Kylie Vincent's Group
Department of Chemistry
University of Oxford


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Our animation about Industrial Biotechnology and HydRegen
Chemistry World Article/Video: about the HydRegen technology

About HydRegen

HydRegen is an innovative, early-stage technology currently under development within the group of Prof. Kylie Vincent at the University of Oxford.

The HydRegen technology provides a flexible platform of enzyme-modified carbon particles which facilitate implementation of cofactor-dependent biocatalysis for chemical synthesis. This technology has a wide range of applications in the fine chemicals sectors for synthesis of pharmaceuticals, flavour and fragrance molecules and more broadly in introduction of chiral centres and for controlled oxidations.

The concept has been proven and initial results have been recognised by representatives from industry as demonstrated by HydRegen's success at the RSC Emerging Technology Competition 2013 and more recently by receiving IB catalyst funding. We have established an interdisciplinary team spanning biocatalysis, catalytic hydrogenation, flow catalysis and molecular biology to demonstrate the technology under industrially useful conditions and to tackle challenges in scale up of both enzyme production and H2-driven biocatalysis.

The science behind the HydRegen Technology

Biocatalytic Hydrogenation
We have developed a system of enzyme-modified carbon beads which combine enzymes for H2-driven NADH recycling and a selective NADH-dependent biotransformation.

A hydrogenase (green) is able to split H2 into protons and electrons. The hydrogenase has a naturally occurring chain of FeS clusters which allow the electrons from H2 oxidation to be rapidly transferred from the active site to the edge of the protein shell. When the hydrogenase is immobilised onto an electronically conducting carbon particle, the electrons can be channelled into the particle. A second enzyme, an NAD+ reductase (blue), is co-immobilised onto the particle. This enzyme is able to take up electrons and use them for efficient reduction of NAD+ to NADH.

A third, NADH-dependent enzyme (red) can then be immobilised on the same particle. In the presence of H2 the NADH is efficiently recycled. This allows reactions to precede with 100 % atom economy. We find that the third enzyme operates faster when co-immobilised in close proximity to the cofactor recycling system that when it is used in solution. For more detail, see our recent publication.

This technology addresses 2 key challenges with implementing NADH-dependent biocatalysis. The use of H2 as a reducing equivalent allows up to 100 % atom efficient biotransformations. Our rapid, one-step enzyme immobilisation method is applicable to most biocatalysts and allows simple removal and re-use of the enzymes. This technology also tackles challenges with translating redox biocatalysis in to a continuous flow process. We are investigating application of HydRegen in standard hydrogenation flow reactions.

Radio Show

Radio Show: Cleaner greener method for making lab chemicals

Cover articles

ChemCommun: Flow
ChemCatChem: Full Paper
BiochemJ: Review Paper


Oxford Sparks' Podcast with Kylie Vincent: Learning from nature

In the news

Women in Science: Cleaner chemicals
Award-winning HydRegen technology offers path to 'clean, safe' chemical production
Enterprising Oxford Blog article: When can I call myself a science entrepreneur?

The Team

This research is conducted within the Vincent Group at the University of Oxford and is supported by Oxford University Innovation and an Industrial Advisory Board. The Vincent group have extensive expertise in fundamental understanding of metal-containing enzymes - this knowledge, along with the characterisation techniques developed, is essential for development of the HydRegen technology.

Kylie Vincent
Principle Investigator

Holly Reeve
Project Manager and Co-Investigator

Miguel Ramirez
Enzyme Scale up

Jack Rowbotham
Heterogeneous biocataylst development

Sarah Cleary
Process development (batch)

Lisa Thompson
Process development (flow)

Kouji Urata
Business development

Renee Haver
Heterogeneous biocatalyst development


The HydRegen Technology was the Overall Winner at the RSC Emerging Technology Competition on the 5th June 2013.

Kylie was the 'Science and Technology Woman of the Future' in 2011.


2017 Public Engagement with Research funding
Holly has been awarded funding by the MPLS division to support public engagement activties . We will develop a series of games, talks and experiments to take to secondary schools and build an online platform to inspire and inform school students about Industrial Biotechnology and the HydRegen technology.

2017 iCASE studentship
Barnabas Poznansky joined the team to begin his DPhil, his research project looks at operating the enzyme-modified particle system in continuous flow. This is funded by a BBSCR iCASE studentship with support from Dr Reddy's.

2016 IB Catalst funding
The Vincent group have received major funding from EPSRC via Innovate UK / EPSRC / BBSRC Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst Round 3 (EP/N013514/1). The project, developing H2-driven enzyme-catalysed chemical synthesis, started in Jan 2016 with Dr Holly Reeve as Project Manager.

2015 iCASE studentship
Michalis Posidias joined the team to begin his DPhil, his research project looks at operating the enzyme-modified particle system in the reverse direction for H+-driven NAD+ recycling to support terminal alcohol oxidation to generate aldehydes. This is funded by a BBSCR iCASE studentship with support from Johnson Matthey Catalysis and Chiral Technologies.

2014 Business Interaction Voucher
Work to extend the H2-driven cofactor recycling system to NADPH recycling for NADPH-dependent enzymes was supported by a Metals in Biology NIBB Business interaction voucher and GSK.

2012 ERC Proof of Concept funding
R&D on this innovation was supported by ERC Proof of Concept Grant 297503 during 2012.


Preprint: Rowbotham, J.S., Lenz, O., Reeve, H.A., Vincent, K.A., 2019, ChemRxiv DOI:

Cover article in ChemCommun: Zor, C., Reeve, H.A., Quinson, J., Thompson, L.A., Lonsdale, T.H., Dillon, F., Grobert, N., Vincent K.A., 'H2-driven Biocatalytic Hydrogenation in Continuous Flow using Enzyme-Modified Carbon Nanotube Columns', Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 9839-9841 DOI:10.1039/C7CC04465H

Cover Article in Biochemical Journal: Reeve, H.A., Ash, P.A., Park, H., Huang, A., Posidias, M., Tomlinson, C., Lenz, O., Vincent, K.A., 'Enzymes as modular catalysts for redox half reactions in H2-powered chemical synthesis: from biology to technology', Biochemical Journal, 2017, 474, 215-230 DOI:10.1042/BCJ20160513

Cover Article in ChemCatChem: Reeve, H.A., Lauterbach, L., Lenz, O., Vincent, K.A. 'Enzyme-Modified Particles for Selective Bio-Catalytic Hydrogenation via H2-driven NADH Recycling' ChemCatChem, 2015, 7, 21, 3480 - 3487 DOI:10.1002/cctc.201500766

Reeve, H.A., Lauterbach, L., Ash, P.A., Lenz, O., Vincent, K.A., 'A modular system for regeneration of NAD cofactors using graphite particles modified with hydrogenase and diaphorase moieties' Chem. Commun. 2012, 48 (10), 1589-1591. Link.

Lauterbach, L., Idris, Z., Vincent, K.A., Lenz, O. 'Catalytic properties of the isolated diaphorase fragment of the NAD+-reducing [NiFe]-hydrogenase from Ralstonia eutropha' PLoS ONE, 2011, 6, (10): e25939. Link.


A patent covering the HydRegen technology was filed in 2011. Publication number: WO2013050760 A2.
More information about the technology can be found on the Oxford Univerity Innovation webiste.

Contact us

Prof. Kylie Vincent (Principle Investigator):
Email:, Tel: +44 1865 282611

Dr Holly Reeve (Project Manager/Co-Investigator):
Email:, Tel: +44 1865 282600

Department of Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory,
South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QR, UK