Three-Day Joint Workshop with the Technical University of Munich, UC San Diego, and UC Davis

Seminar leads discuss gasification

Collaborators from Technical University Munich, UC San Diego, and UC Davis prepare for the upcoming seminar. From left to right, Philipp Johne (TUM); Sebastian Fendt (TUM); Li Wang (UCD); Richard Nowak Delgado (TUM); Bryan Jenkins (UCD); Michael Long (UCD); Felix Fischer (TUM); and Reinhart Seiser (UCSD)


The Biological and Agricultural Engineering department at UC Davis welcomed guests from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and UC San Diego during a two day workshop October 16th-17th made possible by funding from the Global Incentive Fund (GIF).  The joint workshop was an opportunity to learn more about the current trends in gasification, biofuels, and synthesis gas (syngas).

On October 16th, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Paul Dodd of UC Davis gave a key note address. Dr. Dodd was followed by BAE alumnus Dr. Rizaldo Aldas, of the California Energy Commission (CEC), and Dr. Matthew Summers Chief Operations Officer of West Biofuels.

Fendt speaks during seminar

Sebasitan Fendt speaks to a packed seminar on the topic of biomass gasification and syngas utilization

The workshop on October 17th culminated in a seminar, “Gasification of Biomass and Syngas Utilization Pathways.” Lead by speakers Sebastian Fendt, Dipl.-Ing; Felix Fischer, M.Sc.; and Philipp Johne, M.Sc. from TUM. The seminar was a part of BAE’s ongoing Fall Quarter Seminar series with an interested audience that left standing room only.

The collaboration among TUM, UC San Diego, and UC Davis is part of a three-year effort. “It’s great to learn about the capabilities of UC Davis, UC San Diego, and Technical University of Munich,” said Dr. Reinhard Seiser of UC San Diego. Working at the Woodland Biomass Research Center, Dr. Seiser researches gasification and biomass combustion.

Both Li Wang and Michael Long, UC Davis BAE graduate students, were not only present during the meetings but active participants in the overall collaboration. Michael Long acts as the main coordinator at UC Davis for the joint venture and works in concert with Felix Fischer, the coordinator at TUM.

About the workshop, Philippe Johne said that he is excited to continue working on the collaboration to see “more sophisticated research projects using the expertise of both continents.”

“International collaborations such as this have been immensely beneficial for all parties involved. Our experience working with TUM has been a pleasure and we look forward to future developments within this collaboration,” said graduate student Michael Long.

Iriving Rabasa and Chang Chen look on during the seminar

BAE graduate students Iriving Rabasa and Chang Chen enjoy the discussion and sharing ideas

The collaborative efforts of the institutions involved goes back even farther than this workshop. Dr. Reinhard Seiser, Michael Long, Felix Fischer, and Sebastian Fendt worked together to win the funding from the Bavaria California Technology Center (BaCaTec) to facilitate a student exchange. In this exchange program students from UC Davis were able to travel to TUM and students from TUM were able to travel to UC Davis. The students then participated in summer school sessions that broadened their understanding within their field while at the same time deepening their understanding of another culture.

Seminar leads prepare for upcoming disucssion

During preparations for the seminar, true collaboration took place. Everyone involved had time to relax, listen, and contribute

Graduate students Irving Rabasa and Chang Chen were also in attendance during the seminar along with over 30 others. Mr. Rabasa said that it was a great opportunity “to see new developments.” He was also glad to see familiar faces. Mr. Rabasa, along with a group of other graduate students, previously toured TUM as part the above mentioned student exchange.

Of the seminar, Mr. Chen remarked that he felt it was a nice “introduction of the research process and technologies” and “presented some interesting areas of improvements and further research.”

The strong working relationship between the collaborators lead to excellent discussions surrounding gasification and biofuels. By bringing together academics from across the globe, the conversation surrounding gasification and biofuels can take meaningful steps forward. Additionally, by continuing to focus on collaboration, the efforts of everyone involved can be rewarded and supported.

BAE’s Fall Quarter Seminar series continues next week with a presentation from Gokul Kalur, Ph.D, Collaboration Manager at Genentech. The seminar will begin at 1:10pm in 2045 Bainer Hall. Dr. Kalur will discuss problem solving skills in Manufacturing Science & Technology (MSAT). Please click here for more information.