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Philip T. Pienkos

Philip T. Pienkos

Principal Manager of the Analytical Chemistry and Life Sciences Group
National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Dr. Philip T. Pienkos earned his BS in Honors Biology at the University of Illinois and his Ph.D, in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin. He has nearly 30 years of biotechnology experience in the pharmaceutical, chemical and energy sectors. He is a co-founder of two companies: Celgene, an established biotech/pharma company, and Molecular Logix, a case study for technology-rich/funding-poor biotech startup. He joined NREL in 2007 as a section supervisor and now holds the title of Principal Group Manager for the Bioprocess R&D Group in the National Bioenergy Center. His group is involved in various aspects of strain development, process integration, compositional analysis, catalytic upgrading, and molecular modeling for advanced biofuels based on a wide variety of feedstocks including lignocellulosic biomass, algal biomass and methane. In addition to his line management responsibilities, he is also the Algal Biofuels Platform Lead for the National Bioenergy Center at NREL and serves as lead for a number of projects that are relevant to this proposal, including the BETO funded Lipid Catalysis Project and the ARPA-E funded Biological Gas to Liquid Project (part of the REMOTE Program). He is part of a team of algae experts from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories who worked with the Department of Energy to organize National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop held in December, 2008 and was a contributor to the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap document, published in May, 2010. Philip is a founding member of the Algae Biomass Organization and has served as a member of the board of directors for that organization from 2008 to 2013. He is currently on the board of directors of the Algae Foundation. He was named in Biofuels Digest’s list of the top 100 people in biofuels for four running years.

Research Interest

Algae Biofuels,Biological toxicity characterization and mitigation,Biological transformations Advanced biomass deconstruction Feedstock process interface Zymohydrocarbon fuels Techno-economic modeling Biomass characterization Productivity modeling