A sustainable bioprocess for the valorization of bio-waste and CO2 into “green hydrogen” and “L-lactic acid” at high yields

# Record card
Thematic areas
Chemicals & Physics
Chemicals & Physics / Subtainable substances and green chemistry
Energy and environmental sustainability
Energy and environmental sustainability / Waste management
Energy and environmental sustainability / Renewable sources
Energy and environmental sustainability / Energy production, transmission and conversion

The technology, developed by CNR-ICB, is based on an innovative bioprocess called "Caphnophilic (CO2-requiring) Lactic Fermentation (CLF)”, developed in the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga neapolitana (EP patent: EP2948556B1), which allows the production of "green" hydrogen and capture and valorization of CO2 in L -lactic acid (98% e.e.). The microbial platform offers general robustness, excellent reproducibility, high bio-hydrogen yields, good versatility in substrates that can be fermented, as well as a low risk of contamination due to hyperthermophilic conditions. It is also possible to feed the process not only with monosaccharides, but also with polysaccharides-based complex matrices, and therefore can be used for the valorization of vegetable waste and by-products of the agri-food industry without any hydrolytic pretreatment, rich for example in starch, sucrose, lactose, well integrated into the concept of circular economy.

Business fields
Type of innovation
Process innovation
Description of innovative features / Competitive advantages

The sustainable microbial platform developed by ICB-CNR is a "CO2 neutral" system for the biological production of green hydrogen and L-lactic acid at high yields, entirely based on renewable sources, which adopts a circular approach based on the recovery and recycling of by-products and waste. The current scale is a 3L laboratory prototype, producing 2L/L culture of H2 and 2g/L culture of L-lactic acid, in 24 hours. It would be necessary to scale the technology in an industrially relevant environment, to evaluate the economic feasibility of the process. At the plant level, low-cost bioreactors already used and validated in multiple fermentation processes would be exploited. To heat the bioreactors to 80 ° C, industrial thermal waste would be recovered by means of heat exchangers. Furthermore, thanks to the ability of Thermotoga cells to internalize and metabolize complex sugars, waste can be used without any hydrolytic treatment, overcoming what is often defined as the bottleneck in waste valorisation processes due to low sustainability and high costs of acid and/or base and/or enzymatic treatments.

Reference market
Incremental innovation
Impacts on existing markets
Creation of new markets
Development stage
New product/process/service/technology
Cost reduction
Patented technology

Italy, Europe

Publication of technology
Technology validation/demonstration
External validation
Market positioning
Partner required
Seed capital
Cooperation in national /european / international project

For more information and/or to be put in contact with the Research Team, please contact the Project Manager:

Barbara Angelini - Project Manager
CNR - Unità Valorizzazione della Ricerca
Phone number 06.49932415
E-mail barbara.angelini@cnr.it