Squeezing Energy From a Plant's Metabolism at Hebrew University

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Use of plants of various kinds to produce biofuels is a topic of ever-increasing importance in the world as a means to combat an energy crisis and to deal with increasing concern over atmospheric pollution from the use of fossil fuels. Scientists the world over are involved in advanced research aimed at discovering and developing the most practical and cost-efficient plants for cultivation and conversion into fuels.

To examine the various scientific and economic aspects of harnessing bioenergy, the Otto Warburg Minerva Center for Agricultural Biotechnology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in cooperation with Yissum – the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, the Israel Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, CBD Technologies, Evogene Ltd. and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, will be sponsoring a symposium entitled “Bioenergy: Harnessing Plant Metabolism” from Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 24-25, on the campus of the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot.

Prof. Shmuel Wolf, director the Otto Warburg Center, headed the organizing committee for the symposium.

Expert from Germany, the US, and Ireland will be participating in the symposium, in addition to those from Israel. The symposium, marking the 25th anniversary of the Otto Warburg Minerva Center, will be held in the Ariowitsch Auditorium at the Agriculture Faculty and will be conducted in English.

Addressing the opening session at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 24 will be Avraham Arbib, deputy chief scientist and director of the division of research and development at the Ministry of National Infrastructure. He will give an overall picture of the present status of renewable energy in Israel and the possible uses of bioenergy.

Other talks during the course of the symposium will include presentations on the use of alternatives to food crops as efficient sources of biofuels, including poplar trees, desert crops and microalgae, as well as on the use of bioengineering to improve the use of new crops for biodiesel production.

A full schedule of the symposium and a selection of symposium abstracts is available via e-mail by contacting: Jerry Barach, Dept. of Media Relations, the Hebrew University, Tel: 02-588-2904, or Orit Sulitzeanu, Hebrew University spokesperson, Tel: 02-5882910 or 054-8820016.

Journalists wishing to obtain vehicle access to the Rehovot campus are asked to call the Agriculture Faculty’s Public Relations Department at 08-9489275 or 08-9489506.

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