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K-State Today

October 5, 2016

Lecture series to focus on catalytic conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals

Submitted by Mary Rankin

James A. Dumesic, a Vilas research professor and the Michel Boudart professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin, will present "Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Fuels and Chemicals" at the L.T. Fan Lecture Series at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Engineering Hall Auditorium.

Lignocellulosic biomass is an important renewable source of carbon for the sustainable production of fuels, chemicals and materials. Dumesic will present an overview of his research on catalytic processing of biomass, with an emphasis on the synthesis of new catalytic materials and the elucidation of solvent effects for these processes.

Widely recognized as a leading researcher in the fields of catalysis and chemical engineering, Dumesic has co-founded two companies, Virent and Glucan Biorenewables, and pioneered new processes for creating bio-derived fuels and chemicals. He and colleagues at the Wisconsin Energy Institute recently created an efficient, scalable process for producing sugars that can then be converted into biofuels.

Dumesic earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his master's and doctorate degrees from Stanford University, all in chemical engineering. Among his many awards and honors in the field of catalysis and chemical engineering are election to the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors and National Academy of Sciences; and receiving the Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis from the American Chemical Society, the Burwell National Lectureship from the North American Catalysis Society, the inaugural Heinz Heinemann Award from the International Association of Catalysis Societies and the William H. Walker Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for outstanding contributions to chemical engineering literature.

The L.T. Fan Lectureship in Chemical Engineering was established in 2000 to bring preeminent individuals in chemical engineering or related fields to speak at K-State. The late L.T. Fan was a university distinguished professor, served as head of the department of chemical engineering at K-State for 30 years, launched the doctoral program in the department and is credited with modernizing the chemical engineering curriculum.

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