School of Physics & Astronomy

Science Public Lectures

The next lecture: Thursday, March 19th 2015

How to make Jet Fuel (and other useful things) from Greenhouse Gases
Florence Annan, PhD student, Clostridia Research Group, Life Sciences, UoN

Recently, there has been a clamouring amongst scientists, politicians, activist groups and random celebrities to “sort out the oil problem”. Use of fossil fuels pollutes every environment, and our usage is threatening huge climate change consequences and the demand is going to increase as our population expands, but one of the major problems is that our current civilisation is so intrinsically bound to this finite, non-renewable resource. We can’t just stop using fossil fuels until alternatives to all of the derivatives have been found.

2,3-butanediol is a derivative which has a huge range of applications and downstream products. It can be used as a fuel additive, as an antifreeze, and due to the high octane value it can be used as an octane booster for petrol or as high-grade aviation fuel. As well as being converted into a great number of other useful products.

Over 30 species of microorganisms are able to produce 2,3-butanediol, however, most of these use primary stage “food” feedstocks. Despite the gluts of food production and implementation of “set-aside” from the Common Agricultural Policy in the EU, many people object to the concept of using sugar, starch and other “food” feedstocks for fuel production when there are people starving in the world, so there is a demand for the usage of non-food feedstocks. Some bacterial species can use Tertiary stage feedstocks, which are those created from waste products such as waste from industry or generated from municipal waste products. Syngas is a tertiary stage feedstock which is a mixture of hydrogen, CO, and CO2 generated from the gasification (burning) of hydrocarbons. These can be obtained from any type of biomass and most importantly household waste or industrial waste gases. Using up waste to create something useful.

6-7 pm
No admission charge and no need to book in advance!
Physics Building (lecture theatre B1)
University Park Campus

For more information, contact Chris Staddon or Dr. Samantha Tang

Upcoming talks in 2015

Mar 19th Florence Annan
PhD student
Clostridia Research Group, Life Sciences
How to make Jet Fuel (and other useful things) from Greenhouse Gases
Apr 16th Dr Bettina Wolf
Associate Professor Biosciences
Chocolate- The Taste Sensation
May 21st Prof. Roger Bowley
Emeritus Professor of Physics
George Green’s contribution to MRI: How a Nottingham Miller contributed to a Nobel Prize Invention

Previous talks in 2015

Jan 15th Prof Penny Gowland
Physics & Astronomy
From Star Trek to Medical Imaging- the Physics of MRI
Feb 19th Dr. Wang QI
Architecture and Built Environment
Feathers - A Dinosaur vision for Wollaton

Previous talks in 2014

Jan 16th Sophie Morris
PhD Student
From the cock-eyed squid to the dark side of the Universe: Asymmetry in Nature.
Feb 20th Prof. Gill Stephens
Professor of Bioprocess Engineering
From chewing gum to chemicals…
Mar 20th Dr Tony Padilla
School of Physics & Astronomy, UoN
Black Holes & Extra Dimensions
Apr 24th Prof. Ivan Powis
Professor of Chemical Physics
The Beauty of Symmetry: A disagreement between Art and Science?
May 15th Dr. Andrew Rollinson
Research Fellow, Engineering
Small-scale Biomass Gasification - Power from Woodchips
Jun 19th Dr Ho-Kei Chan
ERC Research Fellow
Computational Nanoscience
Oranges and Fullerenes, Packed like Sardines
Jul 17th Jenny Lord
The Future of Food
Aug 21st Dr Tahir Ahmed A Yardstick for our Solar System
Sep 18th Dr Richard Hill
Senior Research Fellow
Physics & Astronomy
Oct 16th Prof. Philip Moriarty
Physics & Astronomy
Can we do 3D Printing with Atoms?
Nov 20th Julian Onions
PhD student
Physics & Astronomy
Making a Universe from Scratch
Dec 18th Dr. Emily Lawson
Research Fellow
Managing Urban Flood Risk the blue-green approach

