The 'Power-to-Protein' website

Closing the artificial nitrogen cycle by direct N upcycling as microbial protein


This website is co-financed with TKI-funding from the Topconsortia for Knowledge & Innovation (TKI’s) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Growing world population

In 2050 we will have to feed a world population of 9 billion

Effect crop production

Climate change will effect crop production worldwide

Rise of total consumption

Total consumption of energy and resources worldwide will rise and we will have to deal with both in a more efficient way

Increase renewable energy

As the percentage renewable energy will increase, hydrogen is a good candidate as a future energy carrier

Facts about ammonia


In Dutch sewage water treatment plants tens of thousands of tons of ammonia-nitrogen are destructed to nitrogen gas every year at the cost of 9 to 40 MJ/kg NH4-N (Annamox and conventional nitrification/denitrification respectively).


At the same time in fertilizer plants an even bigger amount of nitrogen gas is converted to ammonia in the Haber-Bosch process also at the cost of 45 MJ/kg NH4-N.


Power-to-Protein is about closing this artificial nitrogen cycle by direct N upcycling as microbial protein.

The basis is a highly efficient microbial resynthesis process with a mixed culture of bacteria that use hydrogen as an energy source.

Idea holder and emeritus professor at Ghent University (LabMET), prof. dr. ir. Willy Verstraete states:

The technology for recovery of reactive nitrogen as microbial protein is available but a change of mindset needs to be achieved to make such recovery acceptable.

Together with its research partners KWR Watercycle research Institute investigates the technological, economic and environmental feasibility of the Power-to-Protein concept.

The Power to Protein concept on the cover of the Environmental Science & Technology, May 2015

News and Updates

November 2015: Official start of phase 2 of the Power-to-Protein project as part of the TKI-Water Technology programme

View the Research Programme

December 2015: Power-to-Protein on Dutch BNR Radio

BNR Newsradio (Dutch: BNR Nieuwsradio) is a private Dutch radio channel featuring all day news radio programming. Read the article or listen the Radio interview here. (In Dutch)

KWR Watercycle Research Institute

Investigates, together with its research partners, the technological, economic and environmental feasibility of the 'Power-to-Protein' concept.