Antonius van Maris
Professor of Biochemical Technology
Industrial biotechnology offers a sustainable alternative to the production of fuel and chemicals from fossil resources such as oil. Using these new technologies reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and society's dependence on oil.
Production of chemicals and fuel using traditional biotechnological processes is based on the use of natural microorganisms. Some successful examples include production of lactic acid, ethanol and citric acid. The past decade has seen the development of processes based on metabolically-modified microorganisms. These were initially limited to pharmaceutical production, but in recent years they have also been used for products with a low molecular weight. Antonius van Maris has worked with these processes in different ways, independently and via industrial collaboration, which among other things has resulted in second-generation bioethanol, lactic acid and succinic acid.
At KTH, van Maris will continue to improve process economy, robustness and flexibility in yeast-based biotechnological production. He will also start up a new research line in order to reap the potential of the fascinating microorganism Clostridium thermocellum. This can effectively degrade residual agricultural materials, such as straw and wood chips, for the sustainable production of fuel and chemicals.