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Development of Cellulosic Biofuels

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Uploaded on Feb 27, 2008

Chris Somerville [Director of the EBI, UC Berkeley]
Abstract:

The earth receives approximately 4000 times as much energy from the sun each year as the total projected human energy use in 2050. Because plants can be deployed on a large scale to capture and store solar energy, I am interested in exploring the degree to which it may become possible to use photosynthesis for sustainable production of renewable carbon-neutral energy. In considering this possibility, the Secretary of Energy of the US has called for the replacement of 30% of the liquid fuels used in the US with biofuels by 2030. I will outline some of the technical issues that must be addressed in order to understand if it is possible to reach this and related goals. I will also discuss some of the areas in which I envision significant technical advances may enable evolution of the biofuels industry.




Biography:

Chris Somerville is the Director of the new Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley,University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and patents in plant and microbial genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and biotechnology.His current research is focused on the characterization of proteins, such as cellulose synthase, implicated in plant cell wall synthesis and modification. Somerville has served as a member of the scientific advisory boards of numerous academic institutions, corporations, and private foundations in Europe and North America. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada and has received numerous scientific awards.

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