What: Free participation and full board for two nights and two days
When: Sunday 5 November – Tuesday 7 November 2017
Where: East Midlands Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel, University of Nottingham, University Park campus, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ
While the UK households stoked up their bonfires polluting the atmosphere, gas fermentation scientists descended on Nottingham to further a technology to help address carbon emissions as November 5th marked the start of a 2 day conference on “Gas Fermentation”. Hosted by The University of Nottingham’s based BBSRC-NIBB “C1net” and organised by network manager Jacque Minton, the event was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.
Formally starting with a Welcome dinner at the Orchard Hotel, there followed 2 days packed with talks, pitches and posters. With the aim of bringing together academic and industrial scientists to commercially exploit C1 gas organisms as platforms for chemical manufacture, the conference attracted 111 attendees, 21 of whom came from industry. Delegates were mainly from the UK, with 21 from Europe and 2 from the USA. A total of 24 talks were presented, 5 of which were invited, the rest were selected from abstracts, or were Proof of Concept (POC) reports. Eminent scientist Rolf Thauer opened proceedings as chairman and there followed high calibre key note presentations from: Volker Müller (Goethe-University, Frankfurt), Linsey Garcia-Gonzalez (VITO NV), Sean Simpson (LanzaTech, USA), Christopher Brigham (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA), Guido Saracco (Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy) and Alexander Steinbüchel (University of Münster, Germany). Amid this star cast 6 PhD students also gained valuable oral presenting experience with Vera Salgrado (Nottingham) and Rupert Norman (Nottingham) carrying way glittering prizes of novelty mugs. Additionally, 6 pitches were made in a fast-fired session to find partners for collaborative bids. A total of 36 posters were presented with a staggering 21 from PhD students. Carrying away prizes for the best posters were Anja Wiechmann (Frankfurt) and Rhiannon Chalmers-Brown (South Wales). Outreach was also on display thanks to Louise Dynes who showcased the new C1net stand which was used at the New Scientist Live exhibition earlier this year.
Delegates gave good feedback for the conference. They appreciated the high calibre of invited speakers and skilful chairs who stimulated questions. They also praised the organisation and venue and there were some good suggestions for future improvements. Many new relationships were forged which we are hopeful will initiate new collaborations.
“Great event. Nice giveaways. Nice introduction of awards of talks and posters. Great calibre of session hosts and speakers”.
“Just to say it was a very well run conference. It was socially good as well with most people easy to get on with”
100% thought it was well organised
100% thought the venue was very good/excellent
91% thought the programme was very/extremely engaging
95% thought the pitching was OK/useful
100% met new contacts
91% possibly/likely to collaborate with new contacts
Several applications were made for the four £50K POC awards, the results announced in January 2018 were :-
- Kamelia Boodhoo (Newcastle University) “Scalable engineering approaches for exploiting a novel biocomposite material applied to light-driven CO2 absorption and utilization”
- Claudio Avignone-Rossa (University of Surrey) “Electroautotrophic bacteria as chassis for electrofermentation of C1 gas”
- Martin Warren (University of Kent) “Cofactor optimization for production of commodity chemical in Acetobacterium woodii”
- Ying Zhang (University of Nottingham) “High value uses of waste methane from landfill and biogas methane from anaerobic digestion”