The bioenergy industry is growing in importance as key members of Congress and the White House administration grasp the need to wean the nation from foreign oil dependence. As a result a new generation of biofuel industry executives are gaining prominence in the field. Among the industry’s key players are Sean O’Hanlon, Executive Director, American Biofuels Council, who has been an important figure in advancing the grass-roots support for biofuels among the American public.
Bliss Baker, of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance, has been integral in addressing the growing concerns about the impact of renewable fuels on food supplies and commodity costs, debunking many of the myths surrounding the food versus fuel debate in the process. Baker has successfully shown that the rising price of crude oil plays a far greater role in food price inflation than the use of grains as ethanol feedstock, an argument that will become more critical as biofuel production continues to expand.
Often missed among key figures in the biofuel industry, university researchers continue to play a key role in the advancement of the industry. David Tilman, PhD, is a professor at the University of Minnesota and an important researcher in the growing field of cellulosic ethanol production. His research is helping to advance the science of the field, making eventual large-scale production of cellulosic ethanol a near-term reality.