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Lecture Series One Earth: Impacts and countermeasures to global change and effects on the biosphere

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Sprecher: Prof. Piotr Oleskowicz-Popiel, Research Scientist, Poznan University of Technology, Poznan, Poland
Veranstaltung: Mittwoch, den 05. April 2023 12:00 - 13:30
Ort: Ellipse Room - Maison du Livre - Luxembourg Learning Centre (LLC)
7, Ënnert den Héichiewen
L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette

Resource recovery from waste - a short story on open culture fermentation

There is no doubt that the human activity is the major driver of climate change and that climate change will impact food production, migration patterns, public health, economic and political stability on a global level. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of carbon being lost in form of organic waste, wastewater and CO2  which should all be recovered and returned back to the society in an attractive and usable form. Biotechnological processes could be applied to serve as methods for carbon recovery, while preventing or minimizing the use of fossil resources for commodity chemicals’ production.

The future of the current petroleum and chemical industry is in bio-based alternatives. Over the last decade there has been tremendous work done on creating microbial cell factories to generate diverse chemicals for fuels and commodity products. However, those technologies often suffer from low titers, rates and yields. What is more, in many cases they rely on relatively high-cost feedstock due to the requirement of simple carbon source such as sugars (mostly glucose derived from starch hydrolysate or cane molasses and to a lesser extend lignocellulose hydrolysate). The development of a lab strain to meet the criteria for a full-scale implementation might be time consuming and investment intensive. On the other hand, open culture fermentation is able to utilize a variety of chemical compounds and are much cheaper in development. For the bio-based economy to be efficient and cost effective at a large scale, new technologies for product recovery have to be developed.

About the speaker:

Prof. Piotr Oleskowicz-Popiel got his MSc in Eng. in industrial biotechnology from Aalborg University in Denmark. Afterwards he worked in research projects on biofuels production at Aalborg University and University of Southern Denmark. In 2010 he received his PhD from Technical University of Denmark, where he specialized in biogas and bioethanol production.  He did his Post. Doc. at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where his work was focused on techno-economic analysis of lignocellulosic biorefineries. From 2012 he has been working at Poznan University of Technology in Poland, where currently he is a Full Professor and Head of Water Supply and Bioeconomy Division, he is also leading a BioRef research group. During his research career he also stayed at Institute of Process Engineering in Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and at Manchester Institute of Technology, University of Manchester. 

In basic research, he is focused on the study of impact of external factors on the open-culture fermentation and reactor microbiome. In the applied research, he is focused on the evaluation and development of new processes for bio-based economy. The current research is increasingly focused on the innovating fermentation processes using open cultures to produce both energy and added value chemicals from waste streams such as sewage sludge, organic fraction of municipal solid waste and agro-industrial by-products, as well as lignocellulosic biomass.


The One Earth lecture series is financially supported by the National Research Fund (FNR, RESCOM/2022/SR/16983801) and the Luxembourg Society for Microbiology (LSfM).