Molecular machines to green industry

An EU-funded project is developing potent molecular machines that could cut the costs and environmental impact of industries as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing and energy. This could bolster EU efforts to promote cleaner industrial processes.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 9 August 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentClean technology and recycling
Industrial researchIndustrial processes & robotics
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Czechia  |  Denmark  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Spain  |  Switzerland  |  United Kingdom
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Molecular machines to green industry

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© sinhyu #164711664, 2018. Source: fotolia.com

The ROBOX consortium, involving almost 20 industrial, SME and academic partners across Europe, is bridging the gap between industry and scientific innovations that have achieved what was once thought impossible: changing the atomic structure of enzymes, the tiny biomolecular catalysts that are essential to life.

Enzymes exist everywhere in nature. They enable you to digest food and turn it into energy. And they also play a major role in many modern industries, enabling and accelerating production processes for medications, plastics, biofuels and even beer and soft drinks. But these potent catalysts of biological and chemical reactions have been hard to produce and use efficiently in commercial quantities.

ROBOX researchers are addressing this challenge by applying novel techniques to change the atomic structure of enzymes to make them more robust, powerful and suitable for a variety of processes in industry.

They are focusing on enzymes able to perform chemical reactions for the production and conversion of alcohols using oxygen from the air, with their atomic structures modified to enable them to function efficiently in industrial environments subject to extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressures.

By developing novel enzymes to power catalytic reactions in this way, ROBOX’s interdisciplinary team aims to substantially reduce the need for environmentally harmful materials in a number of industrial processes, slash energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent and lower production costs by as much as 50 percent.

Coordinated by Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands, ROBOX is supported by leading experts, as well as state-of-the-art industrial facilities in Europe. These will underpin the scaling up of engineered enzyme processes to the commercial level over the coming year, targeting applications in markets such as pharmaceuticals, nutrition, materials, and fine and specialty chemicals.

Project details

  • Project acronym: ROBOX
  • Participants: Netherlands (Coordinator), Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Czechia, Austria, Italy, UK, Denmark, Spain
  • Project N°: 635734
  • Total costs: € 11 361 956
  • EU contribution: € 8 335 255
  • Duration: April 2015 to March 2019

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