The CAPRA project, a three-year Catalisti-ICON project (2018-2020), aims at the development of an anaerobic biological process technology for the conversion of undistilled syngas fermentation products (ethanol and acetic acid) to a bio-oil of medium-chain carboxylic acids, that can serve as feedstock for the production of added-value chemicals with high market potential.
This project brings together three industrial partners (ArcelorMittal, OWS, Proviron) and three academic partners (CMET (Ghent University), EnVOC (Ghent University), VITO). The CAPRA project fits in with the ambition of ArcelorMittal to further valorize waste gases (syngas) produced during steel-making, into valuable products. Syngas fermentation effluent, produced via the Steelanol process at ArcelorMittal, is now only valorized via ethanol distillation, while alternative routes, possibly leading to higher value products, are possible. A biological process technology to convert syngas fermentation effluent to medium-chain carboxylic acids will be developed jointly by CMET and OWS, by focusing both on strategic basic research aspects (CMET), and process upscaling (OWS). Proviron will consequently upgrade these basic products to marketable chemicals. A life-cycle assessment (EnVOC and OWS) and techno-economic assessment (VITO) will further strengthen the research approach, and highlight the feasibility and environmental benefits of the CAPRA process technology.
The CAPRA project matches a demand from 2 industries: the steel-making industry, that is looking for opportunities to valorize waste gases, and the chemical industry, that is looking for alternative and sustainable sources of carboxylic acids as building blocks for the production of chemicals. The CAPRA project is a unique opportunity to develop the microbial technology that can fulfill this demand in a joint project between knowledge institutions and industries.