ChBE Signature Seminar: James C. Liao
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Room 1402 Chemistry Building
Professor Sheryl Ehrman
- This seminar will be held at the Chemistry Building.
- The closest parking facilities are Regents Garage and the Paint Branch Visitor Lot.
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Fuelling the Future: Microbial Engineering for the Production of Sustainable Biofuels
James C. Liao
Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor and Chair
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Global climate change linked to greenhouse gas accumulation has caused concerns on the use of fossil fuel as the major energy source. CO2 fixation followed by fuel synthesis is an important approach to mitigate climate change while keeping energy supply sustainable. Despite commercialization of the first generation biofuel and the fledgling cellulosic ethanol plants, biofuel production still faces significant competition from conventional fossil fuels. In addition, life-cycle greenhouse gas saving and indirect land use change are still areas of concerns. Next-generation biological production of fuels must consider use of lignocellulose from wastes and energy crops, direct CO2 conversion using microalgae or lithoautotrophs driven by solar electricity, and methane from landfill or natural gas wells that would otherwise be flared. To achieve high yield high throughput production at scale using diverse substrates to produce various fuels, engineering of enzymes, fuel pathways, and central metabolism are essential. While success examples in small scales have emerged, the field still awaits major breakthroughs in all areas to go beyond the current status of biofuel production.
About the Speaker
Dr. James C. Liao is Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor and Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of UCLA. He received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2010), the White House “Champion of Change” for innovations in renewable energy (2012), the ENI Renewable Energy Prize (2013), and the National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science (2014). He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (2013), National Academy of Sciences (2015), and Academia Sinica in Taiwan (2014).