William J. Orts
Research Leader, Bioproduct Chemistry & Engineering
USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center
Albany, CA 94710
Dr. Orts directs a team at the USDA that provides biorefinery strategies relevant to the Western US, including (1) development of new enzymes and technologies for cellulose-to-bioenergy conversion, (2) application of novel separation engineering for biofuel and bioproduct isolation, (3) production of bioproducts, including biodegradable and renewable plastics, and (4) optimization of biofuel production from crops relevant to the Western US. His graduate research at the University of Toronto, which was carried out in collaboration with Xerox, focused on novel polyhydroxyalkanoates, bacterially-produced biopolymers. Dr. Orts completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Neutron Scattering Center, Gaithersburg, MD funded by the National Science Foundation to optimize neutron scattering as a method for characterizing biopolymer nanostructures. Recent interest has included research on nanotechnology, fiber-based composites, and biorefinery optimization with the goal of adding value to agriculturally-derived biomass. Dr. Orts has more than 150 publications in the field.