Four outstanding individuals and one bioenergy corporation were honored this week at Bioenergy Engineering 2009. Bioenergy Engineering 2009 was the first international conference devoted to engineering for all aspects of the emerging bioenergy industry. More than 200 engineers, managers, and policy specialists from fourteen nations attended the conference, organized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
John Ferrell was presented the Federal Agency Bioenergy Pioneer Award for his contributions toward development and administration in promoting bioenergy in the United States. For more than 23 years Ferrell has been at the forefront of biomass-energy development at the US Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., where he has managed national program efforts and worked closely with DOE national laboratories, the US Department of Agriculture, universities, and industry to pursue policy mandates. He served for more than ten years as director of the Office of Fuels Development, overseeing all biofuels-related research, and in recent years was able to bring back feedstock efforts from near-elimination. He currently holds the dual positions of acting Biomass Program manager and Feedstock Platform manager under the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The Private Enterprise Bioenergy Pioneer Award was given to Phillip C. Badger of General*Bioenergy, Inc., in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the development of innovative technologies and commercialization efforts for bioenergy. President of General*Bioenergy, in Florence, Alabama, Badger was previously employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he managed the US Department of Energy's Southeastern Regional Biomass Energy Program for 15 years. Prior to that, Badger managed fuel alcohol research programs for DOE and TVA and had research and extension responsibilities at the Ohio State University in the fields of renewable energy and controlled-environment agriculture. He serves on the boards of the Biomass Energy Research Association and the New Uses Council. He is also a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, American Solar Energy Society, International Solar Energy Society, Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops, Council on Forest Engineering, and Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.
The Public Service Bioenergy Pioneer Award was given to Ralph P. Cavalieri, associate dean for research and director of the Agricultural Research Center at Washington State University, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to administration and engineering education in promoting the development and use of bioenergy. Cavalieri serves on the US Biomass Research and Development Initiative Technical Advisory Committee, the congressionally created committee that developed the national roadmap for use of biomass for fuel, power, and bioproducts and advises the DOE, USDA, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, and others on all aspects of the national biomass program.
Bryan M. Jenkins, professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California–Davis, received the Academic Bioenergy Pioneer Award for his research and teaching in the area of biomass feedstock logistics and thermochemical conversion, including combustion, gasification, and pyrolysis for fuels and power, and high temperature phenomena of associated inorganic constituents. Other research includes energy systems analysis and optimization. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses on energy systems, heat and mass transfer, solar energy, and power and energy conversion, and currently serves as interim director of the UC Davis Energy Institute.
The Bioenergy Company of the Year Award was given to Abengoa Bioenergy Group in recognition of its commitment to produce biofuels in a manner that is energy and environmentally sustainable, technically efficient and economically profitable. Among the largest US producers of ethanol, Abengoa Bioenergy is the only global ethanol producer, with 15 plants in the US, Europe, and Brazil that collectively produce more than 340 million gallons a year. The company's primary product is fuel-grade ethanol, which, when blended with gasoline, raises oxygen levels and reduces exhaust emissions of pollutants such as carbon monoxide. Abengoa Bioenergy's research and development unit partners with universities and other companies to develop improved processing technology for ethanol. The company's is to be recognized as a leader in research and development, be known for technological innovation in the conversion of biomass to bioethanol, and attract the interest and respect of the financial community by means of sustained growth and technological innovation.