Strategic Advisory Board

John R. Benemann, Ph.D.
John R. Benemann is a highly sought after, internationally-recognized, bioenergy expert who is currently active on advisory boards to several domestic and overseas governmental agencies and corporations.

Throughout his 30+ year career, he has authored numerous publications related to microalgae based upon his work in the area of biofuels, in particular microalgae biofuels, greenhouse gas abatement, and environmental biotechnologies. He was a key participant in the US Department of Energy "Aquatic Species Program" and a principal author of the final report prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Among other activities, Dr. Benemann was a member of the US DOE-NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory) "NOE Carbon Sequestration Project Review Committee" and is Manager of the International Network on Biofixation of CO
2 and Greenhouse Gas Abatement with Microalgae" operating under the International Energy agency "Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme." Dr. Benemann is on the steering committee of the Algal Biomass Organization, a not-for-profit industry association. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley, where he worked with the founding figure in U.S. microalgae research, Dr. William Oswald.

Edgar Berkey, Ph.D.
Edgar Berkey is a nationally recognized expert on environmental and energy issues associated with alternatives to fossil fuels, environmental clean-up, and hazardous waste management. Dr. Berkey is now a private consultant to government and industry but previously was VP, R&D, and Chief Quality Officer for Concurrent Technologies Corporation (, a 1,500-person, applied R&D, and technology transfer organization with 35 regional offices across the U.S. His specific areas of focus included advanced fuel cells, hydrogen economy technologies, alternative energies, and clean environmental technologies.

Dr. Berkey has maintained a high level of involvement in the development of energy and environmental research strategies at three U.S. National Laboratories over the past 15 years – Chair of the Strategic Planning Review Committee for the Idaho National Energy and Environmental Laboratory (10 yrs); Member of the Laboratory Advisory Committee for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (5 yrs); and Member and former Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Savannah River Site of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (15 yrs).

Dr. Berkey is a member of the American Chemical Society and a Patron of the American Nuclear Society. He has been a member of DOE’s Environmental Management Advisory Board, as well as the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Berkey holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and attended the Executive MBA Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

David E. Brune, Ph.D.
David Brune, with more than 30 years of research activity in aquaculture research, is an internationally recognized expert in aquaculture engineering, wastewater treatment, and recovery of waste nutrients. He has been working closely with Kent BioEnergy's founders for more than 25 years.

He is the inventor of the Partitioned Aquaculture Systems (PAS) and Controlled Eutrophication Process (CEP) systems at Clemson University to which the company has exclusive worldwide rights. He continues to work with the company on advancements related to those technologies.

As a tenured Professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, he holds the Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences. Prior to his appointment to Clemson University, Dr. Brune directed a large aquaculture engineering program at the University of California at Davis. He has written many publications on the design of aquaculture water treatment systems, describing his extensive research in the use of fluidized bed treatment concepts and other innovative systems. He recently authored a special report for the U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment on Sustainable Aquaculture in the U.S. Dr. Brune received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Agricultural and Environmental Engineering.

David Dodds, Ph.D.
David Dodds has led interdisciplinary process development groups using biological methods to perform organic synthesis for over 25 years resulting in an extensive record of patents and publications. Pursuing a longstanding ambition, he established Dodds & Associates in 2002, providing technical management and diligence to the small and start-up pharma, biotech, and industrial biotech companies. Recently, he consulted on several Industrial biotechnology projects for producing commodity chemicals from biomass, for three years at the Michigan Biotechnology Institute.

In the earlier days of his career, David was one of the first scientists at Sepracor. His work led to a number of patents covering the enzymatic resolution of pharmaceutical intermediates. Then, he established a new process group at Schering-Plough which successfully introduced biocatalysis at scales ranging from lab-bench to pilot-plant. Subsequently, he became Director of Fermentation and Biocatalysis Development at Bristol-Meyers Squibb. Among other projects, Dr. Dodds was involved and instrumental in all TAXOL® related process technology. He currently serves on the technical advisory board of zuChem, and has just completed six years on the advisory board of Codexis.

David obtained his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry under Prof. Bryan Jones at the University of Toronto in 1984. He was awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada post-doctoral fellowship, which he pursued in molecular biology with Prof. Marvin Caruthers at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Brantley Haigh, MBA
Brantley Haigh is the principal of BKH & Associates, a business development consulting practice focused on the life sciences sector, developing domestic market opportunities for international companies and advising early stage companies in partnering opportunities and capital formation.

Prior to that, he was a Trade Commissioner for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade from 1997, providing advocacy on Canadian issues within the Southwestern United States and developing bilateral trade and investment opportunities. As Trade Commissioner, he was responsible for representing Canadian life science capabilities across the U.S. Southwest and was a resource for bringing companies, institutions and government agencies together to advance cross-border business, bilateral trade, and investment opportunities.

Mr. Haigh is a member of Pasadena Entretec supporting technology companies in the San Gabriel Valley and past Chair of Entretec's Public Policy Committee. He has also been involved on BIOCOM (San Diego) Capital Markets and Legislative Committees. He has a B.S. in Engineering from UCLA and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Ruihong Zhang, Ph.D.
Ruihong Zhang is a Professor in Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of California, Davis. She has many years of research, teaching, and engineering experiences with biogas and biofuel production, environmental pollution control, organic residual management and bioconversion technologies. Her current research is focused on conversion of organic residuals to biofuels and biobased products, wastewater treatment, and air quality control. Dr. Zhang has over 160 scientific publications and 4 patents. She is the director for UC Davis Biogas Energy Project, which is sponsored by the alliance between UC Davis and private industry. She has served as an expert on many international and national technical committees and is a member of editorial boards of several scientific journals.