Duvenhage brings industry experience to Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts

By Drew Daws

Published: Sep 27, 2019 12:00:00 AM

Dawid Duvenhage Dawid Duvenhage

The Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts recently welcomed a new faculty member with 30 years of industry experience in the alternative energy space.

“While great strides have been made to implement wind, water and solar technology, it’s difficult to see how these technologies will replace the needs of society in the future,” said Dawid Duvenhageresearch assistant professor in biosystems engineering. Developing sound alternative energy options is critical, and the Center is uniquely equipped to contribute to developing these technologies.

“Planning and executing projects safely are at the core of what we do. I hope to inspire students to take pride in how to safely develop, execute and present projects,” he said.

Duvenhage indicated that the center hopes to provide students the necessary tools to develop tangible research in contributing to the development of alternative energy technology aimed at relieving energy shortcoming.

“Research is a plan, do, review, repeat discipline," he said. "So not only book knowledge but true world experience comes in handy when you walk into your first job."

Duvenhage’s background includes work in developing a spent-rubber recycling process, coal gasification research and pilot-plant biomass conversion, among others.

“Project planning, project execution, dissecting big process data sets and data presentation is a big part of my life. It boils down to, ‘to measure is to know, to know is to measure.’”

Duvenhage was drawn to the center because of its research efforts in catalysis, syngas generation, syngas cleanup and syngas conversion to valuable products, like jet fuel, and electrical power.

“These capabilities neatly aligned with my experience and interests and it is a unique opportunity for me to contribute to Auburn’s program and to continue forward-looking research in the field.”

Duvenhage hopes to give back to the students, while preparing them to tackle issues that arise in the biosystems industry.

“The main objectives are to train world-class students and build out the activities of the center to that of an internationally-recognized research facility. Firstly, we want to safely train and expose students to concepts that will allow them to make a calculated impact to whichever industry they end up going in to.”

He added that he was drawn to Auburn because of its welcoming atmosphere and progressive mindset.

“Since I have been here, faculty have been extremely accommodating and helpful,” Duvenhage said. “One gets the sense that, ‘we want you here, how can we help you stay and be effective?’

“Auburn, or even the broader southeast, is ideally situated to advance the technologies the Center are interested in. The school appears to be looking at the overall energy reality, not just the now.”

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson, jeremyhenderson@auburn.edu, 334-844-3591

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