The power of algae

10 Sep 2012

Research into developing biofuels from microalgae will be the topic of a public lecture later this month.

 UQ and BrisScience will host the public lecture at Customs House on September 17.

 Associate Professor Ben Hankamer from The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience will give a presentation on biofuels research that is under way and the quest to develop carbon-neutral energy technologies.

 “The development of sustainable fuel systems is one of the most urgent challenges facing our society, due to the need to reduce CO2 emissions, increase fuel security and develop a sustainable basis for economic development into the future,” Associate Professor Hankamer said.

 “Most of our energy is used in the form of fuels. Despite this, almost all efforts to develop carbon-neutral energy are focused on electricity — for example, solar, wind, nuclear and carbon-capture technologies.”

 The work of the IMB and the Solar Biofuels Consortium is focused on the development of new solar-driven fuel production systems based on single cell green algae (microalgae).

 “Microalgae systems ultimately can be scaled up on non-arable land. They can also use saline and waste water and facilitate increased recycling of nutrients.” Associate Professor Hankamer said.

 “This technology can produce food, fuel and high-value products and so helps to address ‘food vs. fuel’ concerns of first-generation biofuel systems (e.g. corn ethanol) and build a more sustainable ‘food and fuel’ future.”

 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Alan Lawson, said the public lecture was always popular and was staged as a way of engaging the public with some of the amazing research under way at UQ.

 “We have so many talented researchers working in exciting fields at UQ,” Professor Lawson said.

 Limited places are available for the lecture; RSVP is required by Monday, September 10.

 Associate Professor Hankamer will be available to chat afterwards, when refreshments will be served.

Event details

When: Monday, September 17

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm

Where: Customs House, 399 Queen Street, Brisbane

Contact: Dr Andrew Stephenson, 07 3346