January 03, 2012 {authors} {/authors}

The top 100 people in bioenergy

Nation's ag secretary grabs the No. 1 spot

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By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack headed the “Top 100 People in Bioenergy” as voted by the readers of Biofuels Digest and the Digest’s editorial board, just edging out BP Biofuels chief Philip New, and the heads of Raizen, POET, Solazyme and Amyris. In today’s Digest, we profile the Top 25 in depth.

1. Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture

A runaway winner in the voting, Vilsack has been driving hard to implement a strong biofuels policy on behalf of the Obama Administration. A key driver of the DOE-USDA-US Navy partnership for commercializing advanced biofuels, and as chair of the Interagency Working Group (comprising the USDA, EPA, and DOE) has clearly been identified by the Digest readership as the key player in establishing policy stability, and pioneering the financing mechanisms to drive bioenergy forward in the 2010s. His key challenges? Maintaining a strong energy title in the 2012 Farm Bill, and making sure that affordable US feedstocks are available at scale for all the technologies that are coming down the bikeway, else we might see the same “rush to China” that has plagued US manufacturing throughout the past 20 years.

2. Philip New, CEO, BP Biofuels; Sue Ellerbusch, President, BP Biofuels America
With BP dropping solar this year, BP Biofuels remains the stellar “beyond petroleum” unit of the company that acquired 50 percent of Vercipia from Verenium, is heading for scale in Florida and Brazil, and ploughed forward aggressively in developing its Butamax biobutanol venture with Dupont. Not to mention its progress on its UK ethanol project with British Sugar in Hull. The company already has 4,000 workers on the payroll – more headcount than some celebrated advanced biofuels companies have in actually gallons of capacity. 

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