About the Lecture
Established in 2015, the Dana M. Dourdeville Lecture on Engineering in Service to Society aims to bring high-profile speakers to campus whose career and impact embody the spirit of engineering in service to society. The speakers should inspire students to see the engineering discipline as one having an impact on society that is both profound and transformative.
"Imagining a Fully Sustainable Carbon Future of Materials and Energy"
Paul Dauenhauer is a chemical engineer developing new technologies for converting biomass—materials derived from organic, renewable sources—into the chemical building blocks of products that are currently sourced from fossil fuels. Most consumer products contain petroleum-based plastics, rubber, detergents, and other chemicals that harm the environment in several ways: from the extraction of the petroleum, to the energy inputs and waste materials associated with the production process, to the limited biodegradability of the resulting products. With expertise that spans reaction chemistry (specific chemical transformations) and catalysis engineering (accelerating reactions), Dauenhauer is opening new pathways for mitigating the environmental impacts of commodity chemicals.
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 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 2009, he joined the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. As of 2014, he is the Lanny and Charlotte Schmidt Professor and MacArthur Fellow at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. His published patent applications serve as the scientific foundation of three startup companies: Sironix Renewables, Activated Research Company, and enVerde, LLC.