After earning his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Colorado in 1980, Alan Weimer went onto a successful 16-year career as a research engineer and team leader at Dow Chemical Co. He received numerous awards and several patents for his contributions in advanced materials, and his co-invention and development of the rapid carbothermal reduction process is now practiced commercially, underlying a $1 billion tungsten carbide cutting tools business.
That in itself is enough to make a pretty good story. Then, Weimer decided to come back to CU in 1996 as a professor of chemical engineering. At CU, he has continued his record of innovation and had a broad impact on a wide spectrum of research areas, with the additional benefit to hundreds of students he has taught over the last decade. Weimer teaches the capstone design sequence in chemical engineering, which makes use of his applied industrial background. He also was instrumental in starting the co-op program in chemical and biological engineering.
Weimer’s invention and development of the Particle-ALD process with colleague Steve George led to a 2004 R&D 100 Award, which recognizes the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the world marketplace in a given year. The two chemical engineering faculty co-founded a start-up company, ALD NanoSolutions, which is commercializing the process to functionalize ultra-fine particle surfaces.
Most recently, Weimer has been working on solar-thermal fluid-wall reaction processes to de-carbonize methane and split water using concentrated sunlight, an innovation that is potentially world-changing with regard to technologies to combat global warming.
Weimer currently has 21 U.S. patents, eight patents pending, and he is the recipient of the 2004 CU-Boulder Inventor of the Year Award and the 2005 U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
“I continue to be amazed with the high quality of students we have at CU year after year,” he says. “I truly enjoy teaching the seniors and helping them head into the real world. One of the most satisfying aspects of this job is getting e-mails, office visits, and cards from former students who enjoy simply staying in touch and telling me how its going.”
*Read and see a video about Al Weimer and his students' latest research achievements in this CU press release.