Nicholls professor gives a keynote speech at conference in China

Raj Boopathy (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — As fossil fuels face extinction, developing alternatives has become a big topic in the scientific world. The work of Nicholls State University’s own Dr. Raj Boopathy was recently in the spotlight at the 13th Asian Biohydrogen and Biorefinery Symposium in Zhengzhou, China.

Dr. Boopathy, Alcee Fortier Distinguished Service Professor of biological sciences, gave a keynote speech at the symposium on his research into bioethanol production from sugarcane waste for energy use.

“Petroleum energy is a finite energy source and at some point, the world will run out of this energy. It may not happen in our generation, but it will in the future,” he said. “So we need to find alternate energy sources to maintain our lifestyle. Bioenergy is a sustainable source of energy, and you will never run out of this energy source as long as the sun is shining.”

Dr. Boopathy’s research, called lignocellulosic ethanol, is based on extracting sugar from agricultural waste that farmers would typically burn in the field, such as sugarcane leaf, so as to not compete with food sources.

“It meant a lot to me to be selected as a keynote speaker, as people are recognizing my work as one of the important research topics in the world,” Boopathy said. “It was nice to see Nicholls name was used in the conference and recognized by other scientists in the world.”

The conference had approximately 400 delegates from 28 countries to share their latest research on bioenergy. It was held from Sept. 14-17 at Henan Agricultural University.


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