Capture of CO2 from exhaust gases using photosynthetic microorganisms

The massive release of CO2 to the environment is a key challenge in the green transition of virtually all branches of industry. For a successful green transition, there is a critical need to prevent this CO2 release and to invoke efficient conversion of CO2 to biomass.

All photosynthetic organisms are excellent in sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere but they are not naturally adapted to the high CO2 concentrations in exhaust gases. Consequently, our goal is to understand why photosynthetic microbes are inhibited under high CO2 and to bioengineer the organisms such that they function under high CO2.

Through systematic examination of which genes are turned up and down for different CO2 concentrations we aim to identify the regulatory mechanisms that control CO2 capture. We will use both random and targeted genetic modification to provide novel strains with an enhanced CO2 uptake from exhaust gases. Finally, we aim to obtain an industrial proof-of-concept.


Section for Marine Biology (MBS), Department of Biology (BIO), University of Copenhagen

Center for non-coding RNA in Technology and Health (
RTH), Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (IVH), University of Copenhagen

External collaborators

  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hess, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Dr. Carsten Hjort, Senior Science Director, Novozymes A/S, Denmark
  • Per Møller, Senior Symbiosis Developer, Kalundborg Symbiosis, Denmark
  • Erik Lundsgaard, Operations Manager, Bigadan A/S, Denmark



Student projects are offered related to the biology and applications of CO2 metabolism in photosynthetic microorganisms (cyanobacteria and microalgae).

See here.




Grant: 6.2 million DKK

Period: August 2021 – July 2025

Project Coordinator: Niels-Ulrik Frigaard


Assoc. Prof. Niels-Ulrik Frigaard
Photosynthetic Microbes Laboratory
Marine Biological Section
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science
Strandpromenaden 5
DK-3000 Helsingør

Phone: +45 35 32 19 57

Assoc. Prof. Stefan E Seemann
Center for non-coding RNA in Technology and Health
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Thorvaldsensvej 57
DK-1871 Frederiksberg