Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

Scientists and engineers working together for a sustainable future

Tagged: Lisa Sargeant

Internship report: Lisa Sargeant, Almac, Northern Ireland

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📥  Internships & visits

Lisa Sargeant, final year DTC student, undertook a one month internship way back in Janurary at Almac in Northern Ireland. Here’s what she had to say about her experiences:

2014-02-02 15.35.34Taking experiments from the millilitre scale to the litre scale can always be a challenge, but one that’s necessary to see a future in any given application. I was fortunate enough to spend a month working with the biocatalysis team at Almac in Northern Ireland doing just that.

This is not the first time Almac have collaborated with Bath University. Indeed, Tom Moody of Almac has been strongly involved with Simon Lewis’ research group in the Dept. of Chemistry for several years. More specifically, they were involved with Julia Griffin’s PhD (a recent graduate of the DTC), and her work on microbial oxidation for chiral synthetic intermediates. I was fortunate enough to meet Tom at last years’ CSCT summer showcase, which sparked this secondary collaboration.

Whereas Almac’s expertise isn’t so much in biofuels, they do have plenty of experience of taking microbial cultures from shake flasks and putting them into fermenters, all the way from two litres up to 100 litres.

As you may have seen, I recently published a paper which looked into tailoring the lipid profile of R. glutinis by changing temperature and well as the concentrations of carbon and nitrogen. These were all undertaken as 100 ml growth studies. At Almac, I took the most favourable of these conditions and attempted to replicate them in their fermenters, whilst adding in some other variables.

One of the variables I changed in the fermenters was growing the yeast with and without ultrasonic treatment. It has been suggested that when applied at a low level, ultrasound can increase product production, so I gave it a go with my yeast. And was it successful? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the publication to find that out!

 

Conference report: International Bioenergy 2014 Conference, Manchester

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

Whorrod Fellow Dr Chris Chuck, along with DTC students Lisa Sargeant, Fraeya Whiffin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Wagner, recently attended the International Bioenergy 2014 Conference in Manchester. Jon, currently in his second year, has written a summary of the conference over on the Chuck Research Group blog.

 

Conference report: Energy CDT network

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

In September, David Miles and Lisa Sargeant travelled to Imperial College London for the annual Energy Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) Network conference. The aim of this conference was to enable students from the various different energy-related CDTs to present their research and hear about some of the latest research across the field of energy.

The talks spanned a wide range of areas related to energy, from nuclear fusion to the energy efficiency of hospital buildings. David Miles presented in the Renewable Energy session of the conference, talking about his research on nanomaterials for dye-sensitized solar cells. Lisa Sargeant also represented the CSCT by presenting a poster titled “Waste to wealth: cultivating renewable lipids from the oleaginous yeast, Rhodotorula glutinis”.

Making an unusual addition during the talks, graphic facilitator Eleanor Beer transformed the presentations into cartoons. She created four different pieces, each representing one of the conference’s four themes: Renewable Energy, Efficiency & CO2 Reduction, Energy Storage & Systems, and Nuclear. A number of talks were also given by some of the MSc students from the Energy Futures lab based within Imperial College London.

The cartoon summaries of the talks can be seen below courtesy of Eleanor Beer and the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.

 

Conference Report: UKERC International Energy Summer School 2013

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

3rd year DTC students Lisa Sargeant and Jessica Sharpe attended the UKERCs Summer School at Warwick University. This post describes their experience.

Problems and answers on the "Collaboration wall"

Energy problems and answers on the "Collaboration wall"

‘Energy security’, ‘green economy’ and ‘sustainable development’ are phrases that we regularly hear in the media, but how do we actually achieve them? In January this year, the Scottish conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Crucial to keeping the lights on in years to come is an energy mix made up of renewables, nuclear and oil and gas”. This was the premise behind the UK Energy Research Centre’s (UKERC) Summer School held in Warwick from 7 – 12 July.

The summer school was designed to bring together students from technical disciplines as well as social scientists and economists; only half of which were from UK universities. The other half were made up from participants as far afield as New Zealand, China and Hawaii. Places for the event were competitive, but Lisa and Jess were fortunate to be awarded two of the 100 places.

As much about soft skills development (such as networking and presentation skills) as knowledge transfer, the week was broken down into formal lectures, group activities and master classes. The lectures touched on the complex nexus of the energy market, and covered a broad range of subjects including energy policy, to the impact of US shale gas on global markets, and energy production in developing countries.

