2011 NIChE workshop - Catalysis and Alternative Feedstocks in the Biofuels Industry

September 21-22, 2011, University of Delaware

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Speaker Bios

  • Bob Cassidy (Air Liquide): Bob Cassidy is Director Business Development and Government Affairs for Air Liquide Large Industries U.S. LP based in Houston, Texas. In this position, he is responsible for the development of new industrial gas investment projects in North America with special focus on “energy conversion” which includes gasification, oxy-combustion, and biofuels.  He is also responsible for liason and business development with US government entities sponsoring programs and projects in the areas of energy conversion.  Bob has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering, holds five technology patents, and has authored or co-authored several articles regarding separations technologies and hydrogen optimization.
  • Randy D. Cortright (Virent): Randy D. Cortright is the founder and Chief Technical Officer of Virent Inc.  He has over 35 years experience in the field of catalytic processing of both fossil fuel and biomass-derived feedstocks into chemicals and fuels.  Dr. Cortright’s background includes research and development, process design, start-up, and operations of large scale industrial catalytic processes at UOP LLC, a provider of petroleum and petrochemical process technologies.  He received BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.  After leaving UOP, Dr. Cortright earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering, from the University of Wisconsin.  While working at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Cortright co-invented Aqueous Phase Reforming, the innovative pathway to biofuels and bioproducts used by Virent’s BioForming® technology platform.   In 2009, Dr. Cortright and Virent Energy Systems were recognized as one of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers.
  • Paul Dauenhauer (UMass Amherst): Paul Dauenhauer received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2004, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2008, where he was awarded a University Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. His thesis on the reactive flash volatilization of carbohydrates for millisecond reforming of biomass was supervised by Professor Lanny D. Schmidt. From 2008 to 2009, Paul worked as a senior research engineer for the Dow Chemical Company within Core R&D Reaction Engineering in Midland, MI and the Hydrocarbons & Energy Department in Freeport, TX. In 2009, he joined the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Chemical Engineering where he is now an assistant professor.
  • Thomas D. Foust (NABC): Thomas Foust is the Executive Director of the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC).  The NABC has a three-year mission to develop to a near pilot ready state advanced biofuels that are “drop-in” supplements to gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. Prior to recently taking on this role, he was the Biofuels Research Director at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In this role he guided and directed NREL’s research efforts to develop biomass conversion technology to fuels via biochemical and thermochemical conversion routes as well as critical research areas addressing the sustainability of biofuels.  Dr. Foust has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a M.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer.
  • Laurel Harmon (LanzaTech): Laurel Harmon is Vice President for Government Relations at LanzaTech.  Before joining LanzaTech, Laurel was an industry consultant in the areas of energy, advanced materials, renewable fuels and chemicals.  She received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Michigan.
  • George W. Huber (UMass Amherst): George Huber is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  His research focus is on Breaking the Chemical and Engineering Barriers to Lignocellulosic Biofuels.  George’s discovery of Raney-NiSn catalyst for hydrogen production from biomass-derived oxygenates was named as one of top 50 technology breakthroughs of 2003 by Scientific America.  Prior to his appointment at UMass-Amherst, George did a post-doctoral stay with Avelino Corma at the Technical Chemical Institute at the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain (UPV-CSIC) where he studied bio-fuels production using petroleum refining technologies.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005) where he helped develop aqueous-phase catalytic processes for biofuels production under the guidance of James A. DumesicHe obtained his B.S. (1999) and M.S.(2000) degrees from Brigham Young University, where he studied Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis under the direction of Calvin H. Bartholomew.
  • David L. King (PNNL): David King is a Laboratory Fellow and the Team Lead of the Catalysis Science and Application Group at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington.  He is currently co-lead for the Energy Conversion Initiative, a laboratory level initiative which has as its goal to develop PNNL as a Center of Excellence for Air- and Water-Neutral Hydrocarbon Conversions, with a major focus on clean coal and CO2 capture technologies. Dr. King has served as principal investigator and project manager for several programs at PNNL, including solid oxide on-anode natural gas reforming, liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuel desulfurization, hydrogen production from bio-derived liquids, and SOx removal from diesel engine emissions Dr. King holds fifteen patents, (with several pending), over forty five peer reviewed publications, and has a Ph. D. from Harvard University in physical chemistry.
