Can plastic be “green?” Meet UW–Madison researchers whose groundbreaking work is bringing the “speculative future” of plastics to life. Learn about what plastic really is, where it comes from, and where we are going next to make, use, and reuse plastic as sustainably as possible. Then hear from a representative from the plastic industry about what this looks like on the ground.
Tim Donohue is UW Foundation Fetzer-Bascom Professor of Bacteriology and Interim Director of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, a unit that develops clean energy systems. He is an international expert on bio-based conversion of renewable resources into products, has served on research advisory panels, has led cross-disciplinary training programs, and is ASM Secretary. Since 2007, Dr. Donohue has been director of Great Lakes Bioenergy, a Department of Energy renewable fuels and chemicals research center. Dr. Donohue will describe the challenge of meeting society’s energy needs and highlight how Great Lakes Bioenergy is developing sustainable substitutes for petroleum-based fuels and chemicals.
As Rothermel Bascom Professor of the School of Human Ecology, Majid Sarmadi directs the Textile Science specialization graduate degree in the School of Human Ecology’s Design Studies program as well as graduate students in the Materials Science graduate program. He is also a faculty member for the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Sarmadi’s research focus includes: chemical properties and structures of textile fibers, plasma modifications of polymeric materials, Chemical analysis of textiles, textile flammability, wettability, dyeing and finishing. His teaching and research incorporate topics related to sustainability, and has received many awards. He is the author and co-author of more than 75 scientific papers and holds three patents in the area of plasma processing of polymeric materials and plasma technology.
Kieran Furlong is the Discovery to Product (D2P) representative for Engineering and Physical Sciences. He joined the University of Wisconsin in 2019 following a career that spanned venture capital, start-ups and the international chemical industry. Kieran started his career with the global chemical firm, ICI, and spent a decade in the catalyst industry with ICI and Johnson Matthey in a range of technical and commercial roles. Following his career in the chemical industry, Kieran entered the world of start-ups. He first worked at Solzyme – an algae biotechnology company – building the company’s manufacturing supply chain and launching its first commercial product. Kieran then led the business development at Virent – a University of Wisconsin spin-out – including a successful partnership with The Coca-Cola Company in the development of the first commercial 100% bio-based PET bottle. Most recently Kieran headed the Finistere Ventures E.U. office and was Partner for the Ireland Agtech Fund. Kieran remains a Venture Partner with Finistere, a leading agtech venture capital firm based in California.