New integrative sustainable system from C4 photosyntetic miscanthus to biological synthesis of valuable C4 compounds – BioC4

Submission summary

Because of the finite nature of fossil fuel resources and the imminent climate change caused by their intensive use, the demand for
renewable materials and bio-based chemicals for industrial applications, as well as for renewable energy, will steadily increase. Due to the
inherent techno-economic challenges of biochemical compound commercialization, BioC4 will focus on developing technologies around
‘bio-isobutanol’, a powerful compound platform from which multiple products with high market potential can be launched. Isobutanol can be
converted synthetically to many valuable building-block chemicals or directly used in fuel with multiple advantages. it can be converted
easily to isobutylene or can replace n-butanol as industrial solvent.
BioC4 is a collaborative project between Lesaffre, INRA, GlobalYeast and Frankfurt and Hohenheim Universities. These private and public
European partners will develop a production process with high economic impact in the area of food and non-food biomass production and
transformation systems.
The aim is to develop an industrial isobutanol production process. For that purpose, a strong isobutanol-producing yeast strain will be
developed during the 3 years of the project. It will have the ability to ferment both hexose and pentose sugars under the harsh conditions
present in lignocellulose hydrolysates. In parallel, promising miscanthus genotypes with high saccharification potential will be identified and
the most interesting ones will be analyzed once the process will be developed. Furthermore, a detailed concept for treatment and utilization
of the fermentation residues (biogas) will be generated and evaluated. The environmental and agricultural impact of the newly developed
value chain will be estimated and concepts for optimized integration of miscanthus production in cropping systems will be developed. These
concepts will aim to maximize the environmental and agronomic benefits of the crop miscanthus. The environmental impact will be
assessed by greenhouse gas emission and energy balance calculation. The results of the study will be used to identify weak-points and
optimization potential of the developed value chain.
BioC4 will develop a transportation fuel with low greenhouse gas emission, without compatibility issue with existing engines. In addition,
since isobutanol can be transformed in isobutene by a single step of dehydration, it can serve as a building block for bio-based raw
BioC4 will also provide valuable information on miscanthus cultivation in order to promote this crop for biobased molecule production.
However, the bioengineered tool developed during the project can consume glucose and xylose, so it will also be available and valid for the
use of agricultural waste products and create a new output for their valorization. The BioC4 project will permit a better use of biomass waste
from any plant source, and thus will help to decrease the environmental footprint of agriculture by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


MBW Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitaet
GlobalYeast GlobalYeast
uni-hohenheim University of Hohenheim
INRA AgroImpact Agroressources et impacts environnementaux
INRA-AGPF Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Unité de recherche Amélioration, Génétique et Physiologie Forestières

Help of the ANR 200,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2016 - 36 Months

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