Education: MBA, Cardinal Stritch University
BS in biology, University of Minnesota Duluth
Chad Kamann shifted gears from QA/QC when he joined NatureWorks in 1998. He brings 20 years of experience to his current role, in which he focuses not only on fibers and nonwoven materials, but also on degradable diverters, evaluating the NatureWorks INGEO PLA biopolymer-based products to determine how they can be modified to meet changing customer and market needs.
Leadership: In his role in applications development, Kamann works with sales and corporate account managers to develop product parameters to meet customer needs. To achieve that end, he draws on excellent organizational skills to oversee trials on the fiber extrusion line to prove validity as applications are developed to expand the organization’s intellectual property. Part of this initiative requires organizing and executing product development trials at customer locations, which involves selecting and organizing materials for shipment, developing and publishing trial plans and capturing and disseminating results.
Kamann has made significant contributions to the company, as demonstrated by multiple new products he developed that began at lab scale with 50-pound batches, progressed to commercial production with successful 250,000-lb field trials and eventually became multimillion pounds a year product.
Accomplishments: Today, Kamann focuses on two main areas of development: oilfield service applications and fibers/nonwovens applications. These two disciplines have crossed paths over the years, providing him the opportunity to develop some unique solutions for the market that have resulted in multiple patents.
Before Kamann undertook this work, the basis for how Ingeo PLA performed under downhole conditions was not well understood. The industry had limited visibility of the various grades of Ingeo PLA available and the different hydrolysis rates associated with each grade. Furthermore, the industry was not fully aware that the Ingeo grade could be tailored based on the downhole temperature and desired use time.
Kamann systematically broke down the market and application needs by temperature and degradation time to allow Ingeo PLA-based formulations to be used in a variety of field locations and applications, including Ingeo PLA based fibers that enable more effective suspension, transport and placement of proppant in fractures and multi-modal Ingeo PLA diverting agents in well completions. The products Kamann introduced have controlled degradation rates in well temperatures ranging from 120 F to 350 F in various forms such as staple fibers, shrinkable fibers, pellets, powders and flake.
Recognition: Kamann has repeatedly been recognized within the company for his contributions and leadership, and he holds patents for seven products that NatureWorks has introduced to the market.
Perspective: “It has been an exciting opportunity to bring superior performance degradable solutions to the oil and gas industry and educate the market on how these products can be used to improve well production and mitigate ‘frac hits,’ which allows more hydrocarbons to be extracted from the hydraulically fractured rock,” Kamann says.