Bielenberg Named CTO of RAPID Manufacturing Institute

James R. Bielenberg

Chief Technology Officer will oversee road-mapping, portfolio development, project planning, technical performance and program review for major national manufacturing initiative.
March 14, 2017

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and its RAPID (Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment) Manufacturing Institute announced today that James R. Bielenberg will be assuming the role of RAPID’s chief technology officer. In making the announcement, RAPID Chief Executive Officer Karen Fletcher said, “I look forward to working with Jim to engage our corporate, university and government partners in important research to advance modular process intensification for the oil and gas, pulp and paper, and chemical industries.”

Fletcher cited Bielengberg’s years of experience in cross-organizational teams that developed new process technologies for a broad range of end uses. “Jim’s track record of success in creating and executing research programs in academic, national laboratory, and industrial settings makes him particularly suited to our CTO job.” She added that under their leadership, RAPID, one of the nation’s network of 14 Manufacturing USA Institutes, will assure that “investments in cross-cutting modular process intensification technology will benefit the future of manufacturing in this country."

Elaborating on the RAPID Institute, Fletcher added “RAPID and its partners will reduce energy usage and feedstock waste, and improve productivity, through a focus on integrating unit processes into single modular hardware elements that are cost effective, with high efficiency and scalability.”

Bielenberg earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska and a PhD in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his doctorate, he was a national security postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Bielenberg joined ExxonMobil Research and Engineering in 2005 as a research associate in process technology development where he worked across multiple technology areas, including a leadership role in ExxonMobil’s algae biofuels process development team. He then went on to serve ExxonMobil Chemical Company as a global supply optimizer and was its Americas fluids marketing manager for intermediates. In 2014 he returned to ExxonMobil Research and Engineering as a process innovation section supervisor.

Bielenberg was most recently a challenge program leader in Corporate Strategic Research at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, where he developed technology roadmaps and research strategies, and led a multi-million dollar set of research programs.

Bielenberg is the author of several publications and holds more than 15 patents focused on new process development in energy conversion and processing.

About AIChE
AIChE, founded in 1908, is a professional society of more than 53,000 chemical engineers in 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government, using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at


On December 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the establishment of the 10th Manufacturing USA Institute, the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute. Leveraging up to $70 million in federal funding and an additional $70 million in cost-share commitments from more than 130 partners, RAPID is focused on developing breakthrough technologies to boost energy productivity and energy efficiency by 20 percent in five years. RAPID will leverage approaches to modular chemical process intensification used in a variety of industries. In the chemical industry alone, these technologies have the potential to save more than $9 billion annually. For further information, visit