by WSSB, for the subsequent synthesis of biodiesel.

In this field, WSSB is globally visible and uses synergies with the chairs of Technical Chemistry I (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hinrichsen) and II (Prof. Dr. Lercher) or Bioprocess Engineering. In order to avoid this refinement step in the future, WSSB is working on the identification of new, extremophilic cell factories that convert syngas directly into high-energy products.

Website: Research at WSSB
Contact: Prof. Dr. Thomas Brück


Contact Person

Dr. Daniel Garbe

Tel.: +49 (89) 289 13251