Biological and Agricultural Engineering

BAE Departmental Seminar: Creating Commercial Markets for Bioproducts and the Role of Agriculture

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
2:10 PM

BAE Departmental Seminar


Creating Commercial Markets for Bioproducts and the Role of Agriculture


William J. Orts, Research Leader, USDA Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CA

This presentation focuses on production of commercially‐viable products from agriculturally‐derived biopolymers, including biopolymers and ag‐derived fiber sources, characterizing their functionality as it relates to market needs. Applications include creation of drop‐in‐replacement biodegradable bioplastics, sustainable composites, and novel nanocomposites. The presentation will outline market needs, with special consideration to development of degradable single‐use items, such as cups, bowls, dinnerware and packaging, as well as development of sustainable composites that displace petroleumderived materials. Discussion will also include 20‐plus years of research on nanocrystalline cellulose
and its role in commercial products.

Dr. Orts has over 30 years experience in research related to bioproducts and biofuels with more than 175 publications and 125 invited presentations and 10 patents. His MSc work focused on fermentation scale‐up of gums derived from fermenting wood‐derived sugars as part of a wood‐to‐biofuels
biorefinery. His PhD work was carried out at the Xerox Research labs on developing poly(hydroxyalkanoates), PHA, as a commercial biopolymer. Dr. Orts leads a team of USDA researchers that optimizes strategies for biorefinery operation, especially focused on biomass sources found in the
Western U.S. This includes research on biopolymer development, biorefinery design, nanotechnology and nanocomposites, x‐ray/neutron scattering characterization, industrial microbiology, and enzyme engineering.

Refreshments will be served.

2045 Bainer Hall University of California Davis

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