Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seminar on Enhancing the Productivity of Biofuel Processes, 12 October 2012, Hong Kong

Enhancing the Productivity of Biofuel Processes

Colin Webb

School of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK


It is almost 100 years since, at the University of Manchester, Chaim Weizmann laboured in his laboratory to perfect the acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation as the first example of large scale Industrial Biotechnology. We now look to Industrial Biotechnology to supply a wealth of different products and it is technically feasible to produce the full range of functional molecules required to meet our chemical, fuel and material needs. The ‘biorefinery’ now exists as a concept, set to challenge the dominance of the petro-refinery in supplying our everyday needs from feedstocks that we can rely on being available well beyond the limited supplies of petroleum. Our challenge is to ‘engineer’ these biorefinery processes to compete economically and key to the successful achievement of this will be the development of integrated systems in which waste streams are transformed into value-added products.

Much interest has been shown recently in the biological conversion of glycerol, a by-product of the biodiesel process, into commodity chemicals, which can be used as building blocks for a variety of value-added products. We have combined this strategy with the production of rich fermentation feedstocks from biofuel processing by-products, such as rapeseed residues1, to produce a range of products including succinic acid2,3 PHB and microbial oil4. The inhibitive effects of crude glycerol impurities have also been studied and the whole system has been modelled to enhance design predictions. This talk will outline the results obtained for this particular aspect of the development of biorefinery systems and the potential for improving biofuel process productivity and sustainability.

  1. Wang R, Shaarani S M, Casas Godoy L, Melikoglu M, Sola Vergara C, Koutinas A, Webb C (2010) Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 47, 77–83
  2. Vlysidis A, Binns M, Webb C, Theodoropoulos C, (2011) Biochemical Engineering Journal, 58-59, 1-11
  3. Vlysidis A, Binns M, Webb C, Theodoropoulos C, (2011) Energy, 36 (8), 4671-4683.
  4. Uckun Kiran E, Salakkam A, Trzcinski A and Webb C (2012) Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 50, 337-342

    About the Speaker:

    Professor Colin Webb has been Director of the Satake Centre for Grain Process Engineering, at the University of Manchester, UK, since it was founded in 1994. In 1999, he was honoured as the UK’s first Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. From 2000 – 2007 he was Head of Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester. Colin has been an external advisor to a large number of Universities worldwide and is currently International Scientific Advisor to Kobe University, Japan as well as a Visiting Professor at both the University of Oviedo and the University of Cádiz in Spain. His publications include 10 books, more than 240 research papers and five patents. Colin has been Editor-in-chief of Elsevier’s Biochemical Engineering Journal since its launch in 1998. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and is currently Vice-President of IChemE with responsibility for qualifications. His research is largely directed towards the sustainable bioconversion of agricultural raw materials and the development of the biorefinery concept. This research recently won the 2011 IChemE Bioprocessing Award.

    Date:12 October 2012 (Friday)
    Time:9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    Academic 1
    City University of Hong Kong
    Tat Chee Avenue
    Hong Kong
    Organizer:School of Energy and Environment
    City University of Hong Kong


    ~All are Welcome~

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