Bio-fuel tech for Fast Company Magazine

When I bought my current car in 1999, I told the dealer that I'd drive it until someday I could reason to buy an alternative fuel car which could carry all my photo shit. That day hasn't come but it seems as though alternative fuel may instead be coming to my car.

Jim Rekoske of Honeywell's specialty bio fuel unit, UOP.

Fast Company Magazine recently assigned me to photograph a chemist for a feature on the growing field of bio fuel technology. Ethanol from corn is currently America's most common bio-fuel. It's used as an additive to gasoline to stem the use of oil. Corn is arguably a poor source of fuel so other sources are being explored.

I shoot Jim Rekoske at Honeywell who's perfecting making gasoline and jet fuels out of camelina, a non food crop grown in rotation with wheat. I visited Jim at his lab in Des Plaines, IL and he happily let me poke around his labyrinth of insulated pipes, gauges and cylinders. His lab was essentially a very scaled down version of what hopes to become large scale fuel production plant.

Jim Rekoske exchanging glances with HAL's younger cousin.

Photographing scientists and artists have been some of my most loved editorial assignments. There's a shared mind by both people. I can relate to how each looks at the world as an unfinished story with possibility for the future. To be either, I believe you need to have faith in new ways of looking at something old. (another post about a scientist.)

photo editor: Marian Barragan
retouching: Tim Blokel