Driving the bioeconomy
Comet Biorefining About Us

Comet Biorefining is a leading provider of sustainable high-quality cost-competitive cellulosic glucose technology for applications in renewable biofuels and biochemicals. The company's proprietary technology allows for the conversion of wood, wheat straw, bagasse, corn stover and other agricultural waste materials into high purity cellulosic glucose syrup. These non-food sources offer lower cost and price stability when compared to food sugar sources such as corn or sugar cane. Comet is now focusing on industrial scale up and development of commercial partnerships with applications in renewables industries.


 
Comet Biorefining Management

The Comet management team brings an exceptional range of cross-disciplinary experience to the challenge of commercial bio-processing. The team is aligned around the challenge of developing large scale bio-refineries to cost-effectively deliver the new supplies of sustainable raw materials necessary to drive the modern bio-economy. The Comet's team has over 100 years of experience in non-food biomass conversion, clean technology development, finance and associated product and market development.

Rich Troyer
Chief Executive Officer

Rich brings a strong combination of corporate development and operating experience coupled with significant finance expertise in renewable chemicals and biofuels. Mr. Troyer was previously the Chief Business Officer at Coskata, a bio-chemicals company, where he oversaw business development, strategic planning, project development and external relations. Before joining Coskata, he was a Managing Director at The Blackstone Group, where he was responsible for investments in biofuels and bio-chemicals companies. Earlier in his career, he was an equity research analyst at AllianceBernstein, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Piper Jaffray, where he focused on the clean technology and biotechnology sectors.

Rich received his MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, and a BBA degree in accounting from Baylor University in 1993.

Andrew Richard
Chairman, Chief Technology Officer

As Comet's founder Andrew draws on his deep expertise in process development and commercialization of new technologies. He is a recognized expert in the field of biomass conversion, pre-treatment, biorefining and biomass based fuels and chemicals, including cellulosic sugars. Andrew has a successful track record of developing and scaling up biomass conversion processes, including the production of linerboard pulp from ryegrass straw that included also converting cellulose derivatives, ethanol and butanol, into transportation fuels. Andrew has worked on successful platform chemical projects converting both forestry and agricultural residues into chemicals and hemicellulose and lignin co-products.

Andrew received his B.E.Sc. degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from The University of Western Ontario in 1990, an M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 1993. Andrew also completed his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering at The University of Western Ontario in 2005.

Dennis D'Agostino
Vice President - Operations

Dennis has 25 years of experience in project management, project engineering, process development, equipment design and plant operations in the field of biomass conversion, pre-treatment, biomass based fuels and environmental technology industries. Dennis has proven ability to organize, manage and implement technical projects from inception to commissioning and is an expert in conducting technical evaluations, design layouts and improving production capacity and quality in biomass programs. Dennis has extensive international experience in the design, scale-up, installation, start-up and operation of several proprietary biomass conversion process systems. 

Dennis received degrees in Chemical Technology with honours from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in 1987. He has also completed a wide range of professional certification courses including Kaizen, 5S, Lean Manufacturing Principles, Process & Manufacturing Development, Pulp Bleaching Technologies, Project Management, and Occupational Health & Safety Programs.

Doug Gray
Vice President - Engineering

Doug brings a strong background in leading the design, construction and operations of new technologies within the alternative chemical processing field. Doug is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He has extensive career experience in designing and implementing biomass conversion processes and facilities with overall project and budgetary responsibility. Doug has worked on a range of biomass feedstocks including wheat straw, corn stover, grasses, and woodchips for the production of cellulosic ethanol, and bio-based chemicals.

Doug received his B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering; Royal Military College (RMC), Kingston, Ontario in 1983 with honours, and his M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario in 1993.

Jay Niles
Vice President - Business Development

Jay has been leading business development and commercial partnership activities in emerging companies for over 20 years.  Prior to joining Comet Jay was VP Business Development and co-founder at Novogy, Inc., a bio-products company focused on developing new product markets for renewable chemical ingredients. Prior to Novogy Jay was VP Business Development at Mascoma Corporation a producer of industrial yeasts and microorganisms for renewable fuels and chemicals where he worked on project finance, project development and commercial partnerships. Before transitioning to the bio-products industry, Jay played an active role in the growth of First Marblehead Corporation where held various leadership positions including Senior Managing Director of Business Development, EVP International Group and EVP Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

He received a B.A. in History from St. Lawrence University in 1985 and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 2004.  He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Westminster School in Simsbury, CT.


