Emerging Challenges in Catalysis for Sustainable Production of Transport Fuels: An Industrial View

2017 Spring Symposium

John Shabak­er, BP Group Research, Naperville, IL

Abstract — Pri­ma­ry ener­gy demand has grown tremen­dous­ly over the past cen­tu­ry, and despite the recent eco­nom­ic down­turn, it is pre­dict­ed to increase anoth­er 37% over the peri­od from 2013–20351. Dri­ven by glob­al pop­u­la­tion growth and ris­ing stan­dards of liv­ing, this rapid increase in demand has dri­ven inno­va­tion in the devel­op­ment of new ener­gy sup­plies and high­light­ed envi­ron­men­tal impacts of ener­gy pro­duc­tion & con­sump­tion. In this sem­i­nar, we will explore how these broad changes have in turn affect­ed the trans­porta­tion fuels sec­tor, great­ly influ­enc­ing the price and avail­abil­i­ty of feed­stocks, as well as the desired mix and qual­i­ty of prod­ucts. We will focus on the tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenges aris­ing for today’s trans­port fuels indus­try, and pro­vide com­men­tary on the role of catal­y­sis research to help address them.

1 BP Ener­gy Out­look 2035 (2017)

Biog­ra­phy — John is cur­rent­ly Tech­nol­o­gy Strate­gist in BP Group Research, where he pro­vides tech­ni­cal input into strate­gic ini­tia­tives across the com­pa­ny.  For­mer­ly, he was US Sci­ence Team Leader in the BP Cen­ter of Excel­lence for Applied Chem­istry & Physics, also part of Group Research that sup­ports busi­ness­es in refin­ing, petro­chem­i­cals, lubri­cants, and upstream pro­duc­tion, as well as man­ages glob­al uni­ver­si­ty pro­grams. From 2007–2011 John led the imple­men­ta­tion of new bio­fu­els path­ways in Refin­ing Tech­nol­o­gy, rang­ing from biobu­tanol process devel­op­ment to renew­able diesel co-pro­cess­ing in refin­ery hydrotreaters.   He was also active in con­ven­tion­al hydropro­cess­ing tech­nol­o­gy, includ­ing pilot plant oper­a­tions and mod­el­ling.

Pri­or to join­ing BP, John was a reac­tion engi­neer­ing spe­cial­ist at Bris­tol-Myers Squibb, apply­ing in-situ spec­troscopy, kinet­ics, and safe­ty stud­ies to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal process devel­op­ment.  He received his PhD in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing in 2004 from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son.  He holds bach­e­lor degrees in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing and chem­istry from Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty.