Idaho National Lab scientist joins OriginOil advisory board

By Ron Kotrba | December 01, 2011

Algae company OriginOil Inc. has appointed Thomas H. Ulrich to its board of advisors. Most recently Ulrich was an Idaho National Laboratory advisory scientist working with OriginOil to create a strategic partnership between the two, and he launched the first Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between OriginOil and INL. OriginOil stated that Ulrich has been a key supporter of its technology, and that “he offers tremendous value to the company as a highly regarded thought leader in field of biomass and bioenergy.”

Ulrich worked with OriginOil to help design, implement, and complete its Phase 1 CRADA in February 2009, which resulted in what the company calls “an unprecedented energy balance model bringing algae-based fuels one step closer to reality.” He also contributed to the design of Phases 2 and 3 of the CRADA.

OriginOil stated Ulrich has been a key contributor to developing the Blendable Feedstock Standard, something with which the company is collaborating with the U.S. DOE and has the potential to help reduce biofuel dependence on food crops. Ulrich also initiated and expanded INL’s algae biomass R&D program focusing on the integration of algal systems into the national lab’s feedstock supply chain with the development of a uniform feedstock.

Ulrich has more than 25 years of experience in planning, securing funding, executing projects as a group leader and principal scientist in private industry and at INL.

He received a letter of commendation and a certificate of appreciation from the department’s Biomass Program for helping assess the quality of biomass feedstock derived from genetically modified plants as part of the Billion-Ton Update, and for characterizing gene expression that impacts biomass productivity.

“Tom has been key to our collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy on biofuel standardization,” said Paul Reep, OriginOil’s senior vice president of technology. “We have a similar vision and goal of creating standards for biofuels that will advance the whole industry.”