top of page

Track 3 Session Details

AFCC Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions are 90 minutes, each one has one moderator with a maximum of four speakers.


Breakout sessions will be focused on the following four subject areas:



Track 3 Breakout Session Details

Renewable Specialty Chemicals

This Track is Sponsored by:

Monday, November 7, 2022 - RiverView 4


Session 1: 8 AM to 9:30 AM : Enzyme and Cell-free Technologies for Production of Sustainable Chemicals

David Demirjian.jpg

Moderator: David Demirjian, President, Midwest Bioprocessing Center


William Armiger.jpg

William Armiger



David Babson.jpg

David Babson

Program Director


Ken Barrett.jpg

Ken Barrett

Chief Business Officer


Elizabeth Onderko.jpg

Elizabeth Onderko


Capra Biosciences

Eric Steen.jpg

Eric Steen

CEO & Co-founder


Fermentation has generally been the method of choice for production of commodity, specialty and even fine chemicals. Except in a few notable cases such as production of high fructose corn syrup and other simple glycolytic processes, isolated enzyme systems are generally reserved for smaller reactions and rarely involve multiple enzymatic steps. Challenges with implementing these systems on larger scale the stability of the enzymes involved and the expense/need to use expensive cofactors for certain types of reactions. There are many advantages, however, to developing enzymatic and cell-free systems, such as improved purity of product and higher reaction concentrations. In order to achieve a broader range of sustainable biotechnology solutions we need to move into advanced technology and engineering. This session will focus on a discussion of various methods and advances in new technologies for cell-free or continuous enzymatic production of value-added sustainable chemicals in a variety of application areas – from cosmetics to commodity chemicals. It will discuss both mature and new innovative technologies that allow the cost-effective production of these at larger and larger scales. The discussion will include technology such as stabilized enzymes, electrochemical regeneration of cofactors, and technology innovation funding opportunities including programs from ARPA-e.

Ken Barrett, Chief Business Officer, Arzeda


Bio-FDCA™ Abstract for AFCC The growing concerns surrounding plastics have reached a crescendo, with consumers, companies, non-profits, and NGOs looking for new materials that are both bio-based, recyclable and/or biodegradable. PEF, or Poly-Ethylene Furanoate, is a drop-in replacement for PET, with inherently better functional properties, including improved oxygen barrier, better strength-to-weight ratios, and improved thermal properties. In addition, PEF can be 100% bio-derived, whereas PET is limited to just 33% bio-based content, using current technologies. The limiting factor to broader adoption of PET, however, has been the cost and availability of the FDCA monomer. While FDCA can be produced using 100% bio-based feedstock, most of current production technologies are significantly more expensive than PTA, the equivalent monomer in PET. That cost disadvantage notwithstanding, many companies are developing commercial demonstration plants, and have secured offtake agreements. Arezda, the Protein Design Company™, in partnership with BP, has developed a novel route to produce FDCA, resulting in a significant cost savings versus existing technologies. Our Bio-FDCA™ technology involves a combination of fermentation, biocatalysis using enzymes, and a final chemical oxidation step that is well established. Arzeda will introduce this production technology this Fall, and will be seeking partners to scale up the process via a demonstration facility. This talk will describe how the technology was developed and detail how the key enzyme was developed using Arzeda’s computational protein design technology. We will then describe the key technical results that have been achieved to de-risk its commercialization.


Elizabeth Onderko, CEO, Capra Biosciences

Biofilm Reactors as a Platform for Sustainable Chemical

In order to achieve the widespread production and adoption of bio-based chemicals, it is critical that biomanufacturing technologies are scalable in terms of cost, volume, and global impact. The underlying fermentation technology used for chemical production has not significantly changed for decades, relying on refined sugar feedstocks, a narrow range of production organisms, and fermentation vessels ill equipped to produce the range of chemicals needed for a post-petroleum world. The bioreactor technology developed by Capra Biosciences uses a biofilm-forming organism which enables a modular, continuous flow design that can easily scale. We will describe how our modular bioreactor platform can enable distributed, domestic manufacturing to provide cost-competitive products from locally sourced feedstocks.

