Recap of the 44th Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals

Posted 6/17/22 by . Filed under Featured News, News and Updates.

44th Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals

Written by Davinia Salvachúa

Photo of session attendees at the 44th SBFC conference

After the cancellation of the 2020 SBFC and the virtual 2021 SBFC, it was a pleasure to hold the 2022 SBFC in-person in New Orleans, from May 1st to May 4th. Despite the current challenges with the pandemic, the symposium had a great attendance, 207 people from government, industry, and academia and from 14 different countries.

Photo of Professor Kristala L. J. Prather from MIT

We were privileged to open the symposium with an incredible Keynote Speaker, Professor Kristala L. J. Prather from MIT, who walked us through exciting synthetic biology studies conducted in her laboratory for the generation of biochemical precursors.

Photo of a presenter giving their talk at the 44th SBFC conference

Photo of Adam Guss at the 44th SBFC conference

This year’s program contained 3 topical tracks, with 4 sessions each. The ‘Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Synthetic Biology’ track included topics on the production of advanced diesel- and jet-range fuels, the generation of biochemical precursors that serve as building blocks, advanced lignin upgrading strategies, and the development of synthetic biology tools for a diversity of microbial hosts. The ‘Alternative Feedstocks and Biosynthetic Materials’ track featured the metabolism of CO2-capturing microbes, the production of biomaterials utilizing integrated biological and catalytical methods, and the upgrading of waste streams to valuable compounds, which included food waste and gases such as CO and H2. Lastly, the track ‘Engineering and Deconstruction of Biomass and Recalcitrant Polymers’ included topics on plastics- and cellulose- degrading enzymes as well as machine learning to better design new enzymes, technologies to conduct biomass deconstruction, and metabolic engineering advances in plant to improve bioenergy crops.

Photo of two attendees in the poster hall at the 44th SBFC conference

The symposium also included 2 poster sessions and 2 special topics. One of these sessions covered state-of-the-art, high-throughput technologies and paths towards automated foundries and the other covered recent advances in biotechnology to produce alternative food proteins. All the sessions covered in the SBFC represented the most exciting and current research areas that the research and industrial communities are progressing towards developing a viable bioeconomy and a more sustainable future.

At the end of the Symposium, a diversity of awards were also presented such as the 2022 Charles D. Scott Award to Steve Lewis from POET and awards for outstanding posters and presentation from students. The engagement of all the attendees was exceptional until the end of the meeting.

Photo of smiling attendees at the 44th SBFC conference

Overall, it was an honor and privilege to be the Program Chair of the 2022 SBFC and I am thankful to have worked with such an experienced and dedicated team to make this in-person symposium a reality: Carrie Eckert (Co-Chair), Scott Baker (Past Chair), and Tina Hockaday, Haley Cox, Chris Lowe, Jennifer Johnson, James Earle and Suzi Citrenbaum (SIMB). In addition, I want to say a big thank you to the Topic Area Chairs and Session Conveners, who dealt with last-minute changes due to the pandemic, and to our sponsors INFORS HT and KATZEN International. I am very much looking forward to the 45th SBFC in Portland, April 30 – May 3, 2023, where the Program Chair will be Carrie Eckert and her Co-Chair will be Kevin Solomon. If you would like to be part of the organization or provide any input for the upcoming 2023 SBFC, please contact Carrie Eckert (

I hope to see everyone again next year in Portland!

Davinia Salvachúa
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
2022 SBFC Program Chair

Comments are closed.