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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Kauffman, an ISU graduating senior who worked with REG on renewable diesel, receives award

Alex Kauffman, a chemical engineering student at Iowa State University who has spent much of the past year working as a part-time process development engineer with Renewable Energy Group, has received the Lawrence E. Burkhart Memorial Award for the spring 2021 commencement.


Kauffman has been assembling and troubleshooting a pilot plant hydrotreater for renewable diesel production in conjunction with Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm. He has also worked as an undergraduate research assistant at ISU studying characteristics of carbon-supported heterogenous catalysts with Dr. Brent Shanks. This work is driven by the need for more robust and selective catalysts for the future biorefinery. There, he was involved with more than 450 hours of reactor operation on a liquid-phase, packed-bed reactor for the hydrogenation of acetophenone.

During his time at ISU, Kauffman also took part in a co-op with LyondellBasell Industries in Houston, Texas, as well as interning with Poet Biorefining in Scotland, South Dakota.

Kauffman has been part of several groups, including the Tau Beta Bi engineering honor society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Iowa State student chapter, and Engineers Without Borders. He has been on the dean’s list since 2017.

After graduation, Kauffman will join Archer Daniels Midland Co. as a process engineer in Southport, North Carolina.



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