 
Comet Biorefining Board of Directors

Andrew Richard
Chairman, Chief Technology Officer

As Comet's founder Andrew draws on his deep expertise in process development and commercialization of new technologies. He is a recognized expert in the field of biomass conversion, pre-treatment, biorefining and biomass based fuels and chemicals, including cellulosic sugars. Andrew has a successful track record of developing and scaling up biomass conversion processes, including the production of linerboard pulp from ryegrass straw that included also converting cellulose derivatives, ethanol and butanol, into transportation fuels. Andrew has worked on successful platform chemical projects converting both forestry and agricultural residues into chemicals and hemicellulose and lignin co-products.

Andrew received his B.E.Sc. degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from The University of Western Ontario in 1990, an M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 1993. Andrew also completed his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering at The University of Western Ontario in 2005.

Josko Bobanovic
Partner, Sofinnova Partners

Joško Bobanović joined Sofinnova in 2010 as Partner of the Sofinnova Green Seed Fund dedicated to seed activities in renewable chemistry and bio-energy. Prior to joining Sofinnova he spent eight years in venture capital with iNovia Capital and its fund MSBi Capital in Montreal, Canada. Joško was responsible for cleantech investments at the fund, and focused on seed and early stage investments in cleantech and information technology. Prior to his venture capital career he created an internet startup and a software company. After completing his PhD studies Joško developed real-time ocean forecasting systems still used at Environment Canada for coastal ocean management. Joško holds a BSc. in physics from University of Zagreb, a PhD in physical oceanography from Dalhousie University and an MBA in finance and marketing from McGill University.

Jean-François (“JF”) Huc

Jean-François (“JF”) Huc is the CEO of BioAmber (NYSE:BIOA), which he founded in 2008.  He previously led start-ups in the fields of internet, transgenics, and natural health.  JF was formerly the corporate VP of Strategic Alliances at Sanofi Pharma and was a partner with management consultancy Arthur D. Little, where he led the firm’s French healthcare practice.  JF has a biochemistry degree from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from York University.

Bruce Jamerson

Bruce brings a wealth of experience to Comet. As President of Conifer Investments, LLC, a strategic advisory firm, he has experience in finance, bio-products, agriculture and energy. Mr. Jamerson serves as a Board member for Ensyn Corporation (biofuels) and Senior Advisor to Novita Nutrition (animal nutrition). He recently advised Proviera Biotech (probiotics); Benson Hill Biosystems, (agricultural biotech, Board member); Intrexon Corporation, (synthetic biology), and Osage BioEnergy (biofuels, Board member). Mr. Jamerson served as Chairman and CEO of Mascoma Corporation (industrial biotech) acquired by Lallemand Inc. He served as President and Board member of VeraSun Energy (biofuels). Mr. Jamerson founded Conifer Investments, previously a boutique investment banking firm. He served as Vice President of U.S. Natural Resources, Inc., an affiliate of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Company. He also worked at The First Boston Corporation (acquired by Credit Suisse) and Citibank. Mr. Jamerson earned a M.S. degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.G.S from the University of Michigan.

Rich Troyer
Chief Executive Officer

Rich brings a strong combination of corporate development and operating experience coupled with significant finance expertise in renewable chemicals and biofuels. Mr. Troyer was previously the Chief Business Officer at Coskata, a bio-chemicals company, where he oversaw business development, strategic planning, project development and external relations. Before joining Coskata, he was a Managing Director at The Blackstone Group, where he was responsible for investments in biofuels and bio-chemicals companies. Earlier in his career, he was an equity research analyst at AllianceBernstein, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Piper Jaffray, where he focused on the clean technology and biotechnology sectors.

Rich received his MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, and a BBA degree in accounting from Baylor University in 1993.