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Rajai H. Atalla

Rajai H. Atalla

Chairman and CTO
Cellulose Sciences International
USA

Biography

Rajai Atalla, Ph.D., Chemical Engineering and Chemical Physics, University of Delaware. Has 40+ years of experience in research on cellulosics and lignocellulosics. Pioneered application of Raman and Solid State 13C NMR spectroscopy for characterizing molecular organization of celluloses, both in their native states and after modification by traditional industrial processes. His pioneering work led to discovery of the occurrence of native celluloses as composites of the I/alphaand I/beta forms. Served as consultant to many companies in the forest products and cellulosics sectors. Has undertaken research under contract for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and served as member of working group for US Department of energy. After a period in the private sector, served as Professor of Engineering and Chemical Physics at Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin. In 1989 became Head of Chemistry and Pulping Research at the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin and Adjunct Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Established Cellulose Sciences International (CSI) in 2007 to undertake research for NREL and develop the CSI process. Well over 200 peer reviewed publications, book chapters and patents. Currently editing proceedings of a symposium on Nano-Cellulosics.

Research Interest

Innovations based on a new process for producing a previously unknown nanoporous form of cellulose; the process is carried out at ambient temperature and pressure. We currently concentrate on two areas. The first is adding value to agricultural residues, making them much more digestible by ruminant animals. The second is enabling enzymatic conversion to monosaccharides for production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals far more rapidly than when the residues are pretreated at elevated temperatures as is common in the majority of current commercial ventures.