Portfolio Update

Sortera Alloys Names New CEO, Michael Siemer

Apr 6, 2022

From Recycling Today

Sortera Alloys, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has announced the appointment of Michael Siemer as chief executive officer. He replaces company founder Nalin Kumar, Ph.D., who assumes the new role of chief technology officer.

Prior to joining Sortera, Siemer served as president of OSIsoft, the data management platform company now part of Aveva, where he oversaw the strategic vision and future of OSIsoft, created and led the new executive committee and supported the company’s global revenue growth and subscription transition. He also previously served as vice president, operations technology, at Devon Energy, in addition to having roles with Sandridge Energy and 3M.

Siemer holds a BS in electrical engineering from Syracuse University, an MS in electrical engineering from Colorado State University and an MBA from Oklahoma Christian University.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to be named CEO of such a great company as it moves from pilot to commercial operations,” Siemer says. “At Sortera, we are delivering high-quality materials without the tremendous impact that comes with virgin feedstocks. I am excited to lead this experienced team forward, which will have a major impact on the circularity of heavy industry.”

Kumar and Manuel Garcia founded Sortera in 2020. The company says it is using its artificial intelligence (AI) and engineering expertise to deliver high-throughput, high-purity sorting processes that also keep costs down.

In late 2021, Sortera announced it had received $10 million in new funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Kirkland, Washington. The investment builds on previous funding from Chrysalix Venture Capital and the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and will help Sortera scale operations and grow its team, with initial efforts targeted at high-quality industrial metal recycling from automobiles.

“As an early lead investor, Breakthrough is thrilled with the trajectory and great progress made by Sortera Alloys over the past 11 months,” Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, says. “Nalin, Manny, Ben [Pope, vice president of commercialization] and the entire team have had unprecedented success in a short period of time. Now with a leader like Michael coming on board, the transition from pilot stage to commercial operations will be all-the-more swift.”

Sortera Alloys says it uses advanced AI-powered imaging, data analytics and sensors to sort aluminum alloy feedstock. The company operates from a 10-acre facility in Fort Wayne, and its first mass-production plant is under development and will be operational by summer 2022, Sortera says. It has been shipping trial truckloads of aluminum feedstock, including cast, sheet and extrusions, for the past few months from its pilot scale plant.

Sortera, a spin-out from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E METALS Program, says it has more than 25 issued and pending patents.

“We are very proud of what we have accomplished at Sortera to bring circularity to metals markets,” Kumar says. “With Michael joining as CEO, I am greatly looking forward to his taking the company to the next level.”

Sortera’s AI-powered sorters can upgrade feedstock streams and remove unwanted contaminants. The upgraded streams can then be used to make new products in markets ranging from automotive cast and flat-roll products, building and construction, aerospace and consumer packaging.