In the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech we look beyond petroleum as the raw material for the production of fuels and chemicals. We research how to efficiently use renewable resources, such as lignocellulosic biomass, for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Research in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech focuses on three key areas in the conversion of renewable biomass into biofuels and bio-based chemicals.
First, we study photosynthesis at the molecular level, with the goal of engineering nanoscale devices to serve as artificial energy conversion systems. Second, we research how to efficiently break down lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars and how to chemically convert lignocellulosic biomass directly into biofuels and chemicals. Third, we engineer microbes to take the fermentable sugars generated from the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass and convert them into biofuels and bio-based chemicals. We aim to develop technologies that accelerate the engineering of metabolic pathways and increase the pathways’ efficiencies.
Research in the area of biofuels and biomanufacturing is highly interdisciplinary and requires a strong background in chemistry, biology, and engineering. Several faculty hold appointments in other schools, reflective of the overlapping disciplinary boundaries in this research area. Often research in this area is accomplished by teams of scientists with different expertise. Therefore, the ability to clearly communicate your ideas and scientific results to scientists in different fields is imperative.