Biorefining as America’s Newest Frontier | AIChE

Biorefining as America’s Newest Frontier

Tuesday, November 9, 2021,
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Virtual / Online

TOPIC: Biorefining as America’s Newest Frontier

SPEAKER: Stephen C. Chmely, PhD,  Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State University

DATE: Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

TIME: 6:00  Career Discussion

              6:15  Presentation and Q&A

LOCATION: Online Zoom Meeting

COST: Free, Registration required below

ABSTRACT:  Research in my lab addresses the unique requirements inherent to biomass valorization and seeks to explore the Frontiers in Biorefining. In the first portion of my talk, I will introduce a conceptual framework for biorefining. Then, I will discuss the centerpiece of my laboratory’s research, which is catalytic transfer hydrogenolysis of whole biomass as a new biorefining technology. Using this technology, isolating high-quality and high-purity lignin-derived monomers will be possible. Finally, I will discuss using these lignin monomers as a feedstock for new soft materials. For example, these materials can be engineered into photopolymerizable resins and employed as UV-curable coatings for wood products or feedstocks for stereolithography-based 3D printing. Overall, the combination of catalytic deconstruction and judicious chemical modification of woody and agricultural biomass affords a new material platform, which enables production of new bio-advantaged soft materials.

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Stephen Chmely is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological engineering at Penn State. Dr. Chmely’s research involves catalytic transformations of biomass and biomass fractions to produce innovative platform molecules. Work in his lab also focuses on producing novel bio-based soft materials that are relevant to additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Steve received an AS in Chemistry from Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin, TN, Go Pioneers!) in 2003, a BS in Chemistry and Physics from Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY, Go ‘Tops!) in 2006, and a PhD in synthetic inorganic chemistry from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN, Go ‘Dores!) in 2010. He spent 2 years as a postdoctoral research associate at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, where he studied lignin valorization strategies, and 6 years as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Renewable Carbon. In addition to his research projects, Dr. Chmely is interested in in-reach and outreach efforts to enable the meaningful participation of women and underrepresented groups in STEM. He lives with his wife, daughter, and cat in Happy Valley, and enjoys cooking and playing the piano in his spare time.