University of Tartu to showcase sustainable energy and bioproduction solutions at ESOF

12 Jul 2022 | Network Updates | Update from University of Tartu
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Estonian research will be presented at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) held in Leiden, Netherlands, from 13 to 16 July. At the exhibition, the University of Tartu will showcase innovative technology solutions for producing biochemicals using bacteria from waste gases and using renewable energy with the help of hydrogen.

The theme of ESOF this year is environmental protection, and the exhibition on Estonian science will bring together research on the sustainable use of resources from various Estonian universities.

On 14 July, the Estonian exhibition focuses on gas fermentation technology, presented by Kurshedaktar Majibullah Shaikh, Research Fellow in Fermentation Technologies at the University of Tartu Institute of Technology. According to Kaspar Valgepea, Associate Professor of Gas Fermentation Technologies at the University of Tartu, the technology is an environmentally sustainable alternative to the traditional chemical industry, which has a large ecological footprint. Its key factor is specific acetogenic bacteria, which can bind carbon from exhaust gases into biofuels and substances the chemical industry needs. This makes it possible, by ”feeding“ the bacteria with exhaust gases or gasified solid waste, to produce, for example, a wide range of fuels, chemicals and bioplastics," Valgepea explained.

This line of research is developed at the University of Tartu by the ERA Chair in gas fermentation technologies. The gas fermentation facility here is one of the few in the world that enables to test directly transferable processes in laboratory settings and create new cell factories. The facility is part of the University of Tartu-led Estonian Centre for Biosustainability, which joins sustainable biotechnology research teams from different research institutions in Estonia.

Hydrogen supports wider adoption of renewable energy

Rait Kanarbik, Junior Research Fellow of Physical Chemistry at the University of Tartu Institute of Chemistry, will present the possibilities of hydrogen technology for more widespread use of renewable energy at the Research in Estonia booth on 16 July. The University of Tartu is the leader of research and development in hydrogen technology in Estonia, also providing support and training to enterprises and local authorities interested in this field. At the demo centre for renewable energy of the University of Tartu, researchers produce hydrogen from solar energy and develop fuel cells and energy storage devices that facilitate the production and use of the so-called green hydrogen in transportation and other everyday applications. As a result of the cooperation between the Institute of Chemistry and the company AuVe Tech, the first autonomous hydrogen vehicle was presented last year. The University of Tartu also works closely with Tartu, the only Estonian city selected to participate in the European Commission’s mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. The University of Tartu’s research on renewable energy plays a significant role in supporting this goal.

In addition to the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, Estonian Academy of Arts and Estonian University of Life Sciences are represented at the exhibition showcasing research in Estonia. The exhibition's organiser is Research in Estonia, an initiative of the Estonian Research Council. Research in Estonia aims to promote Estonian science internationally.

Please find more information on the Estonian science exhibition on the Research in Estonia website.

This article was first published on 11 July by University of Tartu.

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