Title: Design and Development of Next-Generation Light Driven Biotechnologies.  

Speaker: Prof. Ben Hankamer, Centre for Solar Biotechnology, Institute for Molecular Biosciences, UQ.

Abstract: The international community is facing combined challenges of operating within our planetary boundaries, meeting the UN SDG 2030 targets, and delivering net-zero emissions by 2050. The cost of delivering CO2 neutrality alone is estimated to be ~US$140 Trillion by 2050 or ~US$5 trillion per year; in comparison, global GDP in 2022 was ~US$100Tn. Yet failure to solve these challenges risks economic, social, political, climate, food, water, and fuel security. This highlights the importance of fast-tracking innovation translation and translation innovation to scale new robust, circular economy solutions. 

The ability of photosynthetic organisms to use light to capture CO2 and drive complex biochemistry is pivotal to delivering these solutions. The Centre for Solar Biotechnology is developing next-generation light-driven biotechnologies and bio-inspired technologies that tap into the vast energy resource of the sun to produce a broad range of products, biorefinery options and services. To identify the best light-driven chemistry opportunities, we have developed an integrated Techno-Economic and Lifecycle Analysis platform (TELCA) designed to simultaneously define the economic (e.g. $ unit-product-1), social (e.g. jobs or energy efficiency of the industrial facility) and environmental (e.g. Greenhouse gas emissions reductions) benefits of an industrial facility (e.g. 1-500 ha scale). Sensitivity analyses of the process identify the most important variables controlling facility performance, enabling simulation guided design. Facilities simulated include 500 ha renewable fuel processes, multiproduct biorefineries through to 1 ha high value recombinant protein production facilities. This simulation guided design approach informs process optimization work including atomic resolution cryo-electron microscopy and sequential CRISPR focused on the development of next-generation cell lines with improved light capture efficiency, light-driven recombinant protein and small molecule synthesis, high-throughput robotic nutrient and light optimization, bioprocess optimization and pilot scale trials to fast-track systems optimization, de-risk scale up and develop robust business cases for the chosen products and services.

About School research seminars

Seminars cover all aspects of chemistry and molecular biosciences and are delivered by visiting national and international academics. PhD completion seminars are also incorporated into the program.

Seminars are usually held in person and via zoom. All are welcome to attend.  



AIBN Seminar Room