Biodiesel pioneer Steve Howell honored with AOCS Fellow Award

By The National Biodiesel Board | March 25, 2013

Members of the American Oil Chemists’ Society have laid top honors on Steve Howell, selecting him for the prestigious AOCS Fellow Award.

Howell has served as the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director since shortly after NBB’s inception in 1992, and is credited with helping to navigate the nascent biodiesel industry through an obstacle course of technical challenges. Those include completing health effects testing, establishing ASTM standards, and securing original equipment manufacturer approval, to name just a few.  

“Thanks to the many technical accomplishments of Steve Howell, the U.S. biodiesel industry is now a meaningful supplement to the nation’s diesel fuel supply,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB. The industry is on track for its vision of 10x22—making up 10 percent of the overall U.S. diesel fuel supply by 2022 with a range of blends. “I can personally attest to his hard work, integrity and very special talents. He deserves this recognition.”

A chemical engineer, Howell emerged from a career with Proctor & Gamble in the early 1990s to pursue the potential of biodiesel as a renewable energy source for the nation. P&G was one of the first producers of biodiesel, and Howell was at the vanguard of production technology. Recognizing his unique skills as a scientist, collaborator and communicator, the NBB recruited him to lead its national technical program. Howell is also president of MARC-IV Consulting Inc.  

Formal conferral will happen at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Montreal in May. To be named a Fellow is one of the highest forms of recognition conferred by AOCS, explained Mike Haas, a USDA researcher and past president of AOCS.  

“It's also rare for a person who is not directly involved in research at a university or a national lab, where they would generate a trail of publications by which evaluators can assess impact, to be named an AOCS Fellow,” Haas said. “In its history AOCS has named only about 85 people as Fellows, and their names constitute some of the very best in the fats and oils professions from around the globe. Steve Howell deserves to be among them.”

The AOCS motto is “connecting the science of oil chemistry to our daily lives,” and that’s something Jobe says Howell excels at. “As a brilliant scientist, he has an uncommon ability to communicate complex subjects to individuals with the highest levels of knowledge and experience all the way down to beginners,” Jobe said. “He's truly one of a kind.”  



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