NREL names new leaders for bioenergy, energy systems integration research centers

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently made three key hires to lead research centers. NREL has named Tom Foust, a nine-year NREL veteran, as its National Bioenergy Center director; David Post as the center director for the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF); and Rich Greene as Biosciences center director.

For the past three years, Foust has been executive director of the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC), responsible for leading 18 biofuels organizations in a $50-million-dollar project to develop advanced “drop-in” replacement biofuels. He replaces Mike Cleary who retired in March.

The National Bioenergy Center was established in October 2000 to unify DOE’s efforts to advance technology for producing renewable transportation fuels from biomass. It collaborates with industrial, academic, and other governmental research, development, and commercialization efforts to achieve this goal. Its mission is to foster capability to catalyze the replacement of petroleum with transportation fuels from biomass by delivering innovative, cost-effective biofuels solutions.

Before leading the NABC, Foust served as NREL’s biofuels laboratory program manager from 2004 to 2010, during which time program funding grew from $20 million to $45 million. Before NREL, Foust spent seven years with Idaho National Laboratory as a senior engineer/scientist and was bioenergy research lead.

David Post has joined NREL in the new position of Center Director for ESIF. He will be responsible for ESIF facilities management including integration and interoperability of the electricity, thermal and fuel systems laboratories and data information networks, as well as safety across the entire facility.

Research and development at the ESIF is aimed at overcoming the challenges of integrating new technologies into today’s energy infrastructure. The technology challenges addressed at ESIF span the entire energy system — from generation to transmission to distribution to end-use applications.

Post comes to NREL with almost 40 years of experience in nuclear and chemical facilities engineering, design, construction, startup, operation and maintenance. He served 21 years in management of nuclear energy facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Post also spent four years at the Nevada Test Site as the chief nuclear safety officer. He has been recognized by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and throughout the Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex for leadership in facility management and operations excellence.

Richard Greene joins NREL as director of the Biosciences Center after 30 years of service to the federal government. He replaces Jim Brainard who retired this month.

Greene joined DOE in 2006 as program manager for the Energy Biosciences Program where he was selected as lead of the photochemistry and biochemistry team. While at DOE, he led a team that managed a portfolio of more than $100 million in programs focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in the capture of light energy and its conversion into chemical and electrical energy through biological and chemical pathways. His responsibilities included program manager for the DOE Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub.

Greene began his federal career as a postdoctoral researcher at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Peoria, IL. Ultimately, he became the leader of the award-winning Biopolymer Research Unit. He then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1999 to work in the USDA ARS Office of International Research Programs and became its director in 2003. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, also from Cornell.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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