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Paul Dauenhauer is an American entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder and CEO of Dauenhauer Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. He is also the founder of the Dauenhauer Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports education, health, and economic development initiatives. Born in 1980, Paul Dauenhauer is 40 years old as of 2020. He stands at a height of 6 feet and 2 inches (1.88 m). He has a slim build and is of Caucasian ethnicity. Paul Dauenhauer is married to his wife, Sarah Dauenhauer. The couple has two children together. Paul Dauenhauer has an estimated net worth of $50 million. He has earned his wealth through his successful career as an entrepreneur and investor. He has invested in a number of technology companies, including Uber, Airbnb, and Dropbox. He is also the founder of the Dauenhauer Foundation, which supports education, health, and economic development initiatives. Paul Dauenhauer is an active philanthropist and has donated to a number of charities, including the American Red Cross, the United Way, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is also a member of the Young Presidents' Organization and the World Economic Forum.

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Age 43 years old
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Born , 1980
Birthplace United States
Nationality American

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Paul Dauenhauer Net Worth

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Net Worth in 2023 $1 Million - $5 Million
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Professor Dauenhauer has supervised 12 Ph.D. students and advised six post-doctoral scholars. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers and 10 patents. He has given over 50 invited seminars and lectures including the Notre Dame Thiele lecture in 2017 and the Purdue Mellichamp lecture in 2016. He has received numerous awards for his work including:


In 2016, Dauenhauer and Abdelrahman developed the acid-catalyzed dehydra-decyclization mechanism that simultaneously opens cyclic ether rings and dehydrates to synthesize diene products. This technology was subsequently used to optimize the catalytic production of isoprene, the key chemical in the production of car tires. Subsequent research identified pathways to similarly convert biomass-derived tetrahydrofuran to butadiene and 2-methyl-tetrahydrofuran to piperylene.


In 2015, Dauenhauer and his team developed a new class of surfactants, detergents, and soaps that are derived from biomass (furans from sugars and fatty acids from triglycerides, oleo-furan sulfonates (OFS). These molecules were shown to have high hard water stability (>1000 ppm Ca++) and are being commercialized by Sironix Renewables, Inc.


Dauenhauer's focus on renewable chemicals produced from glucose has targeted both drop-in replacement chemicals and new chemicals with novel characteristics. In 2012, he discovered a high yield pathway to synthesize p-xylene from glucose; this molecule is the key ingredient in polyethylene terephthalate plastic. This process technology utilized a new class of weak acid zeolites that permits the manufacture of biorenewable polyester.


Following graduation from Minnesota, Dauenhauer served as a Senior Research Engineer at the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI, and Freeport, TX. He started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2009 before promotion to Associate Professor in 2014. In 2014, he moved to the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science (CEMS) at the University of Minnesota, where he was promoted to Professor, and then and Lanny Schmidt Honorary Professor in 2019. During this time, he co-founded or contributed to the founding of startup companies Activated Research Company, Sironix Renewables, and enVerde, LLC.


Dauenhauer's study of cellulose in 2008 led to the discovery of an intermediate liquid state of short-chain cellulose oligomers of sub-second duration at temperatures around 500 deg C. He further outlined the challenges in understanding high temperature cellulose chemistry by publishing his "Top Ten Challenges" of biomass pyrolysis in 2012, one of which was based on his discovery of the mechanism of aerosol formation through liquid intermediate cellulose.


Paul Dauenhauer (born 1980), a chemical engineer, is the Lanny Schmidt Honorary Professor at the University of Minnesota (UMN). He is recognized for his research in catalysis science and engineering, especiall, his contributions to the understanding of the catalytic breakdown of cellulose to renewable chemicals, the invention of oleo-furan surfactants, and the development of catalytic resonance theory.

Paul Dauenhauer was born in 1980 in Texas, USA, and was raised in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, attending Lincoln High School. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2004. Working under the supervision of Lanny Schmidt at the University of Minnesota, Dauenhauer received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 2008 from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science. His dissertation described the development of reactive flash volatilization and was titled "Millisecond autothermal catalytic reforming of carbohydrates for synthetic fuels by reactive flash volatilization".


Catalytic resonance theory was proposed by Dauenhauer based on the Sabatier principle of catalysis developed by French chemist Paul Sabatier. Optimal catalyst performance is depicted as a 'volcano' peak using a descriptor of the chemical reaction defining different catalytic materials. Experimental evidence of the Sabatier principle was first demonstrated by Balandin in 1960. In his initial discovery of the behavior of oscillating chemical reactions on metal surfaces, Dauenhauer showed that steady state reaction rates could achieve chemical reaction speeds as much as 1000 times greater than previously achievable rates, even with optimized catalytic systems. This work broke down surface chemical reactions into its component parts and associated natural frequencies, which could be matched to resonate with the catalytic surface frequencies.