Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO)
Chemical Engineering – PhD Candidate

You can trace Shyam Paudel’s interest in energy back to his childhood, growing up in the mountains of Western Nepal. Children commonly studied by the light of kerosene lamps.

“One summer, my father bought two solar panels for the house – after that, I never had to study under the dim, irritating haze of a kerosene lamp again,” Paudel says. “Even as a middle school boy, I recognized the power of this change, and my desire to end energy poverty was born.”

Since 2015, his research in college has focused on hybrid energy systems, and biodiesel in particular. Paudel’s graduate school research group’s work investigates the design and test of glycerol-to-ethanol synthesis using anaerobic digestion process.

“This process will resolve the excess glycerol waste produced during biodiesel production,” Paudel said. “We also study the business model of the biodiesel supply chain and design and test lab-scale ‘advanced supercritical reactor technology’ with the goal to make a sustainable biodiesel process with glycerol-to-ethanol recycle capabilities.”

In 2016, he worked with the National Science Foundation through the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) project. His team was awarded more than $50,000 to examine the supply chain of biodiesel. They interviewed 132 individuals in the industry and reported findings to the NSF and the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Earning an NGSB scholarship to the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Paudel presented posters at the conference in San Diego, and at the Biodiesel Technical Workshop in Kansas City, MO. He says the relationships he built at these events have helped him understand the biodiesel industry.

Since 2016, he has visited four biodiesel plants, an underground lead mine that uses 100% biodiesel, and two waste cooking oil collection facilities from California to Iowa.

Paudel’s other experience includes working as a Process Engineer for Brewer Science, an advanced manufacturer of the semiconductor company, in Rolla, Missouri. He worked on design, specification, and quality procedures.

After earning his PhD, Paudel hopes to pursue a career in an Engineering discipline that directly makes an impact on poor people’s lives.

“My personal fascination with biodiesel stems not only from its environmental advantages, but also because it can end rural communities’ energy poverty,” Paudel said. “As a NGSB co-chair, I hope to build relationships with the commercial energy industry, advocate NBB goals, and promote outreach in communities and universities.”