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NWSCT Newsletter & 2012 Educational Symposium

The March meeting was held at 3M's Innovation Center on the 13th. Steve Amos, Senior Product Development Specialist for 3M's Energy and Advanced Materials Divsion, presented "3M Glass Bubbles, History, Coatings Applications and Future Potential" and the meeting ended with a tour of the Innovation Center.

The NWSCT would like to welcome the following new members: Jonathan Wegner with Van Technologies and Joseph Wirth of Twin City Container.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 10th. The NWSCT will be hosting NDSU students and faculty for our annual Educational Symposium. The symposium will be held at Valspar R&D (312 South 11th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415) and will feature two speakers: Dr. Stuart Croll and Olena Kudina (student). The cost for this meeting will be $20 per person and includes lunch. If you are interested in attending please sign up and pay via PayPal on the NWSCT Website (Click Here) by Friday, April 6th. If you wish to pay via cash or check the day of, please contact Wally Kesler to RSVP via email (wkesler@valspar.com) or phone (612-375-7391) by Friday, April 6th so that we can get an accurate head count for lunch. We encourage everyone to invite your co-workers to join us for this meeting so we can have a very high attendance! Limited parking will be available in the Valspar Guest parking on a first come basis or street/metered parking is available.

Dr. Croll will be presenting: "Overview of Research at North Dakota State University on replacing petrochemicals with biobased building blocks for polymer and composite products."


It has become increasingly clear that petrochemical reserves will be depleted in the foreseeable future. In order to sustain the supply of chemicals and chemical products, an alternative source of suitable chemicals must be made available. The most natural alternative is to use biomass, however, the products must be at least as capable as those derived from petrochemicals.

There are two approaches. One is to make the same starting chemicals from biomass as are currently available from petrochemicals. Research in the Chemistry department at NDSU is examining new catalytic approaches for this and research in the department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials is directed towards methods of employing enzymes to achieve efficient production of ethanol. The other approach is to develop novel polymers for coatings and composites based on biochemicals. The department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials has developed some very promising coating polymers that have received some publicity recently. Further, the Mechanical Engineering department has developed new reinforcing materials based on biomass that are suitable for normal and fiber-reinforced composites.

NDSU student Olena Kudina will be our second guest speaker presenting: "Nanostructured Organic-Inorganic Carriers for Cellulase Recovery in Biomass Conversion."


Production of ethanol from biomass fermentation has recently attracted much attention. In this process the biomass is first converted into glucose using an enzymatic processes. To be applied commercially, the enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass should match the efficiency of chemical processes and have lower cost. Enzymes are currently considered to be disposable. One way to make enzymatic hydrolysis more economically attractive is to immobilize enzymes on solid carriers to facilitate recovery and thus reuse.

Our approach focuses on developing a robust and scalable method for manufacturing nanostructured hybrid carriers loaded with cellulase enzymes. The engineered hybrid carriers consist of colloidal particles with a ferromagnetic core, silica shell and covalently grafted polymer brushes. Results indicate that cellulase, loaded onto the brushes, retains its biocatalytic activity in multiple cycles of cellulose biocatalytic conversion. The hybrid particles can be collected and reused as carriers for at least four bioconversion cycles.


Date: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Place: Valspar R&D
312 South 11th Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415
 10:15-11:30 Executive Committee Meeting
 11:30-12:00 Lunch
 12:00-12:45 Dr. Stuart Croll, NDSU Porfessor
"Overview of Research at North Dakota State University on replacing petrochemicals with biobased building blocks for polymer and composite products"
 12:45-1:30 Olena Kudina, NDSU Student
"Nanostructured Organic-Inorganic Carriers for Cellulase Recovery in Biomass Conversion"

2011/2012 Monthly Meeting Schedule

All monthly meetings will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

June 7th - Spring Golf Outing, Troy Burne Golf Club, 1:00 pm