Catalysis and Energy Interlinked as Businesses

2011 Spring Symposium

John N. Armor
Ore­field, PA, USA

Abstract — Ener­gy is one of the biggest busi­ness­es in the world, and catal­y­sis plays a big part in mak­ing this hap­pen. For 2010, the pro­ject­ed mar­ket for cat­a­lysts for ener­gy and envi­ron­men­tal seg­ments exceed­ed $16. bil­lion (Bharat Book Bureau, June 2010). This pre­sen­ta­tion will describe the impor­tance of under­stand­ing how cur­rent and future ener­gy needs and usage fit inti­mate­ly into catal­y­sis and chem­istry. Ener­gy needs and con­sump­tion impact economies world­wide, glob­al envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, and also the chem­i­cal indus­try. Catal­y­sis plays a piv­otal role in cre­at­ing new, more effi­cient routes to chem­i­cals and adding flex­i­bil­i­ty to our spec­trum of ener­gy sources, ener­gy car­ri­ers, and ener­gy conversion/production, while offer­ing a green­er more sus­tain­able solu­tion to future ener­gy demands. Thus, catal­y­sis is fun­da­men­tal to gen­er­at­ing cur­rent and future ener­gy solu­tions, and new ener­gy effi­cient sys­tems. Catal­y­sis has and will con­tin­ue to play a key role in the gen­er­a­tion of envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, sus­tain­able, and clean­er sources of ener­gy. The pre­sen­ta­tion will look anew at glob­al ener­gy sup­plies and focus on the com­po­nents and the increas­ing role of nat­ur­al gas (rel­a­tive to petro­le­um and coal), renew­ables, gas purifi­ca­tion, and how all this pro­vides mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties for catal­y­sis, espe­cial­ly with regard to envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns. What is impres­sive is the past and pro­ject­ed growth of the world’s demand for ener­gy. Over the last 30 years, all of the major fuel options have shown mod­est growth, but these growth rates are pro­ject­ed to increase sig­nif­i­cant­ly over the next 20 years. World ener­gy demand is expect to expand by almost 45% between 2010 and 2030. It is clear that this demand is dri­ven not only by sus­tained growth in the US and Europe, but by rapid growth in Chi­na, India, and oth­er parts of Asia. The key is that demand will remain tight and very sus­cep­ti­ble to unpre­dictable events which can cre­ate hav­oc in the com­modi­ties mar­kets. When cou­pled with increas­ing pop­u­la­tions and people’s nat­ur­al quest to improve lifestyles, the price of oil (and ener­gy) is pro­ject­ed to only go high­er and high­er. The demands on ener­gy sup­ply will con­tin­ue to push nations to retrieve dirt­i­er sources of oil (oil shale and tar sands) and impure nat­ur­al gas. Those mar­ket forces and envi­ron­men­tal pres­sures, through tougher emis­sions con­trols and purifi­ca­tion stan­dards, will con­tin­ue to dri­ve con­tin­u­ing growth in cat­a­lysts as well as purifi­ca­tion meth­ods and mate­ri­als.

Speaker’s Biog­ra­phy — John N. Armor, PhD, has oper­at­ed his own inter­na­tion­al catal­y­sis con­sult­ing com­pa­ny, Glob​al​Catal​y​sis​.com L.L.C., since retir­ing from Air Prod­ucts, Inc in 2004 (after 19 years). Before serv­ing as the leader of the Catal­y­sis Research Cen­ter at Air Prod­ucts, he was a group leader at Allied Chem­i­cal (11 years), and an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Chem­istry at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty (4 years). He is a past Pres­i­dent of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (2001–2009) and active­ly involved in oth­er pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions, served as an edi­tor of Applied Catal­y­sis and CATTECH, and also has served on sev­er­al edi­to­r­i­al boards. He has pub­lished over 125 arti­cles in catal­y­sis and been a co-inven­tor on over 50 US patents, and he has been inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized by sev­er­al pres­ti­gious awards (includ­ing the Houdry and Mur­phree Awards and the Excel­lence in Catal­y­sis Award of the Philadel­phia Catal­y­sis Club).