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NREL Engineer Robert McCormick Named SAE Fellow

February 6, 2017

Robert L. McCormick, an engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has been named a fellow of SAE International, an association for engineers and other technical experts in automotive, commercial-vehicle, and aerospace industries.

McCormick leads the NREL research team for advanced biofuels R&D, focusing on distribution and combustion of alternative fuels — biofuels, in particular. A hallmark of his work is the application of foundational chemistry principles to the understanding of fuel-engine interactions and setting of ASTM fuel quality standards. His research has included studies on biodiesel chemistry effects that led to the development of ASTM fuel quality standards and research into oxygenate chemical structure effects on gasoline properties, spark-ignition engine efficiency, and emissions.

"As a long-time member of SAE I am deeply honored to have been elected an SAE Fellow," McCormick said, "and humbled to be joining a group that includes the world's leading experts in my field."

"Bob's outstanding leadership within NREL, the fuels research community, and ASTM International makes him a tremendous asset to the field," said Chris Gearhart, director of NREL's Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center. "His expertise in fuel chemistry and standards, and discoveries in fuel-engine chemical interactions have led to new and enhanced approaches to the use of biofuels. His contributions toward advancing a varied and robust U.S. fuels industry are extremely significant."

Breakthrough work by McCormick's research team on how heating and cooling cycles affect the cold weather performance of biodiesel continues to serve as a foundation for low-cost solutions to cold weather problems. The studies have contributed to dramatic improvements in the quality of biodiesel and in the size of the biodiesel market in the United States, which has grown from less than 50 million gallons in 2004 to nearly two billion gallons in 2015. In addition, McCormick has contributed to the development and expansion of markets for ethanol, the most-used low-carbon transportation fuel worldwide.

Learn more about NREL’s sustainable transportation research.