Dr. Bressler’s general area of research is the industrial application of chemical, thermal, and biological systems for the catalytic conversion of conventional agricultural products to platform chemicals, fuels, and value-added commodities. The recognition of novel mechanisms and the optimization of catalytic biochemical pathways are of special interest. His research program is unique in that it utilizes a multidisciplinary approach combining industrial microbiology, biotechnology, and analytical chemistry with previous experience in petrochemical conversions and upgrading in conjunction with scale-up and engineering. Much of the biological work involves production, modification, purification, and design of biocatalytic systems.
Dr. Bressler’s graduate training program is unique in that it trains students with strong academic backgrounds and communication skills in a multidisciplinary environment including projects in biotechnology, chemistry, industrial microbiology, and/or biochemical engineering.
Dr. Bressler’s group at the University of Alberta has developed and patented the Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon (LTH) technology that converts a wide range of lipid feedstocks into platform chemicals and solvents, as well as drop-in naphtha (gasoline) and distillate (diesel) fuels. The current project seeks to develop and test two technology pathways (TRL 7 by the end of the project) to produce drop-in biojet fuels as part of the LTH technology in collaboration with Prof. Luckert and Prof. Koch of the University of Alberta, CanmetENERGY Devon, and Forge Hydrocarbons Inc. our industry and commercialization partner. The project sets up an advanced biofuels analytical and property testing suite.
The technology developed will target primarily commercial aviation where the use of renewable jet fuel (biojet) is considered as one of the primary routes for reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Additionally, since the technology will utilize waste and inedible lipid feedstock, it will provide a market for rendering industries as well as brown grease, distillers corn oil, and off grade oil seeds such as canola.
For more information, visit the main Alberta Biojet Initiative website at https://albertabiojetinitiative.ualberta.ca/
Dr. Bressler’s group also is working to produce bioethanol and other value-added products such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), single-cell protein, and lipid derivatives that can be used to produce drop-in biojet fuels. Such products are produced through fermentation processes involving enzymatic treatment, optimization of sugar delivery, as well as investigation of novel microorganisms using various feedstocks including methanol and agricultural or forestry wastes.