BETO 2021 Peer Review - Improving Formate Upgrading by Cupriavidus Necator

Research output: NRELPresentation


Formate can be generated by electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 and has been proposed as a soluble intermediate for the storage of carbon and energy. Biological systems capable of assimilating formate could enable conversion of formate generated from low-cost renewable energy and waste CO2 to myriad fuels and chemicals. To that end, the goal of this project is to develop the natural formatotroph Cupriavidus necator as a robust microbial chassis for efficient conversion of formate to value-added products. Using a combination of laboratory evolution and rational engineering, we have identified mutations and genetic deletions that improve its growth rate and biomass yield on formate by 1.2X. Using RNA-seq transcriptomics, we are elucidating the mechanisms that underly these improvements and anticipate this will contribute to our understanding of formate conversion. We have also engineered C. necator to convert formate to the potential polymer precursor 2-hydroxymuconate semialdehyde (2HMS) by introducing an exogenous pathway and deleting competing pathways and demonstrated production and robust growth using a pH-stat bioreactor. Final techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment on biological production of 2HMS from formate will enable the DOE and other stake holders to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of this project and related technologies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2800-79365


  • biomass
  • CO2 reduction
  • conversion
  • formate


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