April RichardsPrakash Balan joined the Small Business Innovation Research Program at NSF in 2011 as a Program Director leading the Chemical and Environmental Technology funding focus. He has over 20 years of broad experience spanning R&D, new technology development and commercialization in both large and small entrepreneurial company environments. After a career with ARCO Chemical and Lyondell Chemical Company where he led innovation with several chemical technologies and was recognized for his significant contributions, he co-founded two successful companies, first an environmental engineering technology company and thereafter a biofuels company. These companies served to commercialize his patents related to industrial multiphase reactors applicable to chemical and biochemical production, as well as energy efficient patented oxygenation technologies for biological wastewater treatment. Notably, in municipal wastewater treatment, approximately 5% of US municipal secondary wastewater treatment capacity is currently being treated using technologies he developed, achieving 20-30% energy efficiency improvements in each installation. In the biofuels arena, he led the development, design and commercialization of a proprietary process technology and directed the successful construction and commissioning of a grass roots chemical plant with capacity to produce 10-15 million gallon per year of biodiesel from waste oils and animal fats. Prakash holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.