Profile: Rafael Hernandez
Rafael Hernandez has devoted much of his professional and personal life to "green" by promoting bioenergy.
First, the associate professor in Mississippi State's Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering has focused his research on finding viable alternatives to petroleum—from turning algae into fuel to finding ways to transform wastewater treatment plants into biocrude refineries.
He sees his research focus as something that can benefit the entire world, from Starkville to Stockholm, because fuel and energy costs drive nearly every nation's economy.
"Everybody understands that petroleum is a finite resource," he said. "At some point, we'll reach a peak, and prices will skyrocket."
Hernandez has helped organize MSU's annual biofuels conference for five years to bring together state and federal government officials, private industry, top researchers, and others to help bring alternative energy into mainstream use in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.
However, Hernandez refuses to leave his green, energy efficient worldview in the laboratory. In two and a half years, he has slimmed down by 80 pounds by reigniting his passion for cycling.
"I look at it as a very clean and free activity," he said. "Now, I'm also more energy efficient."
Next week … Leroy Davenport !