4 minutes with… Sam A. Rushing, President of Advanced Cryogenics

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

The company has supported the development and/or reevaluation of subjects for many or today’s CO2 plants from biofuels; with work supporting one of the first cellulosic ethanol ventures as well. The work covers subjects from technical, through market and industry intelligence; to applications, and expert witness work. Thus, I am all about CO2.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

My goals are to follow the most viable technologies, feedstock types, and projects which have the greatest chance for commercialization; as well as ongoing work covering a full menu of tasks and services from technical through market, and applications related work.

The CO2 industry is continuing to add and improve upon raw sources of the commodity from all areas of biofuels, from traditional corn based, through advanced biofuels.

CO2 is ever more important and in the limelight due to real or perceived daunting greenhouse gas (GHG) effects and regulations planned or in place to tame GHG. Beyond the environmental side of this equation, it is essential for the biofuels or allied chemical, energy, and environmental projects to recover CO2 and make as much money from the commodity as possible. The keys to this further challenge, of course is a function of market evaluations and applications development for carbon dioxide. Further, raw gas contracts should be reevaluated over time.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

It is critical for the advanced biofuels sector of the industry to commercialize the advanced technologies, scale up, and become more efficient in order to press ahead in the face of the oil sector, which will not continue low values for long. The key to the future for energy production certainly comes from biofuels related projects.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

I would reduce the reluctance of investors, also political disfavor and instability; as well as a strong return of independent developers, such as those who evaluated, planned, and developed so many corn based projects in North America before the recession. The future needs those who are willing to move forward.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

What is important and compelling is the fact that future biofuels projects will be a good part of the future for energy production; where renewables are the future, not long term petroleum consumption and depletion.

Where are you from? 

I grew up in Santa Fe, NM; a small town, capital city of New Mexico.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

I majored in chemistry, where I always had interest in sciences; this was the University of New Mexico.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

Mentors, generally were those successful individuals within the industry, specifically in the corporate days. Some of these guys were smart and innovative.

I also considered my dad to be a mentor; and perhaps on a national stage, Carl Sagan.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?  

I have learned in adversity, creativity can be launched. Some of this would be relevant in my corporate days with Amerigas, CO2 Division; as well as the recession starting in 2008. I also know that during times of adversity and downturns, things always cycle back to a positive phase, given we do not give up.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?  

I am an avid bicyclist, with more miles on my road bikes than my cars and motorcycles. Further, interests include photography, and adopting dogs and pets in need of a home.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

I would probably think in terms of good magazines I currently read, which include The New Yorker, Harpers, and The Christian Monitor.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?  

Articles from a wide variety of publications, including the above mentioned magazines; as pleasure reading. Then for business, the WSJ is a good business tool. Then, allied publications in the biofuels industry; as well as publications or data on hydrocarbon and chemical based sources for CO2.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

Many such places come to mind, including Nairobi on business; then for pleasure perhaps a number of European destinations, including Florence.

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