AZTEC: Advancing Zero-fossil Technologies for Engineered Carbon

The use of energy and water for the production of food and materials critical for the survival of humanity has begun to pose a threat to the future of humanity.  

The traditional, linear model of take–make–dispose diminishes the quality of water supply, pollutes and degrades terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and accelerates the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as CO2 and methane. To be sustainable, this model needs to become circular, by eliminating fossil fuels and GHG emissions from animal husbandries, anaerobic digesters and wastewater treatment plants.


Leveraging their expertise in renewable energy, electrocatalysis, GHG bioconversion, and biomaterial engineering, a team of biologists, chemists and engineers will work on Advancing Zero-fossil Technologies for Engineered Carbon (AZTEC).

The group will integrate new advances in CO2-capturing with emerging synthetic biology strategies to develop a robust production platform for novel protein-based materials in a one-step fermentation/purification manufacturing process.

Big Ideas Champion

  • Marina Kalyuzhnaya, Ph.D., Biology
  • Joaquin Camacho, Mechanical Engineering
  • Christy Dykstra. Environmental Engineering
  • Jung Gu, Chemistry

Team Members

  • Anca Segall, Biology
  • Cristal Zuniga, Biology
  • Asfaw Beyene, Mechanical Engineering
  • Douglas Grotjahn, Chemistry
  • John Love, Biochemistry
  • Gregory Holland, Biochemistry
  • Uduak George, Mathematics and Statistics