Special Issue "Biocatalytic Processes: A Multidisciplinary Platform for Future Biorefineries and Energy Conversion Systems"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344). This special issue belongs to the section "Biocatalysis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2023 | Viewed by 2269

Special Issue Editors

Distributed Energy Systems, Energy Process Technology, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen Nuremberg (FAU), 91054 Erlangen, Germany
Interests: bioelectrocatalysis; electrode engineering with bio-nano hybrid structures distributed energy process engineering; enzymatic fuel cells; future energy systems; circular bioeconomy; waste valorization
Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: mixed microbial cultures; polyhydroxyalkanoates production; anaerobic digestion; acidogenic fermentation; microbial electrochemical technologies; electro-fermentation
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, School of Engineering and Digital Sciences, Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan 010000, Kazakhstan
Interests: biosensing; biomechanics; biomedical engineering; novel materials
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Applied biocatalytic processes play a growing role in global material and energy cycles. To date, it is yet to be determined how the diversity of biocatalysts employed in laboratory scale experimentation of energy conversion systems and resource recovery processes will affect the future bioeconomy. Nevertheless, current attempts and advances to integrate biocatalysts with distributed energy systems and developing biorefineries, as well as to combine disciplines such as bioelectrochemistry, process engineering, and power/waste-to-x technologies, are plentiful and outline a promising path to follow.

Among these, the development of tools enabling a cleaner and more efficient exploitation of organic wastes, sewage sludge, or lignocellulosic biomass, as well as harnessing alternative catalytic systems from renewable resources are exciting directions that call for further research activity.

In this Special Issue, we aim to highlight the most recent innovations in biocatalytic approaches for advanced energy conversion and biomass valorization. This includes, but is clearly not limited to, microbial or enzymatic processes that facilitate (i) usage and storage of excess renewable electricity as biofuels or value-added chemicals; (ii) sustainable and distributed power generation; (iii) resource bio-recovery from waste streams. We are looking forward to discussing the chances offered by sustainably sourced catalysts and bioreactor components, and accomplishments in the field of biocatalytic tool development.

Prof. Dr. Katharina Herkendell
Prof. Dr. Marianna Villano
Prof. Dr. Dana Akilbekova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • biocatalysis
  • bioeconomy
  • waste valorization
  • distributed energy systems
  • power-to-x
  • enzyme technology
  • microbial energy conversion
  • bioenergy
  • microbial electrochemical technologies
  • bioelectrosynthesis
  • value-added-chemicals
  • acidogenic fermentation
  • methanogenesis

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Improving the Kinetics of H2-Fueled Biological Methanation with Quinone-Based Redox Mediators
Catalysts 2023, 13(5), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal13050859 - 09 May 2023
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The biomethanation process involves the conversion of CO2 into a valuable energy carrier (i.e., methane) by methanogenic archaea. Since it can be operated at mild conditions, it is more sustainable than traditional chemical approaches. Nevertheless, the efficacy of biomethanation is limited by [...] Read more.
The biomethanation process involves the conversion of CO2 into a valuable energy carrier (i.e., methane) by methanogenic archaea. Since it can be operated at mild conditions, it is more sustainable than traditional chemical approaches. Nevertheless, the efficacy of biomethanation is limited by the low kinetics of the microbiological reaction and the poor solubility of H2 in water. Herein, the effect of soluble (i.e., AQDS) and insoluble (i.e., biochar) quinone-based redox mediators on the kinetics of H2-fueled biological methanation in bench-scale microcosms was investigated. Microcosms were set up in 120 mL serum bottles and were initially inoculated with a methanogenic sludge deriving from a lab-scale anaerobic digester treating food waste. As a result, the kinetics of H2 consumption and CH4 generation were greatly increased (p < 0.05) in presence of AQDS as compared to the control, accounting for up to +160% and +125% in the last experimental cycle, respectively. These findings could be explained by a two-step mechanism, whereby microbes used H2 to quickly reduce AQDS into the highly soluble AH2QDS, which in turn served as a more efficient electron donor for methanogenesis. In contrast, the used biochar had apparently an adverse effect on the biomethanation process. Full article
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