4 Minutes With…Doug Rivers, Director of R&D, ICM

October 26, 2014 |

riversTell us about your organization and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

ICM technology drives 107 Gen 1 ethanol plants in North America producing 8 BGY ethanol and 23 million tons/year animal feed. ICM provides the most aggressive process guarantees in the fuel ethanol industry. ICM’s Gen 1.5 cellulosic corn fiber process adds 8-10%/bu yield increase. First Gen 1.5 plant is expected to start in 2015.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

I am responsible for corporate research & development. In this role, I am responsible for development of new and improved technology in ICM’™s Gen 1.0, Gen1.5, and Gen 2.0 process technology for commercial rollout. ICM will roll out its first Gen 1.5 plants in 2015. Simultaneously, ICM will complete development of its Gen 2.0 process and begin offering the technology for commercial implementation.

I am also responsible for developing relationships with other companies to explore joint development and commercialization opportunities. ICM will also continue to focus on opening the US fuel markets for higher ethanol blends based on the need for a super premium fuel for smaller, more powerful auto engines, while simultaneously reducing toxic air emissions.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

First, the industry must gain greater access to the market by removing barriers to higher ethanol blends. This will pave the way for a second round of expansion of ethanol production capacity in the US. Second, the industry must be successful in implementing competitive cellulose conversion technology.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

I would change access to the marketplace. The petroleum industry maintains a stranglehold on market access by successfully controlling access to the market by successfully manipulating public and government opinions despite known facts that ethanol costs the consumer less per gallon, burns cleaner, reduces the presence of toxic pollutants

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?

Following the initial oil embargo by OPEC, the Chemicals Division of Gulf Oil Corporation decided it could not allow its feedstock to be held hostage. Renewable resources offered an option. In 1976, I joined Gulf as part of the development team. We were to develop and commercialize a cellulose to ethanol process as a route to ethylene.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

My undergraduate major was Microbiology at Kansas State University. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but had always had a bent toward analytical subjects. After that I gotinterested in the industrial application of microbes. What’s not to like about fermentation?

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

I don’™t consider that anyone has mentored me if you view mentoring as someone who takes you under their wing, shows you the ropes, helps you with contacts, and takes a concerted interest in your career development. However, I have had people that provided good advice along the way. Some of those individuals are Dr. George Emert (President Emeritus of Utah State University), Dr. John Welser (former VP of Animal Health of Warner-Lambert/Pfizer), and Mr. Jim Herbert (former President/Chairman of Neogen Corp.).

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

Keep your faith in God, don’™t panic, and get sound advice.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

I like to fly fish.

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

Bible, US Army Survival Manual, maybe I would have time to write the third.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

Living on the Edge by Chip Ingram
The Death of Money by James Rickards

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

I like to spend time with my wife at our cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Category: Million Minds

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