Power-to-Protein: desk study (phase 1)

Frank Oesterholt MSc

  • Start date
  • End date
    01 Sep 2015
  • collaborating partners
    KWR Watercycle Research Institute, AEB Amsterdam, Avecom and Waternet

The supply of sufficient food, energy and water present huge challenges worldwide. There is no obvious universal solution. Rather, what will be needed are local, situation-oriented tailored solutions, based in part on creative, cross-sectoral thinking. In first instance, this approach calls for a precise picture of the relevant raw material streams in a geographically defined area. Once this is obtained, the options can be defined.


One of the possible options is the Power-to-Protein concept: the production of high-value proteins via biosynthesis from hydrogen, CO2 and ammonium-nitrogen. With Power-to-Protein, an increasingly scarce product – protein – is created from residual materials and/or energy, forging a key link in the water-food-energy nexus.


The objective of this study is to determine the technical/economic feasibility of the Power-to-Protein concept through an integrated study, and define the relevant (technical, economic, and other) questions that need to be answered. The study of the technical and economic feasibility is connected to the relevant material streams in the urban zone in Amsterdam – particularly organic streams and macro-nutrients N, P).


The project focuses on the integrated implementation of the concept at one WWTP and other possible reference points in the urban area. Other sources of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and ammonium will also be included in the study for comparative purposes. The research provides:

  • Insight into the relevant material streams in the urban zone of Amsterdam (particularly organic streams and macro-nutrients).
  • Insight into the technical and economic feasibility of the Power-to-Protein concept.
  • Insight into the important points for attention and possible barriers.
  • Identification of the key technological challenges in the Power-to-Protein concept.
  • Dialogue with relevant players in the chain, including the food industry (protein).