US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Carl J. Houtman

Carl J. Houtman

Chemical Engineer
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9445
Contact Carl J. Houtman

Current Research

  • Biorefineries - Approximately every 30 years, the First World War, the Second World War, the Oil crisis of the 1970s, and now, interest in developing biorefineries from lignocellulose peaks. Research scientists at the Forest Products Lab advanced biorefinery technology during the 1940s and 1970s. We are continuing in this tradition by trialing several biorefinery concepts on the pilot scale. The engineering data from our trials are incorporated into economic models that allow use to evaluate the probability of success for biorefineries connected to a paper mill. We are also currently working with several paper companies in an effort to evaluate opportunities for biorefineries at particular mills.
  • PSAs - Pressure sensitive adhesives are used in everything from shipping containers to postage stamps. We are reducing the negative environmental impact of PSA use by developing recycling compatible adhesives that are made from renewable materials. Beginning with sponsorship by the US Postal Service, we developed testing methods to determine if an adhesive is likely to cause problems in a paper recycling mill. Working with adhesive suppliers we have assisted in the development of PSAs that pass our test methods. We now are incorporating non-petrochemical monomers into new PSA formulations that will allow them to be biodegraded.
  • Fungus - Fungi orchestrate a complex set of enzymes to degrade lignocellulose. In many cases the transformations caused by the fungi are similar to unit operation required for biorefineries. We probe the detailed mechanism of fungal action using the methods of polymer science, chemical analysis, and reaction engineering.

Research Interests

  • Integrate biorefineries into pulp mill operations
  • Estimate economic performance of various lignocellulose processes
  • Understand the mechanisms of fungal decay using engineering analysis
  • Develop recycling-compatible and sustainable pressure sensitive adhesives


  • University of Minnesota, B.C.E. Chemical Engineering 1983
  • University of Minnesota, M.S. Chemical Engineering 1985
  • University of Delaware, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering 1990
  • Institut de Catalyse, Lyon, France, Postdoctoral Chemical Engineering 1991

Professional Organizations

  • American Chemical Society (ACS), Member
  • Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), Member

Featured Publications & Products



Research Highlights


Enabling cellulose nanomaterial commercialization

Cellulose nanomaterials are a high-value product that can be made from low-value wood.


Forest Service Continues To Make a Better Postage Stamp

Latest research reduces the environmental effect of stamp materials


How Does Wood Decay Start?

How do fungi rot wood? Using new tools, fluorescent dye attached to tiny beads, and laser confocal microscopy, Forest Service scientists were ab ...


Scientists Determine Critical Factors that Caused Peroxide Explosion in Paper Mill

In 2001, a peroxide bleach stage at a paper mill in Evadale, Texas, exploded, rupturing two bleaching towers, destroying a pump, and propelling ...


Last updated on : 07/13/2021