Energy case study: Stephen Austin

Stephen Austin is in the first year of his PhD at the University of Salford 

Concerned with environmental impact and future sustainability, affordability and security of energy, Stephen felt compelled to undertake research into the potential ability of microbes to degrade plant cell material and the applications for biomaterial and bioenergy production. 

Picture is a model organism Deroceras reticulatum that is being researched for novel plant cell wall degrading enzymes

His passion for research and finding solutions to the world’s problems led him to the University of Salford, driving him to work thoroughly through situations and to seek solutions to improve the current problems that surround us. 

His interdisciplinary research has potential industrial applications: where enzymes could be used in the production of biofuel and biomaterials such as carbon fibre. Following successful research, proteins could be commercialised in attempts to convert waste material into useful (clean) energy for the environment and hence bring about a possible reduction on the overreliance of fossil fuels. 

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