HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.
Bing Chen, Speaker at Renewable Energy Conferences
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Title : Green solutions for marine oil spill response


The growing offshore oil exploration and transportation activities have raised mounting public concerns over potential offshore oil spill incidents. Therefore, there is an urgent call to develop efficient and environmentally sound oil spill response technologies. Bioremediation, the widely acclaimed green solution to oil pollutions, face challenges from lacking potent oil degrading strains and poor bioavailability of hydrocarbons. Such problems could be exacerbated in extreme environments (e.g., low temperature and high salinity). The production and industrial application of biosurfactants have flourished in the past few years. They are a group of surface-active compounds produced by microbes during their growth. Biosurfactants could reduce the interfacial tension between oil and water, and enhance the emulsification, solubilization, and dispersion of spilled oils when assembled as micelles in the water environment. With an increased bioavailability of spilled oils, the oil removal efficiency could be enhanced.

This presentation features the recent development of biosurfactant based biotechnologies for improved oil spill response. Economic biosurfactant production by marine-originated strains were investigated using wastes material as low-cost substrate. Immobilized robust biocatalyst was employed to boost biosurfactant production rate further. Biosurfactant-based oil spill treating agents, including biodispersants, bioherders, and biodemulsifiers, have been developed via the rational selection of biosurfactant candidates with desired physical and chemical properties. The effects and efficacy of the developed biosurfactant based oil spill treating agents as oil spill response tools were assessed. Herein, we took a deep dive into the assessment of the biosurfactant products and their environmental performance to underpin the development of biosurfactant based remediation technologies. The decontamination mechanism of biosurfactants was probed and the pivotal role of the diverse structures of biosurfactants was identified, which could result in variations in their surface activity and target specificity. The underlying mechanisms concluded in this study could inspire the forthcoming research effects in the advanced environmental application of biosurfactants.

Audience take away:

  • The study showcases the power of biosurfactants as effective oil spill treating agents. The result is expected to offer valuable insights for developing biosurfactant enhanced bioremediation technologies and extend the toolbox that can be used for oil spill response.
  • This study also deepens the understanding of the mechanism of biosurfactant enhanced remediation technologies, and fuels research efforts to screen and produce potent biosurfactant candidates for desired environmental applications.


Dr. Bing Chen is Professor in Environmental Engineering, UArctic Research Chair in Marine and Coastal Environmental Engineering, Associate Dean (Acting) of Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science and former Department Head of Civil Engineering at Memorial University, Canada. He serves as Director of the Northern Region Persistent Organic Pollution Control (NRPOP) Laboratory and founding Director of the global Network on Persistent, Emerging and Organic PoLlution in the Environment (PEOPLE Network). He is also an affiliate faculty with University of California Berkeley and adjunct/visiting professor of five other institutions worldwide. He has been selected as a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), and Member of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) College.

He is an internationally respected leader in environmental engineering research and application with exemplary achievements in environmental emergency responses, water and wastewater treatment, persistent and emerging contaminants, AI-aided decision making, marine and coastal protection, environmental sustainability, cold region and climate change studies. He has produced over 450 technical publications and trained over 80 thesis-based graduate students and postdocs.

He has served as VP of CSCE, VP of the Canadian Association on Water Quality (CAWQ), VP of Sigma Xi Avalon Chapter, Senior Advisor of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Member of RSC Expert Panel, etc. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Systems Research, and also serves as Associate Editor of Canadian Water Resources Journal and Journal of Environmental Informatics Letters, Editorial Board Member of 6 refereed journals and Guest Editor of 7 refereed journals. He has given over 70 invited keynotes and guest lectures worldwide and received a large number of awards and honours at institutional, national, and international levels. As a registered Professional Engineer in Canada, he has provided consulting service to government, industry, NGOs and communities globally.