Project Leads

Feedstock Variability and Specification Development

Allison Ray, Ph.D.

Idaho National Laboratory

(208) 526-4554

Dr. Allison Ray is a scientist in the Bioenergy Technologies department at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). She has worked on a number of biomass feedstock logistics projects for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) in support of the deployment of a U.S. bio-refining industry. 

Her research at INL includes evaluating the impacts of biomass blending and densification on feedstock supply and biochemical conversion, supporting the development of a quality-based system for biomass grading, evaluating advanced preprocessing strategies that improve feeding and handling in conversion, in addition to assessing the impacts of drought on biomass quality. 

Dr. Ray received M.S. and B.S. degrees in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University and graduated with a Ph.D. in environmental microbiology from Idaho State University. Her dissertation focused on microbially mediated metals reduction for bioremediation of metals and radionuclides in subsurface environments. 

Feedstock Physical Performance Modeling

Tyler Westover, Ph.D.

Idaho National Laboratory

(208) 526-1553

Dr. Tyler Westover is a research engineer/scientist for the Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) Bioenergy Technologies Department and has extensive experience in characterizing the physical and mechanical properties and flow behavior of biomass materials. He has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles during his career and previously led INL’s Feedstock/Thermochemical Conversion Pathways Integration project that partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to understand the ‘field-to-fleet’ implications of using different biomass feedstocks in thermochemical conversion processes, including fast pyrolysis, catalytic fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, hydrodeoxygenation, and gasification. 

Before coming to INL, Dr. Westover performed post-doctoral research at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) studying thermal transport and breakdown of gallium nitride nanowires and carbon nanotubes. 

Dr. Westover holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and also has expertise in the areas of scanning electron (SEM), transmission electron (TEM), and atomic force (AFM) microscopies, as well as micro-photoluminescence spectroscopy (µ-PL), micro-Raman spectroscopy, laser-induced breakdown (LIBS), and low-energy electron spectroscopies.

Process Integration

Ed Wolfrum, Ph.D.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

(303) 384-7705

Dr. Ed Wolfrum is a chemical engineer in the Process Engineering and Analysis Group at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). His research interests focus on developing rapid analysis techniques for the chemical characterization of biomass and using multivariate analysis techniques for the exploratory data analysis (EDA) of large multivariate data sets. Dr. Wolfrum is currently developing rapid compositional analysis methods for biomass feedstocks and pretreated materials using NIR spectroscopy. 

He currently leads chemical process modeling and analytical chemistry support to both internal and external clients and develops new chemical process models and analytical methods for biomass analysis. He is skilled in the chemometric analysis of large multivariate data sets for exploratory data analysis and calibration and experienced in the technical management of research projects for both governmental and private clients, including financial management, training and supervision of research staff, subcontract monitoring, and general laboratory management.

Dr. Wolfrum received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. 

System-Wide Throughput Analysis

Dave Thompson, Ph.D.

Idaho National Laboratory

(208) 526-3977

Dr. Dave Thompson is a chemical engineer in the Biofuels and Renewable Energy Department at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). His R&D interests are in the areas of biological transformations of renewable feedstocks for processing to value-added biofuels, biochemicals and bioproducts. His research and development focus is on collaborative interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of basic and applied science/engineering. 

Since coming to INL in 1995, he has worked to develop and improve distributed methods for handling and processing renewable feedstocks, including industrial, municipal, and forest products process effluents and wastewaters, and renewable lignocellulosic agricultural residues such as cereal straws and corn stover. In other applications, he has applied biodegradation of lignocellulosics to the distributed bioremediation of acid mine drainage and to the biofiltration of volatile organic contaminants. 

He is author or co-author of 41 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 130 reports, technical presentations, and other publications, and a co-inventor on 38 U.S. patents and 6 foreign patents. He has served on AIChE’s National Program Committee since 2002, filling various technical and leadership positions, and also served on the Organizing Committee of the annual Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals from 2002-2011.

Dr. Thompson received his B.S. in chemical engineering at Purdue University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University. His dissertation focused on In vitro depolymerization of natural insoluble lignin in aqueous media by the extracellular peroxidases of Phanerochaete chrysosporium.

Process Controls and Optimization

Quang Nguyen

Idaho National Laboratory

(208) 526-2914

Quang Nguyen is a pioneer in cellulosic ethanol process technology and has managed many innovative R&D projects in the production of ethanol, chemicals, and feed from lignocellulosic biomass. He has 40 years of experience in process design and optimization, equipment/plant design, start-up and operation of chemical/nuclear power/ethanol/pulp plants.  He designed and built several pilot plants and a demonstration plant for ethanol production from cellulosic biomass.

Before joining Idaho National Laboratory (INL) he was a Scientist General Manager of Abengoa Bioenergy New Technologies in Chesterfield, Missouri.

He is author or co-author of several peer-reviewed journal articles, reports, technical presentations, and other publications.  He holds 18 patents and 13 patent applications related to bioconversion process and equipment design for the production of ethanol, chemicals and feed from biomass.

Mr. Nguyen earned his B.S., M.S. degrees in chemical engineering, as well as an the University of Ottawa (ON, Canada).