Rick Gustafson is a chemical engineer who is finding ways to create the fuels and chemicals we use every day out of biomass, rather than petroleum. This poses considerable technical and economic challenges, which ultimately must be overcome with a minimal impact on the environment. From agricultural residues (wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse) to energy crops (hybrid poplar), Gustafson focuses on biomass that is either of low value for other products, or can be grown with minimal inputs. He and colleagues were awarded a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand what has been a Midwest-centric biofuels industry into Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and northern California.  Core to the project is working with numerous partners from industry and agricultural to examine scientific and technological questions that will advance biofuel science and production, as well as address potential social and economic impacts. Gustafson holds the Denman Chair in Bio-Resource Science and Engineering.