Idaho’s Richard Hess receives 2017 Excellence in Bioenergy Award
MINNEAPOLIS — Dr. J. Richard Hess, director of Idaho National Laboratory’s Energy and Environment Science and Technology Programs Office, recently received the Excellence in Bioenergy Award for 2017. The award is given by the publisher of Biomass Magazine at its annual International Biomass Conference & Expo.
BBI International, a company that produces bioenergy events and trade magazines, sponsors the International Biomass Conference & Expo, which drew more than 1,000 attendees in 2016. This year’s expo, in Minneapolis April 10-12, included 30-plus panels and more than 100 speakers, including 90 technical presentations. The Excellence in Bioenergy Award was given the morning of April 11.
Last year’s recipient was Dorothy Thompson, CEO of Drax Group PLC, the British electrical power generation company that runs Europe’s biggest biomass-fueled power station in North Yorkshire. The station supplies between 7 and 8 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
A native of Fremont County, Idaho, where his family has farmed since the early 1900s, Hess has directed the evolution of INL’s bioenergy program, focusing on the cost-effective use of crop residues in biorefining operations. INL is now a prominent national laboratory for bioenergy feedstock research, focused on sustainably supplying large quantities of reliable feedstock to future biorefineries. This work involves improving feedstock preprocessing technologies and understanding feedstock variability and its effects on conversion processes. INL feedstock research and development ranges from laboratory-scale to pilot-scale testing and demonstration in partnership with other national labs and researchers in industry and academia.
Hess holds a doctorate in plant sciences from Utah State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in botany from Brigham Young University. Following graduate school, he served as an Agriculture Congressional Science Fellow in Washington, D.C., for Sen. Thomas Daschle.