Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient
College of Science and Engineering, September 29, 2011
Patrick R. Gruber received his Ph.D. in chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1988. He also received an M.B.A. in 1994 from the Carlson School of Management. He is considered to be a leader in the expanding Biotechnology Industry, and has made a significant impact on green chemistry technology development in the U.S. through the commercializing processes that produce useful materials/plastics and chemical feedstocks/fuels from plant-based, renewable resources rather than petroleum. His career started at Cargill where he spent 16 years working on biotechnology projects. Currently, he is the CEO of Gevo Incorporated where he is leading the effort to commercialize the production of an alcohol called isobutanol from corn via a fermentation and separation technology that is less expensive then that used by petroleum refineries. Isobutanol is considered to have broad market applications as a solvent and a gasoline blendstock that can help refiners meet their renewable fuel and clean air obligations as well as other applications. Most recently, he has converted an ethanol plant in Luverne, Minnesota, where his technology will be used to produce 18 million gallons of isobutanol annually. The plant's first output is expected in 2012. His work in driving new technologies for commercialization of green, environmentally friendly, and useful chemical processes, has truly led to large-scale improvements, resulting in lowering of greenhouse gas emissions and a more sustainable society. He has received numerous prestigious awards and honors for his contributions to the Green revolution in chemical manufacturing such as induction into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame (2003), receiving the Technology of the Year Awards from Industry Week Magazine and the U.S. Department of Energy, the Presidential Green Chemistry Award (2002) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the George Washington Carver Award (2008) from BIO, the world's largest biotechnology organization. He holds more than 50 patents and is co-editor of "Biorefineries-Industrial Processes and Products." In addition, he has served as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee for Biomass R&D and the Advisory Committee for the Energy Future Coalition. Currently, he serves on the board of directors of Gevo, Segetis, and Green Harvest Technologies.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.