Two Green Talents publish review on distributed macroalgal biorefineries

Khan and Golberg during the award ceremony with Minister Schavan in 2012

Biomass to fuel programmes are under research and development worldwide. The principles for biorefinery design, however, are still in their infancy. Together with others, two of our Green Talents have now published a review that combines thermodynamic, metabolic, and sustainability analyses for a biorefinery design.

Alexander Golberg, currently a researcher at Harvard, who will start a faculty position in the field of biorefineries and macroalgae at the Porter School of Environmental Sciences at Tel Aviv University, Israel,in October 2014,  and fellow Green Talent 2012 Sabaa Ahmad Khan, a Canadian expert on international sustainability law, together with an international group of scientists have recently published a research  paper in Volume 8 of the magazine “Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining”. This work is a direct follow-up of the Green Talents Science Forum 2012 where Alexander and Sabaa met and had the chance to discuss common research topics.

In their paper titled “Proposed design of distributed macroalgal biorefineries: thermodynamics, bioconversion technology, and sustainability implications for developing economies” they exemplify the rapid implementation of small-scale distributed marine biorefineries to serve multiple communities locally through the design and optimization of a marine biorefinery for an average town in rural India. In this combined model, the authors include sustainability and legislation factors, intensive macro algae Ulva farming, and metabolic modeling of the biological two-step conversion of Ulva feedstock by a yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and then by a bacterium (Escherichia coli), into bioethanol. They aim to create a model which will include both “hard” and “soft” science that will be useful in considering practical aspects of biorefinery design.

The full article can be accessed via Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bbb.1438/full