News Display

New Co-chairs Selected to Lead Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

Aug 04, 2014
First launched in 2010, the National Biodiesel Board program aims to educate young scientists with factual information about biodiesel.
Jenna Higgins Rose/NBB

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – James Anderson helped work his way through college behind the wheel of a diesel semi-truck, where he became interested in biodiesel. He began to wonder if he could contribute to the body of research on soybean oil as a biodiesel feedstock.
“I’m interested in breeding soybeans with different fatty acid profiles, which can affect the oil’s properties that make it good for biodiesel use,” Anderson said. “By using soybeans with acid profiles that favor high energy production in breeding projects, populations of soybeans with even higher energy yield and improved stability can be achieved.”

Anderson is one of three students with a passion for biodiesel and a desire to improve America’s energy landscape who will help lead the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

First launched in 2010, the National Biodiesel Board program aims to educate young scientists with factual information about biodiesel. It has led to increased communication and collaboration between the biodiesel industry and colleges and universities involved in biodiesel research.

Selected through a competitive application process, the new co-chairs are:
•    James Anderson, Southern Illinois University, a PhD student in Agricultural Science
•    Katie Heil, University of Colorado – Boulder, an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering
•    Mike Morgan, Utah State University, an undergraduate in Biochemistry

They join senior co-chair Dan Browne, a graduate research assistant in the Dept. of Biochemistry & Biophysics at Texas A&M University. They replace three previous co-chairs who have graduated from their studies.

All of the co-chairs are actively engaged in biodiesel-related research or education. Heil serves as director of the University of Colorado’s CU Biodiesel club, one of the largest university biodiesel clubs. Morgan set a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats with biodiesel, and has had his innovative feedstock research published. At the age of 26, he appeared on the cover of Biodiesel Magazine.

“By engaging with student scientists, our industry has not only learned about their upcoming research, but has opened new lines of communication with their professors and university researchers,” said Don Scott, NBB’s director of sustainability. “The new co-chairs are passionate, energetic and innovative, and will do a great job taking this program to the next level.”

All of the co-chairs have attended the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, a nexus of science, business and policy education. Through a scholarship program funded by NBB, the United Soybean Board and state soybean checkoff organizations, students gain access to world-class biodiesel scientists.

Made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.

# # #

For more information about biodiesel, visit biodiesel.org.