Converting CO2 and electricity to protein




Greater Copenhagen area

The purpose of this project is to investigate the integration of solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) and the U-loop technology. By combining these two technologies, it is possible to convert a carbonaceous gas such as CO2 to protein by using electricity in the SOEC. The U-Loop fermenting technology patented by Unibio A/S enables efficient conversion of methane to protein, which can be used as animal feedstock. The U-Loop protein production emits CO2 and water, which can be fed to the SOEC. The SOEC uses electricity to convert CO2 and H2O to CO and H2, but also directly to methane (CH4) at higher operating pressures. By operating the SOC stacks in the right manner pure oxygen or oxygen enriched air is produced simultaneously. Oxygen or enriched air is needed by the U-Loop fermentor. The integration between SOEC’s and the U-Loop fermenting technology is illustrated in the figure.

The project work includes building a thermodynamic model of the U-Loop process and connecting it with an existing model of an SOEC. The system is then optimized with respect to energy efficiency and costs, and compared with competing protein production processes, also considering environmental effects.

The thermodynamic modelling and analysis will most likely be performed in the in-house modelling software DNA.

Importantly, bio-derived carbon sources will become scarce in a future fossil-free society, which emphasizes efficient usage of carbon sources. In addition to the above mentioned synergy, a potential long-term added value of the combined system is related to a) grid balancing, i.e. utilization of surplus electricity from renewable energy sources as wind or solar power and/or provide power to the electricity grid at times with low wind and no sun, and b) long-term (seasonal) energy storage via links to the natural gas grid.

In collaboration with

Unibio A/S


experience with thermodynamic modelling

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DTU Mekanik


Lasse Røngaard Clausen




Supervisor info

MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Lasse Røngaard Clausen


Søren Højgaard Jensen


MSc thesis

MSc in Sustainable Energy


Lasse Røngaard Clausen


Søren Højgaard Jensen


MSc thesis

Technical University of Denmark

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