Conference invests in ‘next generation’ scientists

Chuck2011 Conference

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo hosts some of the most prestigious biofuels scientists in the world. This year, the biodiesel industry is also investing in tomorrow’s scientists, helping to bring about 10 college students to the event, Feb. 6 – 9 in Phoenix.

Evan Le, a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada – Reno, was chosen by the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel to receive full-ride scholarship to the conference.

“As an aspiring Ph.D. student, this scholarship will be a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of biodiesel and enhance my skills, so that I can make a meaningful contribution to bioenergy research,” Le said.

Led by the National Biodiesel Board, the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel formed last year to demonstrate and grow support for biodiesel among tomorrow’s scientific leaders. Students from a wide variety of colleges and universities have signed a declaration of support for the fuel, which is America’s first and only commercially available advanced biofuel.

Le’s scholarship is supported by the United Soybean Board and the soybean checkoff. The Ohio Soybean Council has also provided a partial scholarship to Qingshi Tu, a University of Cincinnati Environmental Engineering student. The National Biodiesel Board has contributed partial scholarships to several other students, including the four co-chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel:?
Mikkel Leslie, Oregon State University (Environmental Engineering)
Lucas Ellis, Dartmouth (Biochemical Engineering)
Jason Strull, University of Nevada – Reno (Material Sciences and Chemical Engineering)
Bernardo del Campo, Iowa State University (Biorenewable Resources and Technologies)

“These students are the future scientists who will develop and improve energy solutions, and bringing them into the biodiesel community now is a small investment that could yield huge returns,” said Don Scott, NBB director of sustainability. “They have demonstrated such an inspiring commitment to biodiesel, which promises to be here for decades to come, and we look forward to working with them.”

The student scientists will meet with some of the leading biodiesel scientists while at the conference, including NBB technical director Steve Howell; Bob McCormick, principal engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Mike Haas of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Gina Clapper of the American Oil Chemists’ Society.

The Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel initiative is modeled after the Scientists for Biodiesel campaign. Launched in February 2009, 125 scientists have signed on to the declaration.