James Trainham | AIChE

James Trainham


James A Trainham, Ph.D., is chief technology officer of JDC Phosphate.  JDC is developing a disruptive technology for the production of phosphoric acid.

Before joining JDC Phosphate he was a RTI (Research Triangle Institute) International vice president and distinguished fellow, and held a joint appointment as an Adjunct Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, which he still holds today. His research focused on solar fuels and high temperature energy storage.

Previous to RTI, Trainham directed research and development, engineering design, and scale-up for Sundrop Fuels, Inc., as acting CEO and senior vice president of Engineering.  Sundrop Fuels built the first megawatt scale solar biomass gasification pilot plant.

Prior to that role, Trainham was vice president of science and technology at PPG Industries for four years with global responsibility for research, development and product innovation.

He also enjoyed a 25-year career at the DuPont Company, where his last position was chief technology officer of Invista®, a $6.9 billion, global businesses that included nylon, polyester and Lycra® fibers, which DuPont sold to Koch Industries in 2004.  He led the development of a large number of new products and processes including Viton® fluoroelastomer, new fluoromonomers, HFC-134a (the replacement for Freon®12), terephthalic acid, polyester fiber, nylon fiber and Lycra® fiber.

Trainham has more than 40 patents and publications to his credit.

He has received multiple awards and honors including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. From AIChE, he has received the Award for Chemical Engineering Practice (2002) and the Industry Leadership Award (2016). He was selected in 2008 as "one of the 100 chemical engineers of the modern era" by the AIChE and was elected Fellow of the AIChE in 2012.

Trainham received bachelor's and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.