Dr Linda Davis (Moderator)

An accomplished bioscientist, administrator, and business development professional, Dr Linda Davis is the CEO of Giraffe Bioenergy an organization building biorefineries in Kenya to serve the clean cooking fuel markets. She previously served as the Partnership Director at the Partnership of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) an advisor to KOKO Networks (formally SmartCook Energy) – a start-up company based in Nairobi, Kenya working on ethanol-based cookstoves and distribution system.

She was the former Director of the Biorefinery Enzymes Business Unit responsible for Technical and Business Strategy and Marketing at Verenium Corporation in San Diego, California (acquired by BASF in 2014). At Verenium she had overall P&L responsibility for a global clientele including the USA, Europe and Thailand representing over 35% of company revenue.

Linda has extensive experience in senior-level positions within the biofuels industry. While Director of Emerging Technologies at Pacific Ethanol (Sacramento, USA), Linda was the Principal Investigator on a Department of Energy funded $48 M cellulosic ethanol plant. She was a senior director responsible for downstream product development at Sapphire Energy (San Diego, USA) – a start-up working to commercialize algae-based drop-in fuels from Green Crude.

As the Director of a start-up bioenergy company, Linda represents Sunbird Bioenergy, Africa. Linda presently also serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships of wPOWER – a US funded initiative to increase access to cleaner fuel technologies in Africa including ethanol as a cooking fuel. She is also faculty at The Alcohol School since 2013. This school is held twice a year annually in Montreal, Canada and Toulouse, France where she teaches on “Enzymes Used in Ethanol Production”. In addition, Linda is often invited to speak on a range of renewable energy issues at global fora.

To prepare for her career, Linda first earned an undergraduate degree in Food Science and Technology from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. She went on to graduate with distinction from the University of Western Sydney (Sydney, Australia) with both a Masters and Ph. D in Microbiology and Biotechnology. Her Ph. D thesis title was “Evaluation of a Zymomonas mobilis-based Ethanol Production System from Wheat Substrates” working closely with the largest starch and ethanol producer Manildra Group (Nowra, Australia).

Linda has since also pursued continuing education, obtaining certificates in Petroleum Refining (Honeywell UOP) and has also qualified as a Project Management Professional (Villanova University, USA). Linda has also earned a certificate in Finance and Accounting for Executives from Stanford University and recently attended a course in Distributed Energy Systems at the University of Nairobi.