Georgia Tech’s Valerie Thomas, a leading expert in energy and environmental analysis, has been invited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to serve as a member of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. The Committee advises DOE and USDA on R&D related to biofuels and feedstock development. Her appointment is effective through November 30, 2015.
As part of this Committee, Thomas, the Anderson Interface Associate Professor of Natural Systems at the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, will assist the Departments of Agriculture and Energy in meeting the Act’s important national goals of a healthier rural economy and improved national energy security. The Act’s main focus is on overcoming key technical challenges through research and development that will lead to a greatly expanded bio-based industry. Thomas will have the responsibility of providing advice to the Departments on matters including: biomass research and development, technical focus and direction of requests for proposals issued under the initiative, procedures for reviewing and evaluating requests for proposals, and facilitating consultation and partnerships among Federal agencies.
Thomas’ research interests are energy and materials efficiency, sustainability, industrial ecology, technology assessment, international security, and science and technology policy. Current research projects include the environmental impacts of biofuels and electricity system policy and planning. Thomas received a B. A. in physics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University. From 1986 to 1989, she was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1989 to 2004, she was a Research Scientist at Princeton University, in the Princeton Environmental Institute and in the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, and was a Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2004-05, Thomas was the American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. Thomas was a Member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board from 2003 to 2009, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Physical Society.
Industrial and Systems Engineering