Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News News articles

Sonja Billerbeck partner in EIC Pathfinder-project

07 September 2023
Sonja Billerbeck, PhD
Sonja Billerbeck, PhD

Dr. Sonja Billerbeck is partner in a research consortium that has been awarded a European Innovation Council (EIC) Pathfinder grant within the Horizon Europe programme. The project called HYDROCOW will receive EUR 5.5 million. Billerbeck, researcher at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), receives about 1.5 million for her part in the project. The consortium consists of partners from Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The Finnish company Solar Foods is coordinator.

EIC Pathfinder grants are intended to support public-private partnerships in investigating or developing an emerging breakthrough technology.

Hydrogen oxidizing bacteria engineered to valorize CO2 for whey protein production (HYDROCOW)

Milk protein plays an important role in nutrition. However, milk production has significant environmental impacts, from greenhouse gas emissions to extensive land demand. The HYDROCOW project addresses these effects by developing a microbial platform for the carbon net-zero production of dairy proteins, where a hydrogen oxidizing bacterium (eHOB) with a unique protein secretion system will be applied. In this way, CO2 and later also N2 are valorised into food-safe proteins, and are completely disconnected from agriculture.

The first product chosen is the main milk component, beta-lactoglobulin, but the platform is in principle modular and extendable to other products. In the long-term, the proposed platform has the potential to not only replace conventionally produced food proteins, but also deliver proteins for materials or therapeutics, important for human and animal health.

Illustration of a milk protein being finalized and secreted through a cell membrane (Source: Solar Foods)
Illustration of a milk protein being finalized and secreted through a cell membrane (Source: Solar Foods)

EIC Pathfinder / Horizon Europe

With the Pathfinder programme, the European Innovation Council supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. The grants are for advanced research, with a focus on scientific collaborations that support technological breakthroughs. EIC Pathfinder is one of the funding instruments within the Horizon Europe programme of the European Union.

Last modified:08 September 2023 2.41 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 23 November 2023

    Two Major European grants for Groningen researchers

    Researchers Clemens Mayer and Danny Incarnato of the University of Groningen have been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant.

  • 20 November 2023

    Seagrass restoration in the Wadden Sea

    Commissioned by the UG, photographer Eddo Hartmann made the series Collective Landscape about Laura Govers’ research.

  • 13 November 2023

    One mussel doesn't make a reef

    Professor of coastal ecology Tjisse van der Heide is researching restoration of mussel beds and other biobuilders, as the living organisms that shape the Wadden landscape are called. Armed with a 3D printer and industrial-design methods, he became...