Session 2: 10 AM to 11:30 AM:  Advancing Sustainability Through Key Strategic Partnerships

Carolyn Fritz.jpg

Moderator: Carolyn Fritz, President, Fritz Consulting LLC


Matt Lipscomb.jpg

Matthew Lipscomb


DMC Biotechnologies

Tim McCaffery.jpg

Tim McCaffery

Global Business Director, New Materials and Technology


Ben Dolman.jpg

Ben Dolman


Holiferm Limited

Louis Snyders.jpg

Louis Snyders

Global Director Fabric, Home Care and I&I

Sasol Chemicals

New renewable chemicals show promise as economically competitive, sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based chemicals.  A significant challenge is surviving the “valley of death” of early commercialization. Key strategic partnerships between innovative early-stage companies and established chemical companies with reliable supply chains and strong customer relationships can de-risk commercialization.  These strategic relationships not only allow early-stage companies accelerate market adoption of their new renewable chemicals but also help established chemical companies reach their sustainability and decarbonization objectives. 

​Session 3: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM: Renewable Ingredients for Fragrances, Flavors, and Personal Care Markets

Craig Bettenhausen.jpg

Moderator: Craig Bettenhausen, Associate Editor, Chemical & Engineering News


Asfia Qureshi.jpg

Asfia Qureshi

Head of Application Technology


David Ramjohn.jpg

David Ramjohn


AlgEternal Technologies, LLC

John Shaw.jpg

John Shaw


Itaconix PLC

Mark Miller Nagase.jpg

Mark Miller

President & COO

NAGASE Specialty Materials

​Mark Miller, President & COO, NAGASE Specialty Materials

A Holistic View of Sustainability

Sustainability is more than synthesizing, sourcing and formulating with renewable materials, reducing waste and optimizing your value chain in the Personal Care, Home Care and Food market segments – it is a holistic approach and commitment to the Stakeholders that you, your organization and products impact. The purpose of this presentation is to examine how our organizations can deploy a holistic approach to sustainability that marries excellence in product creation for our relevant customers and market segments with activities that touch six relevant pillars related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These pillars include: Employees First; Customers & Collaboration; Community; Climate & Environment; Energy Optimization; Governance & Financial Performance. The speaker will provide several illustrative examples of technologies, processes and services.

Asfia Qureshi, Head of Application Technology, BASF

Industrial Biotechnology at BASF: A Key to Developing Sustainable Solutions

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We are targeting a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions and energy purchases by 2030, compared to 2018 values, and have the ambitious target of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. In 2018, BASF had already achieved a 50% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990. One way we are doing this is by employing renewable raw materials, mainly based on vegetable oils, fats, grains, sugar, and wood. In 2021, we purchased around 1.3 million metric tons of renewable raw materials. For instance, we use renewable resources to produce ingredients for the detergent and cleaning industry, or to source natural active ingredients for the cosmetics industry. We are using both biotechnology-enabled process and product innovation in our enzymes, vitamins, agricultural solutions and aroma ingredients businesses and several examples will be presented.

David Ramjohn, CEO, AlgEternal Technologies, LLC

Algae-based Skin Care and Other Non-fuel Products from Microalgae

Algae’s potential as a third-generation biofuel has been the focus of research and development for decades; however, failure to achieve commercial success in biofuels, because of inability to grow algae at commercial scales, necessitated the industry shifting focus to non-fuel products and services ranging from food, feed, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, biomaterials, specialty chemicals, to ecosystem services. AlgEternal Technologies, LLC’s patented photobioreactor (PBR) technology can produce algae biomass at commodity scale for use as feedstock for non-fuel products and ecosystem services. AlgEternal’s photobioreactors have been in production continuously for over five (5) years, with two finished products currently on the market. AlgEternal currently produces the AlgAllure® AlgaRiche® line of facial skin care products containing PhycoDerm®, an extract from a marine red microalga, and ElixEarth®, a line of green algae-based soil amendments. On the market since 2018, both products have received glowing testimonials from end users. AlgEternal intends to expand their offerings in skin care and soil amendments, as well as to develop new products in other industry verticals such as food, feed, biomaterials, and ecosystem services such as carbon capture and use, and wastewater treatment. Ultimately, AlgEternal’s vision is to supply algal biomass as feedstock in a biorefinery model as a regenerative alternative to fossil hydrocarbons.

