While many college students spent their summer lounging by the pool or vacationing, one California scholar used her time to learn more about low-carbon cellulosic biofuels and their vast potential to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Diamond Coleman, a senior biology major at Occidental College in Los Angeles, served as an intern at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and focused her work primarily on cellulosic ethanol made from corn kernel fiber. The Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF), Pacific Ethanol, and Aemetis co-sponsored Coleman’s internship. The RFF is the research and educational arm of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
“Previously, I have been consumed in laboratory research studies and this gave me a chance to get out of that box and expand my horizons,” Coleman said. “I was a sponge and absorbed as much information as I could about cellulosic ethanol production and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”
While at CARB, Coleman conducted and extensive literature review regarding cellulosic ethanol and compiled her findings into a comprehensive report that was shared with CARB staff and other industry experts. Through this work, Coleman said she developed a deep appreciation for the role that cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber and other feedstocks can play in reducing GHG emissions.
“Thanks to this internship, I learned about the numerous clean energy benefits of cellulosic ethanol,” said Coleman. “I am passionate about efforts to help clean the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and believe cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber can play a significant role. I greatly appreciate the opportunity afforded to me and want to thank the Renewable Fuels Foundation, Pacific Ethanol, and Aemetis for co-sponsoring my internship.”
Coleman will work part-time for CARB during the school year at the agency’s El Monte location, where she says she will “assist in facilitating more community outreach meetings while helping the start-up of community based GHG reduction projects.”
“Pacific Ethanol was delighted to support this internship opportunity for Diamond,” said Pacific Ethanol Co-Founder and CEO Neil Koehler. “It is vitally important to Pacific Ethanol that we do our part in developing the next generation of leaders to help us confront the challenges of climate change, energy security, and environmental protection.”
Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said, “We were proud to co-sponsor Diamond’s internship at CARB and it is clear she gained invaluable insights into the benefits of using low carbon biofuels to reduce our use of fossil energy. We are certain Diamond will put this experience to good use in her future endeavors.”
“The Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) strives to educate and inform tomorrow’s leaders about the many benefits of renewable fuels, and we can think of no better way to do that than to support opportunities for students like Diamond to gain hands-on experience and on-the-job training,” said RFF Chair Dana Lewis of Redfield Energy. “We look forward to future opportunities to expose more students to the advantages of biofuels like ethanol.”