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Propane Personality: Rebecca Boudreaux

November 17, 2020 By     1 Comments
Rebecca Boudreaux headshot

Boudreaux

Rebecca Boudreaux
President and CEO, Oberon Fuels

Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ph.D., Polymer Science and Engineering
Master of Science, Polymer Science and Engineering

University of Southern Mississippi
Bachelor of Science, Polymer Science

Work Experience

September 2020-Present
Oberon Fuels
President and CEO
2011-20
President

2009-11
Onsite Innovations
CEO

2004-08
Intezyne Technologies
CFO

Dimethyl ether (DME) and the propane industry

Photo courtesy of Oberon Fuels

Oberon Fuels aims to get renewable DME with propane blends on the road in 2021, Boudreaux shares. Photo courtesy of Oberon Fuels

DME is a clean-burning and renewable fuel that handles similarly to propane. It is made from any methane source, including animal manure, food waste and landfill gas.

“The propane industry is perfectly set up to be the infrastructure and the logistics partner for this molecule. We like to say that DME and propane are cousins. They have similar bloodlines but unique personalities. The propane industry has an opportunity to leverage the existing infrastructure. The industry knows how to move, transport and dispense propane, and with little or no modifications, that infrastructure can be used to work with renewable DME. The propane industry can be the one to move renewable DME, store it and be part of this industry. By blending in DME, you can get down to a carbon intensity of 11. So propane and DME, by working together, can provide a solution for carbon neutrality. When you blend renewables, you can approach carbon neutrality. So [there are] great opportunities to work together.”

What partnerships have you formed with propane companies?

“2020 has been a busy year for us. In February, we announced a formal collaboration with SHV Energy, the world’s largest distributor of LPG. That collaboration focused on creating the global market for renewable DME and resulted in several projects. On Sept. 17, we announced the formation of a partnership with Suburban Propane. It acquired a 39 percent stake in Oberon, committed to ongoing financing for Oberon, as well as marketing rights for renewable DME in North America.”

September promotion to CEO of Oberon Fuels

“It was exciting on multiple fronts because it also represented for me the investments many people had made in me as a leader: my parents encouraging me [and] pushing the importance of academics and education and the belief that I can accomplish whatever I want, to the mentors in my undergraduate studies, to my professional career organization, Women in America. It gave me the opportunity to thank the people who invested in me, and they could see a tangible outcome of working with me and helping me get to this point.”

Rebecca Boudreaux family Photo: Michael Craft

Boudreaux says being in a clean-energy industry helps her to serve as a role model for her two children. Photo by Michael Craft

Accomplishments

“Professionally, I’m most proud of how our team has navigated 2020. Being an early-stage company is challenging enough – and then you throw in a global pandemic and economic crisis, and just complete chaos. I am very impressed and proud of the team for our ability to continue, not just to hold on, but to grow. We’ve grown substantially since March. In addition to bringing new members to the team, we’re finalizing the engineering for our production plant. It’s very exciting what’s been able to continue to happen. Personally, I’m most proud of being involved in an industry that’s making the world a better place and to also be able to be a role model for our children.”

Growth plans for Oberon Fuels

“We are, as quickly as possible, getting our first renewable DME molecules out of our plant in 2021. Parallel, we are developing our first full production process: a three-step process, the full process. We’re working on that to bring on another plant in a few years. We are, on the production side, pushing for also getting renewable DME on the road with propane blends, looking at on-road vehicles, looking at forklifts and looking beyond at DME as a hydrogen carrier.”

Hobbies

“Pre-COVID, there was definitely a big travel component. My husband is Portuguese and his family is in Portugal, so we [usually visit] at least once a year, as well as travel elsewhere. Currently, that’s a bit of a challenge, so we’ve been homebound for a long time. I still enjoy doing CrossFit. It’s fun, it’s dynamic and you can still do it on Zoom. I also enjoy cooking. For me, it’s my chemist training in action.”

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

1 Comment on "Propane Personality: Rebecca Boudreaux"

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  1. I’ve known Rebecca for several years now through my work on the ASTM Subcommittee H on LP-Gas specifications. She is diligent and energetic, a fine representative for the upstart DME industry. Wishing her the best as the propane industry works toward solutions in the current regulatory environment.

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