XCELIS® CHAMPION: Dr. Vivek Sharma, Sr. Scientist
For Dr. Vivek Sharma, working in the fuel ethanol industry seemed like destiny. Coming from an agricultural family in his native India, he was excited by the idea that every farm could be a bioprocessor, producing its own food and fuel.
Now a 10-year DuPont veteran, he's helping to bring that idea closer to reality. As part of the Business Applications group from 2007 to 2012, he took every chance to interact with customers, traveling to more than 30 ethanol plants in his first year alone. That experience led to his current role on the Grain Applications Research team.
"I really liked the idea of moving to R&D, where I could have input into how our products are conceptualized," Sharma recalls. "I like that I can make an impact on our customers.
"Even if it's not possible now, we can find a way to make it possible."
"Even now, I spend a lot of time with plant and lab managers, asking, 'What else can we help you with? Even if it is not possible now, we can find a way to make it possible. Just tell us what you need.'"
That curiosity, passion, and customer-centric approach fuel his approach to product development. Seeing firsthand the variations in temperature and pH that many ethanol producers were challenged to control, he set out to find a molecule that was up to the challenge. The result was SPEZYME® HT, designed to provide robust liquefaction and viscosity reduction at various temperatures and pH levels.
"I want to make practical products," Sharma says. "Our customers have a lot of things to worry about. If I can help take the worry out of running their operations, I feel very successful."