Past Events 2013

January 17th Dr. Sean Carroll The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World
Feb 21th Dr. Philip Oldfield Rethinking the Tall Building: The Importance of Climate, Culture, Context
March 21st Dr. Susannah Lydon A Prehistory of the World in Ten Fossils
April 18th Prof Ian Connerton Bacteriophage Control of Bacterial Pathogens: My Enemy's Enemy is my Friend?
May 16th Dr. Steve Dunham How do Viruses Cause Disease? Lessons from our Feathered Friends and Other Animals
June 20th Caterina Lani The Cosmic Web and its Inhabitants
July 18th Prof. Jerry Roberts Global Food Security-Is there a role for GM crops?
Aug 15th Dominic Jones AWE “Radiochemistry: Real Life CSI - the importance of understanding nuclear isotopes when advising UK emergency response organisations”
Sept 19th Dr. Richard Alexander Exoplanets: Hunting for Other Worlds (Presentation Slides)
Oct 17th David Wilkinson IoP Regional Officer Less Lethal Weapons
Nov 21st Dr Mike Fay University of Nottingham Nanotechnology Centre Nanotechnology - Hype, Fear and Reality
Dec 19th Dr Ian Fisk University of Nottingham Food Scientist The Flavour of Food

Past Events 2012

Jan 12th Dr. Daniele Fantin The Space Shuttle Story
Feb 23rd Dr. Mike Clifford How to Get Down from a Yak
March 15th Dr. David Cook A perfect pint: How to construct the flavour of beer.....
April 19th Prof Sir Peter Mansfield Snap Shot MRI - The Early Years
May 17th Dr. Helen West Dung Beetles and Their Battle Against Drugs
June 21st Dr. Will Carroll Allergy
July 19th Prof Clive Roberts Seeing the Nanoworld: New Solutions for Healthcare
Aug 16th Dr. Trevor Drage Energy in a Carbon Constrained World
Sep 20th Dr. Rob Stockman Nature's Chemical Warfare Agents: From Poison Arrows to magic Bullets
Oct 18th Professor Alan R. Palmer The Bionic Ear and Brain
Nov 15th Dr. Barry Lomax Where have all the flowers come from?
Dec 13th Prof. Mike Merrifield A seasonal canter through some scientific questions related to Christmas.

Past Events 2011

Jan 27th Brady Haran Internet Stars: The Secret Life of Sixty Symbols
Feb 24th Prof. Philip Moriarty Rolling molecules, switching atoms, and touching electrons.
March 24th Dr. Hanni Lux Substructure and Streams in the Milky Way: Unravelling Galaxy Formation
April 28th Markus Hammonds Supernovae and Stellar Fireworks
May 19th Dr. David Walker The Nottingham Cave Survey
June 16th Prof. Roger Bowley, Prof. Philip Moriarty, Dr. Meghan Gray, Dr. Frazer Pearce, Dr. Anne Green, Dr. Paul Saffin Open Question Panel
July 21st Prof. Peter Beton Graphene - conducting sheets with the thickness of a single carbon atom
Aug 25th Ian Kimpton Symmetry in Nature
Sep 22nd James Clewett Granular Dynamics
Oct 20th Dr. Keith Smith How to destroy the Earth
Nov 24th Prof. Alfonso Aragon-Salamanca Galaxy Formation and Transformation
Dec 8th Dr. Chris Lintott News from the Cosmos: 2011's astronomical headlines

Past Events 2010

Jan 21st Dr. Ed Copeland LHC and the Early Universe
Feb 18th Dr. Meghan Gray The Violent Lives of Galaxies
March 18th Dr. Anne Green WIMP Hunting: The Search for Dark Matter
April 22nd Dr. Tony Padilla Parallel Worlds
May 20th Dr. June McCombie The Chemistry of Space
June 17th Fernando Buitrago History of Space Exploration: Looking for New Horizons
July 22nd Dr. Graeme Candlish Black Holes
Aug 19th Dr. Frazer Pearce Global Warming
Sep 23rd Prof. Michael Merrifield 21st Century Telescopes
Oct 21st Dr. Steven Bamford Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse
Nov 18th Dr. Omar Almaini Quasars and Active Galaxies
Dec 16th Arianna Cortesi and Federica Maglioni Sounds of the Universe

School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 [0]115 951 5183
fax: +44 [0]115 951 5180
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