Campus News

Symposium will explore alternate sources of energy

An upcoming international symposium at UGA in honor of Lars G. Ljungdahl, who recently retired from the department of biochemistry, will focus on the possibility of alternate sources of energy for Georgia, the nation and the world.

The “Incredible Anaerobes: From Physiology to Genomics to Fuels” symposium, scheduled for March 2-3, brings together leading researchers from around the world to discuss the possibilities of renewable biomass fuel. The first portion of the program is open free to the public. Those wishing to attend the full conference must sign up online by Feb. 12. The registration fee will be waived for UGA faculty, students and post-docs who present a poster.

Biomass conversion is the transformation of agricultural material into feedstock chemicals and fuels, which include products like ethanol made from corn or sugarcane.

With global warming making headlines around the world and oil prices more than doubling in recent years, calls for new energy sources have come from around the globe.  Even former oil man President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address last month, called for an end to America’s addiction to foreign oil.

“Biomass conversion as an energy source was popular in the mid 1970s, after the first oil crisis and now it’s popular again because of the new oil crisis,” said Juergen Wiegel, a professor of microbiology and biochemistry and one of the conference organizers.

The event is a “state-of-the-art” symposium in honor of the 80th birthday and retirement of Ljungdahl, who spent nearly 40 years as a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UGA.