Project Details Guidelines on developing robust biocatalysts for biorefinery

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
14 April 2020
End Date: 


Oil refinery has fueled our economy for seven decades, but it is not sustainable and environmentally friendly. The major objective of this project is to provide scientists and engineers with guidelines for developing robust biocatalysts based on scientific fundamentals and technological innovations to support biorefinery for the production of biofuels, bioenergy and bio-based chemicals from biomass resources that are globally abundant, renewable, and environmentally friendly, specifically with cellulases for enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose component in lignocellulosic biomass and microbial strains for fermenting pentose and hexose sugars. Another objective is to provide graduates with unique opportunities to learn new knowledge and develop experimental skills quickly and efficiently. Unprecedented progress in omics analysis with life science and biotechnology innovations such as metabolic engineering and synthetic biology has made this project rational.


Global consumption of crude oil was doubled within the past half a century, hitting to 4.5 billion tons in 2018 compared to 2.4 billion tons in 1971 (, which has raised concerns not only on its reliable supply, but also on environmental impact associated with the over-consumption of petroleum-derived products.
Lignocellulosic biomass is abundant, renewable and environmentally friendly. Within the past decade, unprecedented progress has been made in omics analysis for life science and biotechnology innovations on metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for developing robust biocatalysts, either enzymes or microbial cell factories to perform bioconversion more efficiently than ever before. However, guidelines for scientists and engineers with different background to work efficiently as well as for graduates to learn and start their research quickly on how to engineer and develop robust biocatalysts are lacking, and many of them are inundated with references that need to be assessed for merits. Therefore, it is imperative for us to edit guidelines for scientists, engineers and graduates to work more efficiently for such a goal to support biorefinery industry, and through them stakeholders, ventures and policy makers can be convinced to catch historical opportunities with the biorefinery for sustainable development.

Group members for this project are mainly from IUPAC and EFB. While IUPAC is fostering chemistry and biochemistry internationally, EFB is a voice for biotechnology in Europe, which are complementary for fulfilling the objectives of this project through interdisciplinary and international cooperation.


Project announcement published in Chem Int July 2020, p. 28

Page last updated 16 July 2020