John Shaw, CEO, Itaconix PLC

Performance and Value from Plant-Based Personal Care Ingredients

Itaconix decarbonizes everyday products with plant-based ingredients that deliver safety, performance, and sustainability. New functional ingredients are emerging from the Itaconix technology platform to expand the VELASOFT® beauty and VELAFRESH® hygiene product lines for a new generation of personal care products. The Company will be announcing a new VELASOFT® product for improving the health and shine of hair.

​Session 4: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM: Industrial Biotech Pathways: Amino Acids, Succinic Acid, Fatty Acids

Brent Aufdembrink.jpg

Moderator: Brent Aufdembrink, Applications Technical Director, Cargill


Tina Boville.jpg

Tina Boville


Aralez Bio

Cesar Granda.jpg

Cesar Granda

Chief Technology Officer

BioVeritas, LLC

Dexter Hsu_edited.png

Dexter Hsu

General Manager LCY Bioscience

Andreas Kohl.jpg

Andreas Kohl

CEO, Head of Business Development, VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG

Kelly Smith.jpg

Kelly Smith

Vice President of Research & Development

DMC Biotechnologies

​Tina Boville, CEO, Aralez Bio

Engineering Enzymes for Green Manufacturing of Noncanonical Amino Acids

Aralez Bio uses biocatalysis to unlock noncanonical amino acids. Using directed evolution—for which co-founder Frances Arnold won the Nobel Prize—we develop enzymes to synthesize new amino acids needed for innovations in pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture, and functional materials. Aralez Bio’s process is 10x simpler, 10x cheaper, 200x faster, and 50x greener than conventional approaches, paving the way to broad commercialization of new amino acids. These amino acids have the capability to replace petroleum-based raw materials and usher in an era of products built on unique, low-cost, green amino acids.


Cesar Granda, Chief Technology Officer, BioVeritas, LLC

The Quest for Natural and Renewable Chemicals: A Bio-Based Platform that Can Effectively Replace the Petrochemical Platform

The petrochemical platform enjoys many advantages that most renewable bioconversion processes do not. It consists of many stable, chemically malleable molecule intermediates of different carbon-chain lengths, which can be relatively inexpensively transported to a large, centralized refinery, thus attaining economies of scale, from which hundreds of products can be generated to cover a wide range of industrial and consumer-based applications. Most bioconversion processes in the renewable field tend to produce only one or two products or chemical intermediates that are difficult to upgrade. A robust bio-conversion process, which can inexpensively produce a wide range of chemically malleable intermediates, which can then be transported to a centralized bio-refinery, is necessary to effectively replace the petrochemical platform. Methane-arrested anaerobic digestion (MAAD) is an inexpensive robust microbial conversion process, which produces short- and medium-chain fatty acids ranging from 2- to 8-carbon in length (i.e, acetic through caprylic acids). As their petrochemical counterparts, these natural organic acids, which are valuable themselves in the acid or salt form, also enjoy a rich chemistry, which allows them to become building blocks in the manufacture of hundreds of useful chemicals. MAAD employs natural consortia of microorganisms that adapt very efficiently to most operating conditions and organic feedstocks and it requires no aseptic conditions, no GMOs, and no extraneous enzymes. As a result, MAAD is also the most inexpensive and globally replicable bio-conversion process. BioVeritas is commercializing a MAAD technology, which offers a real opportunity to become a true renewable chemical platform.


