Mastodon Scientific Frontline: Monash microbiologist to convert greenhouse gases into sustainable pet food

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Monash microbiologist to convert greenhouse gases into sustainable pet food

(L-R) Dr Rachael Lappan and A/Prof Chris Greening
Credit: Monash University

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced today that Monash University will receive $5 million funding to lead a new Research Hub to develop cutting-edge technologies to transform greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and manufacturing sectors into valuable products.

Monash University will partner with seven national and international academic organizations, as well as 22 industry partners including Woodside Energy, to form the ARC Research Hub for Carbon Utilization and Recycling.

Monash will use new electrochemical, thermochemical, and biochemical methods to convert the climate-active gases carbon dioxide and methane into useful products. It will also drive new policy mechanisms to support early-stage market development of products and technologies to help drive industry transformation.

The Monash arm of the biochemical conversion node will be led by Associate Professor Chris Greening, an award-winning microbiologist who heads Monash BDI’s Health in a Changing World Program.

His team will convert gases produced by the energy, agriculture, and waste sectors into protein-rich pet and fish foods. To do so, they will use bacteria that grow on gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen alone.

“We’re harnessing the superpowers of bacteria to transform waste gases into sustainable foods. This provides a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while reducing the land, pollution, and biodiversity impacts of current food production,” Associate Professor Greening said.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said the Research Hub will stimulate jobs and growth in an emerging industry, estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion globally by 2050.

“The Hub will strengthen Australia’s reputation in technology innovation and deliver transformative change to the chemicals and energy industries worldwide,” Professor Gardner said.

The Hub will be led by Professor Paul Webley, Director of the Woodside Monash Energy Partnership, who has more than 25 years’ industry and academic experience in clean energy technologies and commercialization.

“The Hub will also generate a highly skilled research workforce for the future carbon economy with expertise and knowledge in carbon utilization and recycling technologies and commercialization pathways. This new generation of future leaders in decarbonization will be highly employable in the industry, and underpin the future workforce for Australia,” Professor Webley said.

Source/Credit: Monash University

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