Gerrit Voordouw

Gerrit Voordouw

Department of Biological Sciences
University of Calgary

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Petroleum Microbiology

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2007


A sustainable energy future requires reducing per capita energy use, increasing the fraction of alternative forms of energy, and improving the efficiency of extraction and use of fossil fuels to lower environmental impact.

The NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Petroleum Microbiology will focus on this last aspect and will develop microbial biotechnologies for the extraction and processing of fossil fuels, especially oil and gas. The Chair research program will focus on:
  1. the oilfield sulfur cycle, particularly the field-wide use of nitrates to lower the concentration of sulfide produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB);
  2. prevention of SRB sulfide-mediated corrosion of metal pipes and equipment by the use of nitrates, and on ;
  3. stimulating resident bacteria to make biomass, biosurfactants or viscosity-breaking, highly reactive chemicals to improve production.
The Chair holder, Dr. Gerrit Voordouw, from the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Calgary, has prior experience in this area through NSERC Strategic Project Grants programs with industrial partners. In the current program, 20 milestones/deliverables will be pursued in the three target areas with support from NSERC, the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI) and eight industrial partners. With the help of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and input from industrial partners, the Chair will apply microbial biotechnologies to reduce the economic and environmental costs of oil and gas production, thereby contributing to the energy health of Canada and other countries in which the industrial partners are active.


  • Aramco Services Company
  • Baker Petrolite Corporation
  • Commercial Microbiology Ltd.
  • ConocoPhillips Company
  • Repsol YPF, S.A.
  • Shell Canada Ltd.
  • Yara International ASA
  • Computer Modelling Group Ltd.

Contact information

Department of Biological Sciences
University of Calgary
Biological Sciences Building – Room BI 186
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2N 1N4

Tel.: 403-220-3140
Fax: 403-289-9311


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