Dexter Hsu, General Manager, LCY Bioscience

Make Bioplastics an economical and sustainable solution towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

One-time-use plastics are destroying the environment at alarming rates. Bio-degradable plastics are considered to be a sustainable green solution to eliminate one-time-use plastic. This demand is the driving force behind increased growth for PBS, PLA and PBAT markets. Through policy change and social pressure, governments and corporate net-zero commitments are forcing petrochemical industries to cut emissions by 2050. This leads to a serious review of high-value chemicals used as feedstock to manufacture goods. According to the latest Bloomberg report, these productions are responsible for up to 2% of global emissions (equivalent to the aviation industry’s contributions). Research shows that bioplastics are definitely a possibility but constrained by the costs of bio-production and availability of biomass. Multiple pathways are identified for net-zero such as carbon capture/storage, electrification, and circular economics. Among them, bioplastics are currently the only commercialized net-zero route. The challenge for bioplastics is the overall cost. Improving technologies will reduce costs and policy makers applying carbon tax to petro-based products will close the gap. For mature bio-production such as bio-succinic-acid, economic scales become as important as a typical chicken-and-egg dilemma. Downstream users need bio-succinic acid to grow in scale in order to produce more efficiently and increase demand. With the ever-increasing demand of net-zero, customers are demanding derivatives of bio-succinic-acid such as Bio-BDO and THF. This will further expand the economic scale of bio-succinic-acid. It is an old topic but seems to be the driving force in the next chapter of bio-production.

Andreas Kohl, CEO, Head of Business Development

VERBIO is providing biobased medium chain FA esters, alpha olefins and long chain diacid for the Chemical Industry by metathesis

Reacting to the growing market needs in the chemical industry for biobased, renewable and chemicals with a low CO2 footprint, VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG has developed a process and a unique new catalyst system to produce methyl-9-decenoate (9DAME), 1-decene and C18 diacids derivatives from renewable rapeseed methyl ester by olefin metathesis / ethenolysis, commercializing a new platform for renewable specialty chemicals. The new process VerBioChem, provides access to functionalized and unfunctionalized medium chain C10 alpha olefins in an environmentally friendly and economically attractive way from readily available renewable rapeseed methyl ester. Furthermore, the metathesis platform can be used to produce a number of useful C18 diacids e.g. Dimethyl-9-octadecenedioate (9ODDAME) or Dimethyl octadecanediaote by self-metathesis as new biobased building blocks for the chemical and especially the polymer industry. Verbio will construct a first-of-its-kind commercial scale ethenolysis and catalyst production plant in Germany and Hungary respectively. In a first step, Verbio will invest in a ethenolysis plant with a nominal capacity 50-60 ktpa of products. The investment will provide Verbio’s customers access to biobased specialty chemicals with a low CO2 footprint at commercial scale by 2024/25. The catalyst production plant of XiMo Hungary kft will have a capacity of 10-12 tpa and will provide access to Schrock type metathesis catalysts for Verbio as well as for external customers.

Kelly Smith, Vice President of Research & Development, DMC Biotechnologies

Not Just Baby Formula: How New Biomanufacturing Technologies Can Make Our Food Supply Chains More Resilient

This year’s shortage of baby formula shed light on how monopolization, poor government oversight, fragile international supply chains, unexpected natural disasters, and political conflicts all threaten the security of our food supply. These same threats could result in the U.S. experiencing a shortage of the amino acids, vitamins, and other chemical compounds we use in animal feeds and human nutrition products. Biomanufacturing technology offers us the opportunity to lower the risk of such shortages by enabling us to cost-effectively localize and diversify the production of these chemicals. But until recently a scalable platform for cost-effectively on-shoring the biomanufacturing of a wide variety of chemicals has remained elusive. DMC Biotechnologies has launched an innovative new two-stage approach to biomanufacturing that allows businesses to cost-effectively, locally, and sustainably scale up production of bio-based chemicals. DMC’s platform is being used today to produce amino acids, sweeteners, and other products for the human nutrition market, and with scale can allow the U.S. to on-shore and diversify chemical production. As an added benefit, localized chemical production can help reduce the GHG emissions associated with shipping chemicals over long distances. This talk will further explore the risk that conventional chemical production poses to U.S. food security. It will also examine in detail how a more simplified approach to the engineering of biology allows us to transform how we produce chemicals. With this new approach, we can now rapidly, predictably, and robustly scale up the biomanufacturing of a wide variety of chemical products.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - RiverView 4

​Session 5: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM: Vision to Profitably Manufacture Renewable Specialty Products

