Rudi Roeslein, founder of Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) has been named the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) Air Conservationist of the Year.
“This award is a symbol of success; it’s a symbol of the hard work and dedication my teams have put forth. It’s also a symbol of what is yet to come. Many times where it seemed hopeless, the people, organizations, and non-profits who have assisted me on various projects are what gave me the hope that an organization like Roeslein Alternative Energy can really make a difference and keep us at the forefront of showing others what we can do to help keep our wildlife and environment growing,” said Rudi Roeslein when receiving his award.
Each year, the CFM honors those individuals or groups who exemplify the best and hardest working conservationists in Missouri. Roeslein was recognized at this year’s CFM Conservation Awards Ceremony, which was part of their 81st Annual Convention. The awards ceremony took place Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri where Rudi Roeslein was presented his award of a wildlife statuette created by Nova Blue Studio Arts.
Rudi Roeslein grew up in south St. Louis, after immigrating to America from Austria with his parents in 1956. He attended St. Louis University majoring in Engineering, and in 1990, put his degree to use by launching Roeslein & Associates. Today, Roeslein & Associates is a global engineering, modular fabrication, and construction company that is home to over 400 employees with offices across the United States, United Kingdom, and China.
In 2010, Rudi Roeslein began to follow a different path – a path that was led by his true passion for wildlife and prairie restoration. In 2012 he founded Roeslein Alternative Energy, an operator, and developer of renewable energy production facilities that converts agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products.
More recently, Roeslein has looked to his mentor, Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, in regards to starting a new project. “Dr. Raven has provided not only an extensive Ecological education for an Engineer like me late in his career but also a mentorship of invaluable proportions to help keep me inspired to pursue my dreams,” said Rudi Roeslein. Over the course of the last several years, Roeslein has been working with the University of Missouri, the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Prairie Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to brainstorm solutions to promote better farming techniques and better uses of what is classified as “marginal land,” land that doesn’t live up to current agricultural production standards. This team of workers from various industries is called the Midwest Conservation Biomass Alliance, or MCBA, and has provided critical guidance in the plant selection process, and prairie reconstruction design.
While Rudi Roeslein is a very modest man, if one were to ask Mr. Roeslein what his biggest accomplishment was, he would easily tell you, “Making my parents proud that I made the most of the sacrifices they made and opportunities they provided me. I truly have lived the American dream in being able to start and build, not one but two businesses and see them flourish to where they are today.”
In his speech, Mr. Roeslein referred to Roeslein Alternative Energy’s current project in Northern Missouri where his team has been working diligently on a significant project. RAE has partnered with Smithfield Hog Production (SHP) of Missouri to utilize their hog manure lagoons across nine farms by placing impermeable covers over them in order to anaerobically digest the manure to create methane gas. The captured methane will eliminate 850,000 tons of CO2 equivalent methane from escaping into the atmosphere and then be refined, cleaned and compressed before being injected into the national pipeline. This process will open up the possibility of replacing fossil natural gas and creating 17 million DGE’s (diesel-gallon equivalents) of pure natural gas.
During Horizon 2 of this process, RAE plans to combine animal waste with native prairie grasses and forbs, and cover crops from annual harvests to create a biomass that will be anaerobically digested to create more methane and a nutrient recovery comprised of fertilizer and compost. These nutrients will then be put back into the land in the form of organic fertilizer. Roeslein’s Alternative Energy’s 30/30 Project, envisions that providing an economic return for the biomass derived from native prairie reconstruction will also benefit ecological services of water absorption, soil erosion, CO2 sequestration, nutrient absorption, and provide wildlife and pollinators with critical habitat. As a company, their underlying goal is to restore 30,000,000 acres of land over 30 years to native prairie grasses. This will validate the value of sustainable prairie and the ecological, economic, social, and environmental impact it can have on others.
Rudi Roeslein will tell you, there is still a long way to go, but his dream is gaining momentum each and every day. In the 2016-2017 year, his businesses have been named a Best Place to Work by the St. Louis Business Journal, achieving a ranking in the Top 150 Privately Held Businesses in the Greater St. Louis area, winning “Friend of the ABC” category by the American Biogas Council (ABC), achieving recognition for his business models on Fox 2 Now, KPLR 11 and by Manufacturing Marvels. Additionally, Rudi Roeslein himself has been named a St. Louis Character by the St. Louis Business Journal, a Prairie Landowner of the Year by the Missouri Prairie Foundation and now, most recently achieving the honor of being the 2016 Air Conservationist of the Year. At 69, Rudi Roeslein has had a very successful career and has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
About Roeslein & Associates: Roeslein & Associates was founded in 1990, specializing in engineering, modular fabrication and construction services. The company has product offerings in both the can manufacturing industry and the process and energy sectors with annual revenues over $200 million. Its 400+ employees are spread throughout offices in St. Louis, MO (HQ), Red Bud, IL, Denver, CO, Birmingham, UK and Shanghai, China. To find out more, please visit www.roeslein.com.
About Roeslein Alternative Energy: Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) was founded in 2012 as an operator and developer of renewable energy production facilities that converts agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products. RAE engages in these business operations with a focus on incorporating native prairie restoration. RAE is a limited liability corporation with its principal offices located in St. Louis, Missouri. To find out more, please visit www.roesleinae.com.