Chemical engineering alumnus receives Excellence in Government Award


By Tessa M. Pick

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Anthony Burgard, a Penn State chemical engineering alumnus, received a 2021 Excellence in Government Award presented by the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board. Burgard’s recognition included a Gold Award in the Outstanding Contribution to Science category for his work in the development of new science-based computational modeling tools.

As part of Public Service Recognition Week, the 2021 Excellence in Government Award was given to 55 federal employees to honor their work that encourages innovation and excellence in government, reinforces pride in federal service and calls public attention to the range of services provided by federal employees.

Burgard currently works at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) as the supervisor of the Process Systems Engineering Research team. The team designs and improves existing and next generation power plants and integrated energy systems with the intent to minimize the costs and environmental impacts of the systems.

“The most rewarding part of receiving this award is that it helps to bring a small level of national recognition to the lab and our team,” Burgard said.

Burgard also serves as a principal investigator for the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES), a collaborative effort led by NETL that spans several national laboratories and universities. IDAES develops and applies a next-generation platform for process systems engineering that is built specifically to enable rigorous large-scale mathematical optimization. In 2020, IDAES won an R&D 100 award, which recognizes developers for their technologically influential products introduced into the marketplace during the last year.

The computational modeling tools developed by Burgard’s team have proven applicable in real-world situations. For example, under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc.’s Escalante Power Plant, these tools enabled the plant to improve its minimum operating load, reducing fuel cost and carbon dioxide emissions.

Burgard earned his bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Penn State in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

“Penn State provided all the technical skills — chemical engineering fundamentals, process systems engineering, mathematical optimization — necessary to be successful in the engineering field,” Burgard said. “My Ph.D. adviser, Costas Maranas [Donald B. Broughton Professor of Chemical Engineering], was and continues to be an amazing mentor who puts his current and former students as his top priority.”


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Anthony Burgard, Penn State chemical engineering alumnus, received a 2021 Excellence in Government Award presented by the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board. IMAGE: PROVIDED BY ANTHONY BURGARD