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Congressman Harry Teague visits UNM to Discuss Biofuel Training

June 30, 2009

teagueNew Mexico's Second Congressional District Congressman Harry Teague visited the UNM campus to announce legislation intended to set aside funds for training and fellowships in accredited biofuels engineering programs. Teague says his bill will allow for a one time grant to study appropriate standards for the accreditation of undergraduate and graduate biofuels engineering programs.

Photo: Congressman Harry Teague visits with SOE Dean Joe Cecchi

It will also provide funding for biofuels engineering programs and biofuels engineering training centers. In addition, the bill will provide fellowships to undergrads and graduate students studying biofuels engineering and provide access to scientific research facilities.

UNM’s School of Engineering is involved in a variety of biofuels related research efforts including the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, a partnership with other universities, and the Partnership for International Research which allows students to study both at UNM and at universities in Europe.

UNM Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Abaya Datye says, "Chemical engineers are poised to address the problem of biofuels as the U.S. transitions to an economy in which energy sources can be used much more efficiently."

Steve Graves, associate director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering, says researchers in the center are beginning to look at the problems inherent in biomass. He believes they will be doing more plant involved work in the future. And Associate Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Plamen Atanassov is working with a group that includes both university and industry researchers who are exploring ways to construct fuel cells that use biofuels to produce energy.

As part of his announcement, Teague toured UNM laboratory facilities and spoke with faculty members about their research activities. Teague’s proposed legislation is the "Biofuel Engineering Training Act."