Fuels and Chemicals from Renewable Resources: An Industrial Renaissance?


Date Thursday May 3rd 2007
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

For much of history our fuels and chemicals were obtained from renewable feedstocks such as wood. Around a hundred years ago, renewable resources began to be replaced by petroleum, a non-renewable resource. We are now in the midst of a renewable resource renaissance. The conversion of corn and sucrose from sugar cane to fuel ethanol is the best know example. However, a wide range of other fuels and chemicals are currently being developed. These developments involve state of the art biology (synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, systems biology, in silico biology, directed evolution), chemistry (metathesis, catalysis, nanotechnology) and process engineering. Many companies have recently been started and this is an active area for venture capital investment. In this talk, I will examine some of the products, technologies and companies that comprise this industrial renaissance.


Dr. Douglas C. Cameron is the Chief Scientific Officer of Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, California. He a director of Mascoma, LS9, Gevo, LanzaTech and Segetis, all companies focused on fuels and chemicals from renewable resources. From 1998 to 2006, he was director of biotechnology at Cargill, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN where he built the Cargill Biotechnology Development Center. From 1986 to 1998, Cameron was a professor of chemical engineering and an affiliate of the molecular biology program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and did pioneering research in the field of metabolic engineering and the microbial production of chemicals. He is a fellow of the Society for Industrial Microbiology (SIM) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He is on the managing board of the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), the board of directors of the Biobusiness Alliance of Minnesota and the outside advisory board of the Iowa Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing. Cameron is on the editorial board of the journal, Metabolic Engineering. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Wisconsin and a consulting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Cameron received his B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1979 and his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986.

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for¬†Commercialization.


Our scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.