Wednesday, October 14, 2015
3:30 MSU Bioeconomy Institute Auditorium (MAP)
The MSU Bioeconomy Institute speaker series is free, accessible and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Please call (517) 432-4499 for special accommodation. No RSVP required.
Patrick B. Smith, Ph.D.
Michigan Molecular Institute, Midland, Mich.
Critical Assessment of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Technology
There have been several attempts to commercialize poly(hydroxyalkanoate)s (PHA) over the past 3 decades, and commercial activities continue to this day.
PHA materials are actually a class of 3-hydroxybutyrate copolymers made by bacterial fermentation. Engineered bacteria, such as e-coli, produce copolymers within their cell wall of up to 80 percent of their mass, having molecular weights of several million. The microbiology of these systems is truly remarkable. This seminar will focus on the properties of these materials, the hurdles impeding their commercialization and prospects for the future.
Patrick B. Smith is a research scientist at the Michigan Molecular Institute. He received a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Michigan State University and then spent the next 30 years with The Dow Chemical Company, rising to the rank of Fellow prior to his retirement in 2007.
During his time with Dow, he served with Cargill Dow Polymers (which became NatureWorks) which launched the IngeoTM PLA line of products. After his retirement from Dow, he consulted with Archer Daniels Midland acting as ADM’s R&D leader for their joint venture with Metabolix that commercialized MirelTM PHA bio-polymers. He also supported ADM’s biobased propylene glycol product launch.
He is currently a research assistant professor at Michigan State University, an adjunct professor at Central Michigan University and a member of the American Chemical Society (2005 Midland Section Chair). He received the Midland Chapter Sigma Xi Award in 1987 and the Midland Chapter ACS Award for Outstanding Achievement and Promotion of the Chemical Sciences in 1998. He was named an ACS Fellow in 2013 and received the ACS Ann Nalley Award in 2014. He is also the recipient of Dow Analytical Science’s V. A. Stenger Award in 1984 and the Dow Michigan R&D Scientists’ Award in 1994.
He has co-authored nearly 500 Dow technical reports and 85 publications, and holds two patents.
Smith’s research at MMI is focused on renewable materials synthesis, characterization and commercial applications. These materials include a series of biobased hyperbranched polymers targeted to controlled release delivery applications, the conversion of biobased polyols into value-added derivatives and the development of new biobased pathways to existing petrochemicals.