Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi, professor and director of the Biological Engineering Program at North Carolina A&T State University, has been appointed to serve on the federal Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. The appointment was made by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsak.

The committee advises two departments on technical issues surrounding the development of biobased industries in the United States. Biobased industries are those that process agricultural and forestry biomass into many of the same products derived from petroleum, including liquid fuels, chemicals, and plastics. These industries have the potential to play important roles in spurring economic growth, reducing the nation’s dependence on imported oil, and addressing global climate change by lowering greenhouse gases.
“I am extremely honored to have been selected to serve in this capacity,” Shahbazi said. “Biobased industries present tremendous economic opportunities, but they also present technical and logistical challenges which require coordination between government, private industry and academia. I am looking forward to contributing to this worthwhile enterprise.”

Shahbazi has had more than 20 years experience in biomass processing research. He is a former chair of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, and served as a convening board member for Biofuels Center of North Carolina. He is also co-author of the North Carolina Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, which set the goal that by 2017, 10 percent of the liquid fuel sold in North Carolina is to be biofuels, grown and produced in the state.

“Dr. Shahbazi has long been recognized in North Carolina for his expertise in bioprocessing technologies, and we are extremely honored that this valued member of our faculty has now been afforded the opportunity to contribute his expertise to the nation as well,” said Dr. William Randle, dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at A&T.
Shahbazi received his Ph. D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Penn State in 1982, and has served on the A&T faculty since 1983.