Philip T. Pienkos

Strategic Project Lead - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Ph.D, in Molecular Biology - University of Wisconsin

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 more than 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 a technology-rich/funding-poor biotech startup.  He joined NREL in 2007 as a section supervisor and was promoted to Principal Group Manager in 2010.  He now holds the title of Strategic Project Lead, managing projects in conversion of algal biomass and wet wastes to biofuels and bioproducts, as well as conducting business development efforts for growth in these areas.   His work involves various aspects of strain development, process integration, compositional analysis, catalytic upgrading, and molecular modeling for advanced biofuels and bioproducts based.   He is part of a team of algae experts from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories who worked with the DOE 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 the Algae Foundation and has served as a member of the board of directors for both of those organizations.    He has been named in Biofuels Digest’s list of the top 100 people in biofuels every year since that survey was established. 

Project Responsibilities
  • Serves as chair of the Technical Advisory Board
  • Supporting role in technical/organizational management
Featured Publications

N. Arora, L. ML. Laurens, and P. T. Pienkos. Elucidating the unique physiological responses of halotolerant Scenedesmus sp. cultivated in sea water. Algal Research, in press.

E. P. Knoshaug, T. Dong, R. Spiller, N. Nagle, D. Hyman, and P. Pienkos. Pretreatment and fermentation of salt tolerant algal biomass as a feedstock for biofuels and high-value biochemicals. Algal Biofuels  

Arora, N., P.T. Pienkos, V. Pruthi, K.M. Poluri, and M.T. Guarnieri. 2018. Leveraging algal omics to reveal potential targets for augmenting TAG accumulation. Biotechnol Advances 36:1274-1292.

McGowen, J., E.P. Knoshaug, L.M.L. Laurens, T.A. Dempster, P.T. Pienkos, E. Wolfrum, and V.L. Harmon. 2017. The Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) framework; establishment of a national network of testbed sites to support sustainable algae production. Algal Research 25:168-177.

Knoshaug, E.P., A. Mohagheghi, N. Nagle J. J. Stickel, T. Dong, E. M. Karp, J. S. Kruger, D. G. Brandner, L. P. Manker, N. A. Rorrer, D. Hyman, E. Christensen and P. T. Pienkos. 2017. Demonstration of Parallel Algal Processing: Production of renewable diesel blendstock and a high-value chemical intermediate. Green Chem. 20:457-468.

Dong, T., E. Knoshaug, R. Davis, L. M. L. Laurens, S. Van Wychen, P. T. Pienkos, and N. Nagle. Combined algal processing: a novel integrated biorefinery process to produce algal biofuels and bioproducts. Algal Research 19:316-323. 2016.

Dong, T., E. Knoshaug, P. T. Pienkos, and L.  M. L. Laurens. Lipid recovery from wet oleaginous microbial biomass for biofuel production: a critical review. Applied Energy. 177:879-895. 2016.

Laurens, L. M. L., N. Nagle, R. Davis, N. Sweeney, S. Van Wychen, A. Lowell, and P. T. Pienkos. Acid-catalyzed algal biomass pretreatment for integrated lipid and carbohydrate-based biofuels production. Green Chem. 17: 1145-1158. 2015.

Bazilian, M., R. Davis, P. T. Pienkos, and D. Arent. The energy-water-food nexus through the lens of algal systems.    Industrial Biotechnology. 9:158-162. 2013.

Guarnieri,  M. T., A, Nag,  S. Yang, and P. T. Pienkos.  Proteomic analysis of Chlorella vulgaris: target identification for strain-engineering. J. Proteomics.  93:245-253. 2013.


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