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James A. Trainham

Vice President, Strategic Energy Initiatives

James (Jim) Trainham, PhD, is a leading chemical engineer and vice president of strategic energy initiatives at RTI. He also holds a joint appointment at NC State University. Dr. Trainham's focus is on the development of solar fuels as part of a new solar fuels institute in the Research Triangle Park. He is known nationally and internationally as an expert in technology commercialization. He specializes in both product and process technologies, including alternative energy, specialty chemicals, coatings, polymers, and synthetic fibers. Before RTI, Trainham directed research and development, engineering design, and scale-up for Sundrop Fuels, Inc., as senior vice president. He served as vice president of Science and Technology at PPG Industries for 4 years and had a 25-year career at the DuPont Company. Trainham was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. In 2002, he received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Award for Chemical Engineering for practice, and was selected in 2008 as "one of the 100 chemical engineers of the modern era" by the AIChE. He was elected Fellow of the AIChE in 2012. Trainham currently serves on a number of university advisory boards, including the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.


PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley; MS, Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison; BS, Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley.

Latest Publications

Water electrolysis with a homogeneous catalyst in an electrochemical cell — ECS Transactions
Bonino, C., Concepcion, J., Trainham, J., Meyer, T., & Newman, J. (Dec 2013)
Let the molecules do the work — PV Magazine
House, R., Alibabaei, L., Bonino, C., Hoertz, P., Trainham, J., & Meyer, T. (Mar 2013)


  • Solar Fuels
  • Electrochemistry
  • Chemical Engineering