Taking place at the same time as the summer school was the annual UKERC assembly, in which members were asked to put forward the ‘Big Questions’ that were allocated for the student group presentations. Lisa’s group were asked ‘Are smart grids oversold?’, which they answered in the style of the BBC’s Question Time program (Lisa’s role was to be David Dimbleby)! Jess’s group were asked ‘Big or Small? Should we work towards an international energy system, or concentrate on local energy systems?’.

During the week there was also a poster session, which covered many different aspects of the global energy situation. This proved a fantastic opportunity for Lisa and Jess to set up collaborations with other students in similar areas of research, as well as with students studying completely different, but complementary, aspects of work. Jess also had a poster accepted for the poster session and found it fantastic opportunity to discuss her work.

With the traditional ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude, the evening activities were as wide ranging as the energy topics. These included a cultural evening, drum café and pub quiz. The week was topped-off with a fantastic ceilidh dance where everyone could truly let their hair down.

Overall, both Lisa and Jess thought that it was a fantastic experience and a they would strongly recommend other DTC students in the energy sector to take part.

 

Conference report: 35th Symposium on Biotechnology for fuels and chemicals

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📥  Seminars & Conferences

This post comes from 3rd-year DTC PhD student, Lisa Sargeant.

Lisa Sargeant and Rhodri Jenkins

Lisa Sargeant and Rhodri Jenkins

It’s a sure-fire sign that you’ve chosen the right conference to attend when even feeling tired and jet-lagged doesn’t stop you having a conversation with a Prius-owning taxi driver about the fuel efficiencies of hybrid engines. From Monday 29 April to Thursday 2 May CSCT Whorrod Prize Fellow, Dr. Chris Chuck; fellow CSCT student, Rhodri Jenkins; I (Lisa Sargeant) and colleagues from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry were fortunate enough to travel to the USA to attend the 35th Symposium on Biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. The symposium was hosted by the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology in Portland, Oregon, a city famous for beer, coffee and wine!

Across the four days of the conference, we heard talks ranging from conversion technologies for biofeedstocks to biorefineries and the economics & commercialisation of biofuels/bioproducts.

Chris Chuck and I both presented posters on liquid fuels from M. pulcherima and R. glutinis respectively. Rhodri presented a fantastic talk about his research on ‘The identification and engine testing of potential renewable oxygenated biofuels for the aviation and road transport sectors’. These led to discussions with researchers from the University of British Colombia, NREL, University of Campinas, Brazil and Michigan State University: contacts we hope to develop in the future.

The talks were sandwiched between the keynote speech from Dr. Lee Lynd and the banquet speaker, Prof. Douglas Eveleigh. Lee Lynd set the tone for the conference perfectly by addressing any doubts on the feasibility and desirability of large-scale cellulosic biofuel production, whilst Douglas Eveleigh wrapped-up the conference with his highly entertaining talk entitled “Cellulase – the greatest show on earth” with references to Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, Thomas Crapper and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Making the most of being State-side, we took the opportunity to take a holiday and hired cars to tour the West coast taking in sights such as Crater Lake, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

 

Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

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📥  Events

Team CSCT presentingFour DTC students  recently participated in a three-day energy themed business competition organised for postgraduate researchers in the EPSRC-funded Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.

Lee Burton, David Miles, Lisa Sargeant and Kathryn Wills represented our DTC to compete against nine other teams at the Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Energy YES) which took place in Edinburgh on 22-24 May. The scheme was created to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship amongst researchers.

Over the three days there were presentations and case studies from leading business and industry figures which covered a range of topics around entrepreneurship, commercialisation and technology transfer. In addition to these sessions, the teams also spent a large part of the week devising a 5-year business plan for a new business idea related to an energy technology.

Mentors from a variety of backgrounds with experience spanning the energy sector and start-up businesses were on hand to offer advice and the week culminated with an oral business plan presentation to a group of potential investors.

Although it was the team from the Midlands Energy Graduate School who were ultimately successful, our students all agreed that the workshop was a very useful experience for learning business skills and an excellent opportunity for networking with the other Energy CDTs and energy-sector professionals.

Photos 1 & 2 reproduced with permission from the Energy CDT Network.