Dow SISCA winning team of students from AIBN's Professor Lars Nielsen Group. From left to right: Tim McCubbin, Carlos Luna Flores, Jason  Jooste, Axayacatl Gonzalez Garcia
Dow SISCA winning team of students from AIBN's Professor Lars Nielsen Group. From left to right: Tim McCubbin, Carlos Luna Flores, Jason Jooste, Axayacatl Gonzalez Garcia

Researchers at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) were awarded first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA).

The students from Professor Lars Nielsen’s research group, based at The University of Queensland, (UQ), successfully proposed their innovative idea to a panel of judges and won $10, 000.

The AIBN researcher’s proposed a new sustainable biological factory for the production of industrial chemicals.

The team of students from the Nielsen Group included Tim McCubbin, Axayacatl Gonzalez Garcia, Carlos Luna Flores and Jason Jooste.

The team said, with an increasing threat of global warming and rising oil and gas prices, there is a growing push by industry towards the sustainable, renewable and cheaper production of industrial chemicals.
The motivation behind their new strategy is to help overcome key limitations preventing the economical bio-based production of chemicals.

The panel of judges were made up of Professor Max Lu (Provost and Senior Vice-Preident UQ) and  leaders in Dow; Dr Weiguang Yao (Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific R&D; Global Director, Energy Materials R&D), Mr Tony Frenchman (Managing Director, Dow Australia and New Zealand) and Dr Andre Argenton (R&D Director, Corporate Venturing and External Technology). 

In alignment with Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals, the SISCA program was launched in 2009 to promote forward thinking in social and environmental responsibility, and advance sustainable development at universities.

The program continues to expand and now engages students from 17 universities across the world.

Media Contact: Ruth Neale: (07 3346 3965, r.neale1@uq.edu.au)
 



About AIBN's SISCA project from the researchers in the Nielsen Group

Title: Bioconversion of C3 Chemicals Through Bacterial Fermentation

Motivated by an increased understanding of the threat of global warming and rising oil and gas prices, there is a growing push by industry towards the sustainable, renewable and cheaper production of industrial chemicals.  To meet this need, we have developed a strategy for the bio-based production of C3 chemicals in Propionibacterium acidipropionici (PAC) from renewable feedstocks.  Our genetic manipulation strategy exploits the unique metabolic potential of PAC to produce propanol and acrylic acid, the potential precursors of plastics with multi-billion dollar markets, as well as propionic acid.  Additionally, our proposed strategy helps to overcome key limitations preventing the economical bio-based production of these chemicals and its feasibility is supported by preliminary modelling and experimental results.
 

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