  • Michael T. Klein (UDel): Mike Klein started his career at the University of Delaware, where he served as the Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering as well as Department Chair, Director of the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, and Associate Dean.  He then moved to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to become the Dean of Engineering and the Board of Governors Professor of Chemical Engineering.  On July 1, 2010, he returned to the University of Delaware to assume his present position as the Director of the University of Delaware Energy Institute and the Dan Rich Chair of Energy.  Professor Klein received a BChE from the University of Delaware in 1977 and a Sc. D. from MIT in 1981, both in Chemical Engineering.  The author of over 200 technical papers and the lead author of the text Molecular Modeling in Heavy Hydrocarbon Conversions, he is active in research in the area of chemical reaction engineering, with special emphasis on the kinetics of complex systems.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the ACS journal Energy and Fuels and has received the R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from the AIChE, the NSF PYI Award and the ACS Delaware Valley Section Award.  In 2011 Professor Klein was elevated to the level of Fellow of the ACS.
  • Joseph B. Powell (Shell): Joe Powell joined the Chemical Development Department at Shell’s Westhollow Technology Center (Houston) in 1988, where he has led major R&D programs including new technology for the production of Bisphenol-A, and innovation and commercialization of a process route to1,3-Propanediol.  Dr. Powell has been granted more than 45 U.S. patents and several industry awards, and is co-editor and chapter author of Sustainable Development in the Process Industries:  Cases and Impact (Wiley, 2010). In addition to his Chief Scientist role for the global Shell organization, Dr. Powell leads a Hunters network for identification of new technologies, while also continuing his process R&D role in programs directed toward chemicals, biofuels, enhanced oil recovery, and related energy topics.  Dr. Powell obtained his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1984.
  • Daniel E. Resasco (University of Oklahoma): Dan Resasco is a Professor of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He holds the D. Bourne endowed Chair.  He received his PhD from Yale University in 1983.  He is author of more than 190 publications and 30 industrial patents in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis and carbon nanotubes.  He has been a Presidential Professor, S. Wilson Professor, and in the last few years he was awarded the Oklahoma Chemist of the Year award by the American Chemical Society, the Yale Science and Engineering Association award, and the Regents Award for Superior Research.  He is the founder of SouthWest Nanotechnologies, a commercial carbon nanotube producer that operates in Norman, OK.  He has been Editor of the Journal of Catalysis, and has been a member of the editorial board of Applied Catalysis and Journal of Catalysis.
  • Brent Shanks (Iowa State): Brent Shanks is the Mike and Jean Steffenson Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University and Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC).  He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1983 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and 1988, respectively.  From 1988 to 1999 he worked as a Research Engineer and Department Manager in the Catalyst Department at the Shell Chemical Company technology center in Houston, Texas.  While at Shell, he was involved in the development and commercialization of a number of catalysts used in petrochemicals production.  He joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 1999 where his work has primarily involved the research and development of novel heterogeneous catalyst systems for efficiently converting biological-based feedstocks to chemicals and fuels.
  • Dr. Robert Weber (Sunrise Ridge Algae): Bob Weber is the Chief Technology Officer of Sunrise Ridge Algae Inc. Previously, Dr. Weber was a director at TIAX LLC, before which he was a principal at Arthur D. Little, Inc. and a member of the chemical engineering faculties at the University of Delaware and at Yale University. At Yale he also served for two years as the Associate Dean for Natural Sciences of the Graduate School.  Dr. Weber received a BA from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford University.

NIChE Workshop Program Committee

  • Chair – Mark Barteau, University of Delaware
  • David Hamilton, Shell Global Research
  • Joseph Kocal, UOP
  • Ted Krause, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Charles Peden, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


  • Air Products
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Energy & Fuels
  • University of Delaware, Energy Institute
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • UOP - A Honeywell Company