FuturoLEAF Project
Inspired by green leaf structure and function

FuturoLEAF is a research project funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union funding for Research and Innovation (RIA) – Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). The aim of the FuturoLEAF project is to develop a 3-dimensional solid-state cell factory (SSCF) mimicking the structure and function of the green leafs. The SSCF takes advantage of metabolically engineered photosynthetic microalgae and cyanobacteria, nanocellulosic building blocks, and specific interactions of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) to transfer sunlight and carbon dioxide into valuable products ranging from active pharmaceuticals to commodity chemicals and fuels with significantly improved production efficiency compared with the current suspension culture systems

What we stand for

FuturoLEAF develops a bio-inspired SSCF technology based on the hierarchical and porous 3D assemblies of nanocellulosic materials capturing water and transporting gases and nutrients for the photosynthetic microbial cells. The cells are assembled into the structure surface via specific interactions using for examples MIP technology for the most efficient light harvesting and CO2 fixing. The photosynthetic cell activity can be supported by other microbial activity for the production of a desired molecule.

The FuturoLEAF SSCF technology to be developed in this project draws inspiration from the green leaf structure and function – nature’s outstanding solution for production of energy from CO2 and sunlight. By designing layers with varying density and porosity, which allow gas exchange, water and nutrient transport, and support cell fitness and viability we will make the photosynthetic cell factory concept economically feasible by the continuous production of chemicals and lowered energy and water consumption.


Countries: Finland, France, Austria, Germany

Duration: 2020-2023

Total budget: 2,95 M€

Latest News

Snapshots of the year 2022 in FuturoLEAF

At the start of 2023, we thought it’s a perfect time to revisit all things FuturoLEAF from 2022! This year saw us meet face to face, together as a full consortium, for the first time since the start of the project. It’s safe to say that the pandemic made working together more difficult than it…

Times brings everything to those who wait

OMG, it is true that time flies by! The little story I would like to tell starts about 40 years ago when I, for the first time, got impressed by biology as a science. I was 12 years old and in the 6th class when our teacher in school told us about the magic efficiency…

Photosynthesis – the key to a sustainable future

Photosynthesis is one of the universally known terms from biology. Almost everyone is able to say that “That is the thing plants do.”, but there is much more to photosynthesis than one might think. But why is photosynthesis so important? Well, it was behind the Great Oxygenation Event, which made the development of life as…