Dr. Samuel Sutiono (30) recently received the prestigious Chorafas Prize, endowed with 5,000 US dollars, for his outstanding research achievement as part of his doctoral thesis at the TUM Straubing Campus. The native Indonesian completed his dissertation at the Department of Chemistry of Biogenic Resources under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Volker Sieber. Dr. Sutiono developed valuable biocatalysts for the production of fine chemicals.

The Chorafas Prize is awarded every year to the approximately 30 best doctoral students from selected institutes – including MIT, ETH Zurich and Tokyo Institute of Technology – in various research fields. The aim of the Swiss Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation is to support young outstanding scientists.

“I am impressed by the commitment and vision that Dr Samuel Sutiono has for the use of enzymes in green chemistry,” says Chair Prof Sieber. “He is an outstanding scientist with a clear vision of the role of biotechnology in creating a sustainable bioeconomy,” Prof Sieber adds.

Using biomass instead of fossil resources

For almost two centuries, fossil resources such as coal, oil and natural gas have been the main driving force behind humanity’s prosperity. “However, our dependence on fossil resources is great – too great. There are alternatives by using biomass,” says Dr Sutiono. The biggest issue with the sustainable production of chemicals from biomass is the significantly higher production costs compared to conventional petroleum-based chemicals. Dr Sutiono faced this challenge in his doctoral thesis. In it, he developed biocatalysts to produce fine chemicals.

After completing his Master’s degree at Lund University in Sweden, Dr. Sutiono came to the chair of Prof. Sieber in Straubing in 2016. After working at the campus for several years, Dr. Sutiono is now starting work at CASCAT GmbH in the Straubing-Sand business incubator.