Gaseous substrates

Gases such as biogas or synthesis gas are used as substrates to produce basic chemicals or biopolymers such as polyhydroxy fatty acids. In the utilization of biogas (mixture of methane and CO2) methanotrophic, i.e. aerobic microorganisms are used, in the utilization of synthesis gas (mixture of CO and H2) anaerobic bacteria are used.


Reference projects

ECOX2 – Enzymatic and chemocatalytic oxidation cascade in the gas phase (2): Phenol from biogas


In the ECOX2 project, Fraunhofer IGB and its project partners are developing a chemocatalytic-biotechnical process to convert methane from biogas into phenol. The joint project follows on from the ECOX project, in which methanol and formic acid were successfully produced from methane using a combined chemo-enzymatic process.

Enzymatic production of methanol and formic acid


The energetic use of biogas is efficient if the heat is used sensibly throughout the year, which is not the case with all biogas plants. For this reason, research has long been underway into ways of using biogas – which is made up of around 40 to 75 percent methane, 25 to 55 percent carbon dioxide and 10 percent water – as a material, for example to produce methanol.

SusPackaging – Sustainable production of polyhydroxyalkanoates


Due to the growing awareness of environmental pollution caused by plastics, the demand for environmentally friendly packaging is increasing – especially in the cosmetics and food industry. The aim of the SusPackaging project is therefore to establish a green value chain for the production of bio‑based and biodegradable packaging materials. As part of the project, Fraunhofer IGB is investigating microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which have similar properties to conventional plastics but are biodegradable.