Antoine Schellinger.jpg

Moderator: Antoine Schellinger, SVP Corporate Development, Koch Project Solutions


Rick Cochrane.jpeg

Rick Cochrane

SVP, Commercialization & Business Development

Viridis Chemical

Aaron Fitzgerald.jpg

Aaron Fitzgerald


Mars Materials

Martha Marrapese.jpg

Martha Marrapese


Wiley Rein, LLP

Nirav Patel.jpg

Nirav Patel


Big Hill Industries

Albert Vitale.jpg

Albert Vitale


Alfa Green Solutions

Each panelist represents a unique slant on how to profitably manufacture specialty products from bio-based materials. They will describe building the supply chain, regulatory activities, and achieving sustainability at scale.

Martha Marrapese, Partner, Wiley Rein, LLP

Vision to Profitability Manufacture Renewable Specialty Products - Regulatory Barriers and Benefits

Ms. Marrapese, an environmental regulatory attorney with 30 years of experience, will present on the unique, use-based federal clearance framework for new renewable chemicals. An explanation of the new chemical approval process for industrial applications under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will include the barriers and uncertainties that the current implementation of this program by EPA presents for innovations and their product launch schedules. Suggestions for navigating this complex process will be offered, and Ms. Marrapese will conclude with a comparison of TSCA with other types of federal product clearance timelines to emphasize the influence of regulatory clearance requirements on the profitability of renewable chemicals.

Nirav Patel, CEO, Big Hill Industries

Big Hill Industries is a leading Hydrogen Fuel Developer. Big Hill is developing Giga-scale hydrogen production facilities.

While the world is pushing towards a decarbonized future, it still requires a reliable source of fuel that is capable of replacing the hydrocarbon fuels of today. This new source of fuel has yet to be developed. Of the current options, hydrogen serves as the best medium to achieve the goal of turning the industrial and commercial sectors 100% green. Hydrogen has a similar power to weight ratio as its hydrocarbon equivalents (vs 500:1 in batteries) and hydrogen-based e-fuels work better with existing infrastructure than EVs. The infrastructure for developing hydrogen-based energy is just beginning to be built up around the world. Governments and Investors are coming together to build a sustainable hydrogen economy. With the passage of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act in the US, there are now strong economic incentives to accelerate the buildout of a hydrogen infrastructure and economic system. Big Hill is establishing its foothold in this new hydrogen economy with its first site in the East Matagorda Bay in South Texas, USA.

​Session 6: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM: Roadblocks and Opportunities for the Development of the US Industrial Biotechnology Manufacturing Landscape

Ajikumar Parail.jpg

Moderator: Ajikumar Parayil, CEO, Manus Bio


Gayle Bentley.jpg

Gayle Bentley

Technical Manager

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO)

Mary Maxon.jpeg

Mary Maxon

Executive Director of BioFutures,

Schmidt Futures

Edward S.png

Edward Shenderovich

Co-Founder & CEO



Kate Sixt

Biotechnology, Office of the Under Secretary of Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E), Department of Defense

Phil Van Trump.jpg

Phil Van Trump


Danimer Scientific

Mark Warner.jpg

Mark Warner


Liberation Labs

The promise of industrial biotechnology innovation changing the chemical products landscape has been touted for decades due to its many benefits surrounding sustainability and product accessibility. However, few technologies have been successfully implemented within the industry with a primary roadblock being the lack of manufacturing capabilities within the US. This lack of capabilities has led many to seek contract manufacturing internationally or eliminate projects, stifling the development of a US industrial biotechnology manufacturing landscape. Additionally, a trend of technologies funded by US federal agencies being scaled up internationally furthers the issue. A recent publication in Science, titled “Enabling commercial success of industrial biotechnology,” identified three necessary areas of development: translational policy, investment in infrastructure, and workforce education. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the US will be a leader in this industry that will shape the future economy and secure supply chains necessary for national security. This panel will discuss the roadblocks that have up to this point prevented a bioindustrial manufacturing ecosystem from coalescing, the actions that are being taken to enable its development including policy moving through Congress, and opportunities for the future.

bottom of page