Beth Calabotta Sustainability Education Grant

NBF Intent: To create a grant memorializing Beth Calabotta for her lifetime achievements and dedication to biodiesel sustainability and research.

Grant Purpose:
 This grant provides financial aid to students studying initiatives that promote or support the use of biodiesel or renewable diesel.  A portion of the financial award will be used to cover the recipient’s costs to attend and participate in the Biodiesel Sustainability Workshop (November 3-4, 2020 in St. Louis, MO) and related pre and post-workshop activities. The remaining funds will be applied toward academic expenses.

Applicant  Eligibility: Students must be a US citizen, full-time student and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The grant is open to both undergraduate (seniors preferred) and graduate students. An eligible student must describe how his or her studies support the growth of biodiesel or renewable diesel(to be justified by the student). Recipients must attend the Biodiesel Sustainability Workshop in St. Louis. Recipients must register and participate in the Next Generation Scientist for Biodiesel, which is open to all students.

This opportunity is closed for 2020. Applications are under review. Read more about past award winner, Mary Kate Mitchel.

Winner will be announced and notified by August 30, 2020.

About Beth: The Beth Calabotta Sustainability Education Grant was established to help deserving full-time students interested in science, research and biodiesel sustainability.  Beth worked more than 25 years at Monsanto in St. Louis, MO as a Chemical Engineer, with increasing responsibilities focused on the development and commercialization of new technologies. Beth completed her tenure at Monsanto in October 2014 as Director & Fellow of Monsanto’s Bioenergy Development Program.

The Indirect Land Use Change Theory states that increasing commodity prices would result in more land put into agriculture production.  Beth rejected that theory and made the opposite claim which was that “increasing commodity prices” are good for the environment because farmers will be able to optimize production, producing more food per acre which is better for the environment.  Based on Beth’s work, the Foundation and the National Biodiesel Board want to continue building on the idea that adopting innovative technologies and diversifying markets will produce environmental benefits that can be documented through research and data.  In addition, Beth’s impact while serving on the Foundation board led to soybean-based biodiesel qualifying as an Advance Biofuel in the RFS and reduced the carbon score for soy-based biodiesel by 50% and corn ethanol by 30% in the California and Oregon low carbon fuel standards.

The work Beth started at NBF on ILUC has garnered international attention and support as well.  NBF has received financial backing from the European Biodiesel Board and FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association, to evaluate and compare GTAP-BIO and European GLOBIOM models.  The international collaboration will serve to spread what we have learned about ILUC modeling to the European continent and better inform policy decisions.  The European Commission is now reconsidering the data inputs GLOBIOM models used in Europe to predict ILUC impacts.

Beth was an advocate for student development and a supporter of biofuel sustainability. She had an unquenchable love for agriculture and life sciences. Later in her career, Beth’s efforts focused almost solely on the development of biofuels as viable energy alternatives to conventional fuels.