Each year the Excellence in Bioenergy Award is given at the International Biomass Conference and Expo. This year's recipient was a local farm boy who grew up in Ashton, Idaho, Dr. J Richard Hess.

Dr. Hess is the director of Idaho National Laboratory's Energy and Environment Science and Technology Programs Office and has been working at INL for many years. He was nominated and won this year's 2017 Excellence in Bioenergy Award for his contributions to the advancement of bioenergy.

The International Biomass Conference and Expo is sponsored by BBI International, a company that produces bioenergy events and trade magazines. This year's expo was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 10-12, where more than 1,000 people attended.

"I had no idea I'd been nominated," said Dr. Hess. "It was quite an honor to be nominated and recognized, especially in front of a pretty significant industry group."

One of the biggest projects Dr. Hess has been involved with deals with the development of feedstock supply systems which includes processing biomass to make fuels, chemicals and other products. Dr. Hess and INL have focused on the cost-effective use of crop residues in bio-refining operations.

Being a native of Fremont County, Idaho, Dr. Hess grew up on a farm, which inspired him to study plant science and botany at Utah State University and Brigham Young University.