EWING, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Proterro, Inc., the only company making sugar instead of extracting it from crops, has tapped senior industry executive David Austgen as its first chief business development officer, effective Jan. 9, 2013.
“As Proterro springboards into its next phase of development, having secured new financing and received a notice of allowance on a critical, cornerstone patent, it was time to add to the executive team”
Austgen joins Proterro from Luca Technologies, a clean-energy company for which he was chief development officer, heading development of partnerships on a global basis, as well as acquisitions and divestitures within the United States.
Prior to Luca, Austgen held a variety of positions during two decades within the Shell family of companies, including:
- Senior business and joint venture manager of alternative energy, biofuels at Shell Downstream Inc. (Led biofuel business development in Brazil in 2008.)
- General manager of technology, operations at Shell Hydrogen L.L.C.
- Global leader of strategic innovation at Shell Chemical L.P.
- Senior business consultant in management consulting services at Shell Oil Company
- Research manager at Shell Chemicals Company
“As Proterro springboards into its next phase of development, having secured new financing and received a notice of allowance on a critical, cornerstone patent, it was time to add to the executive team,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin. “Dave’s credentials and his more than 25 years of experience spanning chemicals and the old and new worlds of energy, particularly most recently in biofuels, made him the right choice at the right time.”
“My career has focused on being at the center of innovation,” said Austgen, who for seven years taught courses on strategic management of innovation and technology at the Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University.
“I’ve joined Proterro to apply my global experience in opportunity assessment, commercial planning, joint ventures, contract negotiations and relationship management to forwarding the business development of the company’s disruptive technology, which I believe is critical to advancing the adoption of biofuels and biobased chemicals throughout the world,” he continued.
A member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and co-inventor of six chemical process patents, Austgen earned an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas/Austin, and has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He also completed a corporate governance program at Stanford University Law School and a leadership program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Proterro is the only company that makes sucrose instead of extracting it from crops. Proterro combines its core “microorganism technology” with its patent-pending, high-density, modular, solid-phase photobioreactor for scalable production of the only non-crop-based, noncellulosic, clean sucrose that avoids the pricing volatility associated with corn and other feedstock markets. The company projects it can produce its sucrose at a cost of less than $.05/lb., which is far less than sugarcane, corn, other energy crops, or cellulosic sugar approaches. The company was recognized as one of the top 10 innovative companies during Q4 2011 by Lux Research, which said the company stood out for its “disruptive potential.” Proterro CEO Kasdin has been named one of the top 100 people in bioenergy (for two consecutive years), as well as one of the top 10 influential women in the biofuel business. Proterro’s leadership team includes advisors with extensive experience from BP, Cargill, Gevo and Solazyme. The company is backed by Battelle Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Cultivian Ventures and Middleland Capital. For more information, please visit www.proterro.com
Note: Proterro is a trademark of Proterro, Inc. Any other names of actual companies, organizations, entities, products or services may be the trademarks of their respective owners.