Catalyst Enhancement for Low-Energy CO2 Capture: Advancing Industrial Applications of Carbonic Anhydrase Enzymes

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About This Project

Climate change due to CO2 emission is the paramount concern and needs urgent attention. Absorption-based CO2 capture technology seems promising but is energy-intensive. Carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzyme is an important biocatalyst that can help reduce the cost of CO2 capture, but its use is hindered by its instability under industrial process conditions. Our project will help develop process conditions for an engineered CA to reduce the cost of CO2 capture.

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What is the context of this research?

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emission into the atmosphere requires urgent eco-friendly mitigation strategies [1]. Point source capture (PSC) involves capturing CO2 emissions from industries before they are released into the atmosphere. Among the different CO2 capture technologies used for PSC, post-combustion CO2 capture using amine solvent-based absorption of CO2 seems promising [2][3]. The major drawback of this process is the requirement of high energy costs for solvent regeneration. Switching to different solvents such as tertiary amines, has some advantages related to the cost of regeneration but the hydration of CO2 to bicarbonate occurs at a slower rate which adds to the operation cost.

What is the significance of this project?

Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) convert CO2 into bicarbonate at a very high reaction rate [4]. Hence, they could reduce the cost of CO2 capture in an industrial solvent-based setup. However, their use in industrial CO2 capture is hindered by their instability during solvent regeneration due to the high temperature, pH and ionic strength used in the process. Therefore, it is imperative to engineer or design CAs with properties such as high stability, catalytic efficiency and longevity that make them favourable for their use in industrial pipelines.

What are the goals of the project?

We engineered a novel CA that shows >57.7% activity improvement and 17°C enhancement in thermostability when compared to an highly efficient natural CA, making it a highly stable and catalytic efficient enzyme. However, to obtain a CA that fulfills all improvement pillars, including, enhancing in-process longevity, and evaluating the stability of the CA in different solvents used in industrial CO2 capture, we aim to focus on developing process conditions for the novel engineered enzyme for its successful translation to an industrial CO2 capture technology. Specifically, we will focus on optimizing immobilization strategies for extendingCA longevity and assessing the impact of solvents on the catalytic efficiency and stability of the engineered CA enzyme.


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Project Timeline


Sep 30, 2025

Assessing immobilization and solvent compatibility of ultra stable CA

Meet the Team

Subha Kalyaanamoorthy
Subha Kalyaanamoorthy
Assistant Professor


University of Waterloo
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Subha Kalyaanamoorthy

Dr. Subha Kalyaanamoorthy is an early career Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo. Her academic journey began with a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from La Trobe University, Australia, followed by enriching post-doctoral fellowships at esteemed institutions, including CSIRO (Office of Chief Executive PDF) in Australia and the University of Alberta (NSERC PDF) in Canada.

Dr. Kalyaanamoorthy's research pursuits are dedicated to harnessing the power of computational methods to confront pressing challenges in the realms of biology, health, and the environment. Her multidisciplinary approach spans a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines, encompassing molecular modelling, molecular dynamics simulations, quantum modelling, protein biochemistry, machine learning, phylogenetic inference, and bioinformatics. Through these diverse lenses, she delves deep into the intricacies of protein structures, functions, dynamics, and evolutionary trajectories and develops peptides, small molecules, and nanoparticles for modulating the biological functions of proteins.

Dr. Kalyaanamoorthy has authored over 35 peer-reviewed articles, making impactful contributions to prestigious journals such as Nature Methods, Circulation, and Bioinformatics. Her ground-breaking work has garnered support from renowned funding bodies, including the New Frontiers in Research Fund, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as well as pivotal organizations in cancer research, such as the Cancer Research Society, Breast Cancer Society of Canada, and Mitacs. Beyond her publications and grants, Dr. Kalyaanamoorthy's innovative spirit shines through her role as a co-inventor in two patent applications and third one in progress, exemplifying her dedication to advancing scientific knowledge.

Dr. Subha Kalyaanamoorthy's work embodies the spirit of scientific exploration and its transformative potential to shape the future of biology and healthcare.

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