Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers


Exploring this Job

Read publications and journals about biofuels and biodiesel to keep up with developments in the field. Find a list of publications and other resources on the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site, BiofuelsDigest has articles, policy information, and guides on its Web site, Get an internship or part-time job in a company that provides research and development services on biofuels or biodiesel products. If you're in school, ask your career services office for assistance in researching and locating internship and job opportunities. Search for job openings also by using employment Web sites and conducting an online search for companies that specialize in biofuels or biodiesel research and development.

The Job

Biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers design or conduct research projects on biofuels and biodiesel, analyzing their potential for commercial uses. They study topics like thermodynamics, transport, mixing, filtration, distillation, fermentation, extraction, and separation. They aim to improve on process technologies in their studies of fluid dynamics, water treatments, and extraction and recovery of biofuels. They are responsible for finding ways to convert renewable energy sources, such as vegetable oils, algae, and switchgrass, to biofuel. These types of sources are known as feedstocks.

Other tasks involved in this type of work include developing and preparing the plans for the biofuels or biodiesel experiments, or reviewing the plans and overseeing the experiments. Technology and product development managers guide the technical staff by providing technical or scientific information on the research and development process. They analyze the results of the applied biofuels or biodiesel research projects and make recommendations for new products, processes, technologies, or applications.

The job requires the ability to identify and solve complex problems, to sense when something might become a problem, and to come up with solutions that prevent problems from happening. Strong research, analytical, math, and writing skills are essential. Technology and product development managers use various software programs to gather and analyze data and to create reports. Some examples of the programs they use are analytic or scientific software, such as Agilent ChemStation; Fleet Asset Management and Optimization solutions FAMOS PEPSE; and GE Energy GateCycle. They also use enterprise resource planning software, e-mail software, and spreadsheet and Word processing software.