Chapter 5) and (2) research challenges, education, and training (see Chapter 6).

Opening remarks were made by Douglas Ray, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory followed by an overview perspective given by John Turner, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Next, government perspectives on bioinspired chemistry for energy were presented by Eric Rohlfing, Office of Basic Energy Sciences Department of Energy; Michael Clarke, Chemistry Division, National Science Foundation; Judy Raper, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems National Science Foundation; and Peter Preusch, National Institute of General Medical Science, National Institutes of Health.

The government perspectives were followed by industry perspectives on bioinspired chemistry for energy with presentations given by Henry Bryndza, DuPont; Brent Erickson, Biotechnology Industry Organization; and Magdalena Ramirez, British Petroleum. The overview session concluded with open discussion moderated by Sharon Haynie, DuPont.

The first technical session covered fundamental aspects of bioinspired chemistry for energy, and included the following topics and speakers: Hydrogen-Processing Catalysts for Replacement of Platinum in Fuel Cell Electrodes: Hydrogenases, Marcetta Darensbourg, Texas A&M University; The Lesson from the Hydrogenases? New Chemistry (Happens to Be Strategic), Thomas Rauchfuss, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Self-Assembly of Artificial Photosynthetic Systems for Solar Energy Conversion, Michael Wasielewski, Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory; and Sustained Water Oxidation by Bioinspired Catalysts: The Real Thing Now, Charles Dismukes, Princeton University. The talks were followed by open discussion, moderated by Sharon Haynie.

Speakers discussing fundamental aspects were asked to address the following questions: What are the design principles that enable biomolecular machines to effect selective and efficient atom- and group-transfer processes useful for energy conversions? What are the fundamental mechanisms of multielectron transfer in biological systems? What are the principles of energy storage and production in biology? How do biological systems such as catalysts composed of seemingly fragile peptide residues achieve durability and robustness?

The technical session on fundamental aspects of bioinspired chemistry for energy concluded with remarks by Sharon Haynie, followed a poster session in which students and junior researchers presented emerging ideas in the realm of bioinspired chemistry for energy. Abstracts for the poster presenters are in Appendix C. The first day of the workshop adjourned after the poster session.

Day two of the workshop opened with remarks by Leonard Buckley, Naval Research Laboratory, followed by the academic perspective on bioinspired chemistry, Solar Fuels: A Reaction Chemistry of Renewable Energy presented by Daniel Nocera, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Next, there was a technical session on robust implementation of bioinspired catalysts, which included the following topics and speakers: Mimicking Photosynthetic Energy Transduction, Thomas Moore, Arizona State University; Biological Transformations for Energy Production: An Overview of Biofuel Cells, G. Tayhas Palmore, Brown University; and Bioinspired Initiatives at DuPont, Mark Emptage, DuPont. Open discussion was then moderated by Leonard Buckley.

Speakers addressing robust implementation responded to the following questions: How can bioinspired design principles be replicated in synthetic and semisynthetic catalysts and catalytic processes? Can discovery methods (e.g., bioinformatics) be harnessed to encode designer catalytic sites? To what extent can protein scaffolds be replicated with more easily synthesized supports, and can we use these principles to design sequential catalytic assemblies?

The workshop concluded with remarks by Leonard Buckley.


Douglas Ray of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory welcomed about 75 workshop participants and provided some initial thoughts on the energy crisis and how chemistry can play a role. With about 86 percent of energy currently coming from coal, gas, and oil, and only 7 percent from renewables (mostly conventional hydroelectric and biomass; see Figure 1.1),7 Ray noted it is important to consider whether renewables, such as solar energy, hydrogen fuel, and biofuels, could reach the necessary scale needed to support current energy demand. He questioned whether our quality of life would be affected by the energy sources used. Ray also explained that progress in the energy field will depend on how scientists shape the future. He explained that transformational science—which focuses on translating what can be learned from biology to energy issues—is critical for changes to take place.

Workshop Charge

Ray then motivated the workshop participants to take advantage of this opportunity to reach across disciplines and learn from one another. He hoped that the workshop discussion would bring together traditional scientific disciplines to identify new science directions. Ray talked about what can be learned from biology and how that knowledge can be translated into more robust applications through chemistry. The forum was an opportunity to create new understanding and identify a research agenda for the future. Ray concluded


Energy Information Agency. 2007. Renewable Energy Annual, 2005 Edition. Table 1. (accessed 11/16/07).

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement