German researchers develop process to produce formic acid from CO2

May 25, 2023 |

In Germany, new synthetic metabolic pathways for CO2 fixation could not only help to reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere, but also replace conventional chemical manufacturing processes for pharmaceuticals and active ingredients with carbon-neutral, biological processes. A new study demonstrates a process that can turn CO2 into a valuable material for the (bio)chemical industry via formic acid.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology are using nature’s toolbox to develop new ways of CO2 fixation. They have now succeeded in developing an artificial metabolic pathway that produces the highly reactive formaldehyde from formic acid, a possible intermediate product of artificial photosynthesis. Formaldehyde could be fed directly into several metabolic pathways to form other valuable substances without any toxic effects.

As in the natural process, two primary components are required: Energy and carbon. The former can be provided not only by direct sunlight but also by electricity – for example from solar modules.

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Category: Research

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