Upcoming Events

Illustration by Tyasseta & Siloy

Picture it! The Potential of Halophytes in Bioenergy Production

26 Jan 2018 | 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Berlin, Germany

The AGYA Science Jinn sets out to explain scientific revelations to young and forever young readers. His
first mission is pictured in the graphic novel “The Rise of the Incredible Salty Salicornia Power Plant” about
the next botanic superhero of our times – the powerful Halophyte.
Halophyte plants are able to survive and flourish in environments with high salinity levels. They grow in
many regions of the Arab World and Germany, but they are rarely utilized. AGYA members Ahmed Debez, Carsten Montzka, Skander Elleuche, and Jan Friesen investigated on an interdisciplinary level, how halophytes could play a role in the field of sustainable energy production in their paper "Facing the challenge of sustainable bioenergy production: Could halophytes be part of the solution?". Now, they have turned their scientific paper into a science comic.

The launch event features keynote lectures, a poster exhibition of the first AGYA science comic, as well as innovative salty culinary treats.



17:00        Welcome address
Dr. Henda Mahmoudi, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, member of the AGYA Steering Committee (tbc)

17:15        Keynotes
Halophytes in Classical Arabic Botany
Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer, Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Münster

The Challenges and Opportunities of Launching a Science Comic Series in the Arab World: Experiences from Egypt
Ashraf Amin, Head of the Science & Health Department, Al-Ahram Newspaper, Cairo

Picturing the Observer: Framing Telescopes and Microscopes in 19th Century Cartoons and Early Comics
Dr. Christian Bachmann, literary scholar and publisher, Berlin

18:30        The Making-of: From Scientific Paper to Science Comic
Dr. Jan Friesen, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department Catchment Hydrology, Leipzig, AGYA Co-President

19:00        Meet and Match Dinner
Buffet with Salicornia-treats & light refreshments

Moderator of the event:
Anna Gabai, comic scholar, curator, author and educationist, Berlin


Meet two of the protagonists of the graphic novel:

Sultan – My dearest Science Jinn, we have to travel to Berlin in Germany on 26 January 2018.

Science Jinn – Your Majesty wants me to leave our beautiful and warm oasis at the very heart of your blooming realm to go to Germany during the freezing cold and snowy winter?!

Sultan – We are invited as special guests to the launch of the first volume of our comic series “The HALOPHYTE tales”.

Science Jinn – Our first comic episode?

Sultan – God willing! Do you remember that I asked four young scholars from the Arab World and Germany to develop a concept of how to generate green energy from halophytes growing in hot, aridic and salty environments?

Science Jinn – Is Your Majesty talking about the review article in which they explain how to identify salt-loving plants and how to determine their growth behavior with regard to their nutrient requirements and soil conditions?!

Sultan – Indeed, they…

Science Jinn - …also they should map for Your Majesty the climate and potential arable lands, where these survival artists do not compete with edible food crops. Wheat and corn are usually not able to grow on salty soils, so we can spare land intended for agriculture. Right?

Sultan – Very good, little Science Jinn. Do you know what was the outcome that my four scientists found? Can we process plants that are rich in salt for the production of biofuels?

Science Jinn – For sure, Your Majesty. The smart scientists said that such plants must be physically or chemically pretreated to release long starchy sugar chains from the inner cell walls. These chains will be biologically processed to produce small sugar molecules. In a reactor the molecules can be directly converted into biofuels. But there is a problem: Because there is high salt concentration in the reactor, corrosion must be prevented. This also means that the biocatalysts, which are either microbial enzymes or the microbes themselves, must withstand the high salt concentration.

Sultan – Did my four scientists suggest a possible solution in this regard?

Science Jinn – Your Majesty’s four scholars proposed to identify salt-loving microbes that thrive in the saltiest environments on our planet including the Great Salt Lake or the Dead Sea.

Sultan – I am proud of my four scientists who found such a smart solution!

Science Jinn – Yep! Your Majesty. But I have a tiny question: Do we have to travel to Germany just to read the comic in which we are the main characters? This sounds a little weird to me.

Sultan – No, of course not, my dear friend. You will be nicely entertained by a wonderful expert talk on how halophytes have been used throughout history. We will also hear an expert on how much artistic freedom is allowed in the communication of scientific results. Moreover, there will be a presentation of the comic accompanied by delicious food that is prepared by my mother-in-law. She will assist a German cook, who invented a menu based on halophytes, or salt loving plants as you call them.

Science Jinn – And where will we meet them?

Sultan – They invited us to a beautiful old silent movie theatre in Berlin: Stummfilmkino Delphi in Gustav-Adolf-Str. 2, 13086 Berlin.

Science Jinn – Your Majesty is talking about this cool spot, which is actually the film location for one of the most famous German television series?! This really sounds awesome! I am so looking forward to meeting the four scientists there on 26 January 2018 at 5 pm!

Date, Time & Venue

26 January 2018, 5 - 9 PM,

Ehemaliges Stummfilmkino Delphi, Gustav-Adolf-Straße 2, 13086 Berlin



Contact & Registration

Due to limited seating please register until 25 January at:




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