Mark T. Holtzapple
2006 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation
Chemical engineering professor Mark T. Holtzapple at Texas A&M University is known for his creativity, especially in the realm of new technologies. His research on super-efficient engines and converting biomass to cleaner-burning fuels holds great promise. The MixAlco process he developed converts everything from garbage to sewage sludge to sorghum and other crops into mixed alcohols that can be used as fuel. In theory, his StarRotor engine, now under development, could be as much as 60 percent efficient—two to four times more efficient than today's conventional internal combustion engines. And it will be able to run on a variety of fuels, such as alcohol, diesel or even olive oil. Born in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1956, Holtzapple received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After serving in the U.S. Army, he came to Texas A&M as an assistant professor in 1986. He is now a full professor, with 26 issued patents and numerous pending patents. In addition to engines and renewable energy resources, his research interests include space life support, air conditioning/refrigeration, water desalination and food processing. Holtzapple has received the Texas A&M Ingenuity Award and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Chemical Society.