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The University of Southampton
Clean Carbon

Professor Ben Zeelie of 'algae to energy' fame visits Southampton

Published: 25 October 2016
ben zeelie
Ben Zeelie and Carla Kampman (left) with Clean Carbon's Lindsay-Marie Armstrong and Pier Sazio

In February we reported on the trip by Clean carbon members, Professors Damon Tagle and Rachel Mills, to South Africa where they visited Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, to explore research synergies around algal biofuels at InnoVenton, the NMMU Institute of Chemical Technology, with the Director of the Institute, Professor Ben Zeelie. This week Professor Zeelie visited Southampton and several Clean Carbon members were able to meet him including Chair of the group, Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong who is theme lead for Capture, and Dr Pier Sazio, co-theme-lead for Utilisation, seen here with Ben and his NMMU colleague, Dr Carla Kampman, who is a Research Associate at InnoVent.

Professor Ben Zeelie and Dr Carla Kampman

During the two-day visit Professor Zeelie and Dr Kampman were shown a range of research facilities. Professor Robert Raja, co-theme-lead for the Clean Carbon Utilisation theme hosted a Chemistry tour of the related research and Professor Gail Taylor and Dr Matthew Terry showed them round the IfLS and our research in Biological Sciences and this was followed by lunch at the Blue Room. After a tour of our research in the Optoelectronics Research Centre with Dr Pier Sazio, Dr Lindsay Armstrong joined the discussion and that meeting led on to a tour of our work in Algal Biotechnology with Matthew Terry.

On day 2 of the visit Professor Zeelie and Dr Kampner visited NOC. Theprogramme for the day is below.


09:30 - Meet and greet: Prof Damon Teagle with Coffee/tea

10.00 - Prof Rachael James: Introduction to the University of Southampton, Ocean and Earth Science and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton

10.10 - Dr Adokiye Berepiki: Marine Algal Biofuels

10.20 - Dr Juerg Matter: Carbon capture and sequestration through rock reactions (CarbFix, Mine tailings, Serpentinisation)

10.30 - Prof Rachael James: Carbon capture and storage in offshore reservoirs. 

10.40 - Discussion

11:00 - (in Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre) Professor Ben Zeelie and Dr Carla Kampman talking about their work at InnoVent

12:00 - Lunch and networking

13:30 - Tour of NOCS facilities, MARS, SRL, Geochemistry, Sensors, MARS, Genetics - Led by Damon Teagle

15:00 - Discussions regarding future collaborations and GCRF opportunities – Led by Damon Teagle with  Rachael James and Juerg Matter



Notes for editors

Professor Zeelie and his researchers have developed a unique technology using microalgae to turn coal waste into a useful new product. By combining algae with waste coal dust to produce what are known as 'Coalgae' pellets, you end up with a fuel which burns cleaner and with less waste CO2 than conventional coal. Professor Zeelie made the discovery while he was trying to figure out how he could grow enough algae as a source of biomass for biofuels. “Somewhere along the line, we discovered by accident that algae and coal make a nice combination,” he said.

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