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The Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology in collaboration with Chemical Engineering department organized a joint seminar on "Microalgae biotechnology for fuel, chemicals and material synthesis" presented by Dr. Wasif Farooq, an Assistant Professor at Chemical Engineering department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, on the 17th of April, 2017.

The event was graced by CENT personnel, faculties, students and staffs from Chemical engineering department. The speaker started his presentation with an introduction to the topic and emphasized the potential of microalgae, a biological cell factory to produce oil that can be utilized for transportation, chemical for cosmetics and food and medicine for human and animals. He highlighted the advantages of the microalgae biorefinery concept over others which includes its ability to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and fight global warming. He further explained the absorption and uptake of CO2 by microalgae and how it can be integrated with other CO2 capture and sequestration techniques.

The complete microalgae production chain of harvesting, catalysis, separation and purification was also discussed and he highlighted potential research avenue in each process. He highlighted how microalgae can be cultivated in waste water to reduce the cost of cultivation and also identified harvesting from dilute water culture and low light penetration as the main bottleneck for commercialization. He finally emphasized on the new research trend on the potential use of magnetic nanoparticles to improve oil recovery from microalgae without harming the algae.