DEMETER will bring innovation to both the fermentation process used for production of the enzyme, and

to the use of enzyme-enhanced fermentation in production of biogas.

Innovation in enzyme production technology

The C1 (Myceliophthora thermophila) platform is the first industrial platform to produce specific fungal enzymes to a very high titer and purity. It is one of the few systems achieving currently up to 30 g/l of 3 specific proteins in the extracellular broth.

This C1 system enables a highly efficient enzyme production with little to no unwanted or unneeded side activities; furthermore the C1 platform deviates from classic fungal fermentation in a low viscosity phenotype, allowing for better mixing at lower power consumption during production. This allows for a production process achieving higher titers at lower energy consumption and at lower costs. Most of the carbon is converted into the desired protein activity and not to other activities.

Innovation in the use of enzymes to enhance biogas production

The yield of current biogas digesters still has a lot of room for improvement. An important improvement in biogas yield is expected from increasing the rate of disintegration of the biomass feedstock, for which enzymes are an important tool. However, enzyme products that are currently on the market are a mixture of enzymes with unspecific application conditions and have an ill-defined impact. The novelty of the C1 enzyme lies in the fact that the background effects of adding the enzyme to the fermentation process are identified and quantified, and are described in a numerical model. This way, a model based assessment of an individual biogas plant can be made, and the expected effect of the enzyme can be quantified in advance. This not only increases the specific effect of the enzymes, but also increases the economic impact.

Higher process yields of at least 20% compared to the state of the art

DEMETER aims to optimise the fermentation process of the C1 product and demonstrate this on industrial scale. The main focus will be on process analysis using different conditions (stirring, aeration, feed rate), on metabolic analysis by applying genomics technologies and on monitoring broth viscosity and morphological changes. This will identify limitations for productivity in the process (oxygen supply, nutritional limitations, feed rate) and to establish strategies including process modelling to overcome these. This way, the current yield of 30 g/L can be increased to at least 45 g/L in the same time, while also increasing product recovery from the current 50% to at least 85%. The test results will be used to scale up the process to 15 cubic meter scale.

Cost reduction of at least 15% compared to conventional down-stream processing of the fermentation broth

DEMETER will enable a more efficient down-stream processing of the C1 enzyme. A new procedure will be developed that will allow more efficient removal of low-viscosity fungal biomass aiming to achieve a cost reduction of at least 15% compared to the state of the art