The Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute (ROSEI) was recently visited on the Homewood campus by Katharine Greco and Anil Ganti from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). In addition to a seminar about Greco’s work concerning technologies that will enable the future of food production, the duo also spoke to a group of over 50 students about the ARPA-E fellowship program.

See below to learn more about what Greco discussed by reading the abstract from her presentation.

Our current food system depends on agriculture supply chains that require large amounts of land and energy. Although highly optimized, these pathways are inherently limited in both land and energy efficiency.

This talk will elucidate novel technologies to produce food and food molecules directly from CO2 without the use of conventional agricultural resources. Three main routes—microbial, cell-free enzymatic, and abiotic catalysis—will be presented, and innovations needed for technical and economic viability of each technology will be discussed.

The ARPA-E Fellows position is a prestigious two-year position that has existed since the start of the agency as a means to seed innovation and creativity in the design of transformational technologies. The Fellows position empowers the next generation of scientific leaders to help solve urgent and exciting challenges in energy by contributing to the direction of American energy innovation.

Fellows are early-career Ph.D. scientists and engineers who assist with program creation, agency strategy, and outreach. They are tasked with generating new ideas to create cross-disciplinary solutions to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy imports, and reduce energy-related emissions. They identify these breakthrough energy solutions by conducting technical and economic analyses and by engaging with world-class government officials, entrepreneurs, academics, and industrial researchers.