Future Fuels and Chemicals: Grand Challenges and Opportunities

AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 2, 2012 - 12:00am

To insure a Sustainable Future, CO2 emissions must be reduced despite strong future growth in demand. “Easy oil” from conventional production will be less abundant, though coal and natural gas, as well as unconventional hydrocarbon reserves will remain in strong supply for decades to come. Carbon footprint, cost, and convenience will be critical drivers for future energy choices. Basis recent advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, enhanced production of tight gas, shale gas, and coal bed methane will enable natural gas to be both an affordable and abundant option for meeting short and long-term sustainable energy goals. Sustainable production of biofuels, with consideration of well-to-wheels carbon intensity and other resource impacts, will play a major role in reducing carbon intensity in the transportation sector. Carbon capture and sequestration along with renewable energy sources and enhanced energy efficiency will play increasing roles in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions across the diversity of resources that will be deployed to meet local and global stakeholder needs for energy and security. Advantaged routes to chemicals will be impacted by new feedstocks and performance requirements for fuels, providing opportunities for innovation in gas to chemicals, biobased chemicals, and selective conversions associated with hydrocarbon portfolio balancing. Significant time and investment will be required to bring forth new alternative energy systems to materiality, driving the development of new paradigms for efficient de-risking and deployment of technology.

This presentation will address opportunities for the chemical engineering profession to differentiate and excel in sustainably meeting future needs in fuels and chemicals.

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