Research Week.

Vice President for Research Distinguished Lecture

Jennifer Holmgren.

Jennifer Holmgren, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Join us via Zoom Wednesday, October 18 at 9:00 am.

Innovating for a CarbonSmart Future

If we are to achieve climate goals, we need a systems-level view and solutions that can draw on multiple sources of waste carbon.

Advances in technology and a global momentum to avert the deepening climate crisis have brought us to the cusp of a new industrial era in which recycled carbon will be the feedstock to produce the climate-safe materials and fuels that are today made from oil.

Reaching the global net-zero carbon goals set by recent international agreements requires an all-encompassing approach that includes utilization of industrial waste carbon gas and recycling of solid waste carbon. Commercialized gas fermentation technology is an example of a novel process converting waste carbon emitted from an industrial process (steel production) into a platform molecule (ethanol). This platform ethanol can then be upgraded into consumer products (jet fuel, clothing, plastic bottles, etc.). Once these consumer products have reached the end of their lifetimes and become municipal solid waste (MSW), they can be recycled via gasification/fermentation into new consumer products, completing the carbon circle.

The breadth of gaseous (steel mill, etc.) and solid (MSW, biomass, etc.) carbon sources used to feed carbon recycling processes will be discussed, highlighting the positive impact such an approach can have on land and water use.
A transition from oil refining to “carbon refining” enables us to turn the threat of the climate crisis into an opportunity for industrial rebirth, distributed sustainable production, domestic supply chain security, and economic development in both rural and underrepresented industrial zones.

A carbon refining strategy offers a pathway to re-invigorate these domestic communities with a diversity of green manufacturing jobs that leverage the latest technologies from the energy, chemical and biotech industries.
The only way we will meet our goals, however, is through new approaches to financing and deployment to cross the so-called Valley of Death. We must equally start to embrace distributed systems of production.

This presentation will address the scaling up of carbon recycling technology and what it takes to cross the Valley of Death as an innovator, including how innovations in financing can help turn “impossible” ideas into reality!

About Dr. Holmgren

Dr. Jennifer Holmgren is CEO of LanzaTech. Under Jennifer’s guidance, LanzaTech is developing a variety of platform chemicals and fuels, including the world’s first alternative jet fuel derived from industrial waste gases. She is also the Director and Chair of the LanzaJet Board of Directors. Prior to LanzaTech, Jennifer was VP and General Manager of the Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit at UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company. While there, she was a key driver of their leadership in low carbon aviation biofuels.

Jennifer has authored or co-authored 50 U.S. patents and more than 30 scientific publications and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is on the Governing Council for the Bio Energy Research Institute in India. The institute has been set up by the DBT (Department of Biotechnology, Indian Government) and IOC (Indian Oil Corporation). She also sits on the Board of Directors of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), the Board of Directors of Nature’s Fynd, the Advisory Council for the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University, the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES), the External Advisory Committee for the Advanced Energy Technologies Directorate (AET) at Argonne National Laboratory, the Advisory Council for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the Halliburton Labs Advisory Board, the Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS International Advisory Council, and the Founder Advisory for The Engine, a venture capital fund built by MIT that invests in early-stage science and engineering companies.

Jennifer holds a B.Sc. degree from Harvey Mudd College, a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and an MBA from the University of Chicago.