At the Algae Biomass Summit, still in process, Emeritus Marine Applied Phycology Professor Ami Ben-Amotz was recognized with the Algae Biomass Organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was presented for his contributions to the algae industry over the whole of a career in academia and/or industry, including commercial success, significant research contributions, policy activities, outreach, workforce development/educational activities, and/or mentoring activities.
Prof. Ben-Amotz received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and PhD at the Weitzman Institute of Science, Israel. As a PhD he studied the halotolerant alga Dunaliella. His post-doctorate studies at Brandeis University, in Boston, focused on hydrogen production by marine microalgae.
He returned to Israel in 1975 and initiated academic, applied, and research algal activities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the National Israeli Institute of Oceanography and at the Weitzman Institute, the latter being the core of his long-time research together with the late Prof. M. Avron and the “Dunaliella Club” to study the biology, physiology, biochemistry and biotechnology of marine microalgae.
This scientific collaboration in 1981 helped to establish the Nature Beta Technologies Ltd, (NBT Ltd), commercial Dunaliella plant in Eilat, Israel. Professor Ben-Amotz became the Founder and Chief Scientist of NBT.
In 2012, Dr. Ben Amotz founded Seambiotic Ltd, a collaboration with the Israeli Electric Company using de-sulfuring coal burning flue gas and turbine cooling seawater to grow Nannochloropsis and other marine microalgae on a one-acre pilot plant. This work continued in China on a larger scale on 10 hectares of pond area.
Ami Ben-Amotz has been a visiting professor and visiting scientist at many global universities and institutes, all related to marine microalgae. He was one of the founders of the International Society of Applied Phycology and participated at the early conferences of the ABO, South Korea’s Society of Phycology, the Society of Environmental and Algal Biotechnology, and many more international algal organizations.
Today, Dr. Ben-Amotz is an Emeritus Professor as well as Chief Scientist of NBT, and Chief Scientist of Nikken Sohonsha Co., in Japan. He continues to train many students and has published more than 150 scientific publications, including three books on aspects related to marine microalgae, applied phycology, natural products, and the environment.
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