Rebuilding the Aquatic Species Program at National Renewable
Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Phil Pienkos, Principal Research Supervisor, NREL
Presented by the Institute on the Environment's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE)
Low petroleum prices and the projected high costs of algal biofuel
production contributed to DOE's decision to terminate the Aquatic
Species Program in 1996. Ten years later, petroleum cost volatility and
increased interest in energy security and greenhouse gas emissions led
to a reevaluation of the potential for algae-to-biofuels. As a result,
NREL restarted its algal biofuels program. This presentation will
outline NREL's current efforts to rebuild an integrated algal biofuels
program and will spotlight recent data from projects begun in the last
three years. A networking reception will be held at the conclusion of
will be broadcast live online via UMConnect: http://umconnect.umn.edu/IonE
Please check back on the IonEvents blog on Thursday, July 8 for a link to a recording.
Philip T. Pienkos has over 25 years of biotechnology experience in the pharmaceutical, chemical and energy sectors. He is a co-founder of Molecular Logix, an early stage drug discovery/development company, and Celgene, an established biotech/pharma company. He has served as research director at Energy BioSystems where he led a group involved in fermentation development and biocatalyst improvement and at Enchira Biotechnology where he led a group responsible for protein therapeutic discovery and production. While at Celgene he worked on the development of biotechnology-based methods to produce pharmaceutical intermediates, and worked at Lederle Laboratories, where he developed novel mode-of-action screens for new antibiotics. Dr. Pienkos is a co-inventor on two patents and two additional patents pending, has co-authored numerous technical publications (including papers on chloroplast replication in algae and nitrogen fixation in cyanobacteria), and regularly speaks at national and international conferences. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin and post-doctoral training at the University of Texas. He served six years on the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, is a founding member of the Algal Biomass Organization, and has recently been reelected for a second term on the board of directors for that organization. He is part of a team of algae experts from NREL and Sandia National Laboratory who worked with the Department of Energy to organize National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop held in December, 2008 and currently at work putting together a roadmap document to help accelerate the commercialization of algal biofuels.