Thomas E. Amidon Professor SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Dr. Thomas E. Amidon - B.S. Cum Laude in 1968 and PhD in 1974 from ESF. Dr. Amidon worked for International Paper for 23 years, ending his career as the Laboratory Manager at the Corporate Research Center in Tuxedo, NY. Dr. Amidon returned to ESF in 2000 as the Chair of the Paper Science and Engineering Faculty and became the Director of the Empire State paper Research Institute at ESF in 2003. He is co-chair of the NY/Canadian section of the Paper Industry Management Association and a member of TAPPI.
Dr. Amidon opened up a new research area in Paper Science evaluating novel approaches for the disassembly of woody materials with the aim of preserving current profitable uses while making new raw materials available to develop new products from wood. Early reports of this work were presented in the Empire State Paper Research Institute (ESPRI) meetings and this led to a request that he attend the American Forest and Paper Association Chief Technology Officers Committee (CTO) to help organize the development of a new research area to be called New Forest Based Materials. This work evolved through two AF&PA/TAPPI Summits to be a key part of the concept that is now referred to as the Forest Biorefinery in the Forest Products Industry and has become a significant component of the AF&PA's Agenda 2020 research vision. The CTO Committee identified Dr. Amidon as the U.S. expert delegate in New Forest Based Materials to the IEA Pulp and Paper Annex and Dr. Amidon has represented the US in meetings in Washington, Paris, Montreal, Stockholm and Helsinki. Dr. Amidon has presented on the Biorefinery in AIChE, TAPPI, and PAPTAC technical meetings as well as for the House Science Committee staff and numerous less formal gatherings.
In New York Dr. Amidon has been an advocate for the application of the Biorefinery concept to New York Industry. He is leading a consortium of NY companies to commercialize the specific technology developed by the faculty and students of THE Paper Science and Engineering program at SUNYESF. This specific technology emphasizes the use of green chemistry, using water as the solvent and membrane systems for separation, to obtain a sugar solution from wood while preserving the main intended uses of pulping and energy generation. This water solution has been demonstrated to be further separable to yield additional commercial products (currently lignin and acetic acid) and the sugars can then be fermented to ethanol or other products, such as the biodegradable plastics also being developed by researchers at ESF.