Environmental Proteomics CEO discusses methanogenesis strategy in Biofuels Digest
By Jim Lane; 2015-04-15
We are biochemists/entrepreneurs making products for basic and applied research into methane production. Having proven our methods and product in the photosynthesis research market, we are excited to be moving into new markets. We have recently achieved precise measurements of the key enzyme in the pathway to methane, even from digester biomass.
Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.
As a cofounder and the current CEO, I will focus on collaborating with researchers and biogas producers.
We want to put our technology in the hands of anyone who takes a rigorous approach to optimizing biogenic methane generation. The feedstock for digesters will eventually be limited and valuable, even if it is currently viewed as waste. Ultimately, when this biomass is properly valued in the market, the digester operators who know how to optimize its conversion will be the ones to survive and compete.
We have survived for 11 years, but as a small corporation, we are the challenging stage at which we struggle to keep ahead of administration and the relentless search for funding. We need to take a step up, to where our key scientific staff can spend most of their time engaging collaborators and reaching our markets.
What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?
Every sector has its own milestones.
On the road to being fully competitive, biogenic methane production needs to be:
- operating at the optimal scale.
- fully integrated into regional energy markets.
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?
I would like to see petroleum properly priced, unsubsidized and incorporating all environmental externalities. The Bioeconomy could then stand on its own feet.
Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?
The realization that resources are limited and the path we are on is untenable is my most compelling reason to try to contribute something to this industry.
Where are you from?
Western Canada, Edmonton (oil country!), and various places in British Columbia.
What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?
Genetics, University of Western Ontario.
Who do you consider your mentors — could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?
- Douglas Campbell
- Arthur Grossman
- Paul Krugman
From Doug Campbell, I have learned my rigorous approach to science. I admire Dr. Grossman’s love of discovery. Dr. Krugman is the rational voice on all things economic, and he brings a humanitarian voice to his columns and books.
What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?
Biking, all forms: road, mountain, and cycle touring. Playing and writing music. Cross-country skiing.
What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island? What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?
Blindness; Seeing (Saramago), The Corrections; Freedom (Jonathan Franzen)
What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?
At the moment, it’s New York