Joseph Powell | AIChE

Joseph Powell

Founding Executive Director
University of Houston Energy Transition Institute

Joe Powell (Joseph B. Powell, PhD) is Executive Director of the University of Houston Energy Transition Institute, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Fellow and former Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and served as Shell’s first Chief Scientist – Chemical Engineering from 2006 until retiring at the end of 2020, culminating a 36-year industry career. He joined the Process Development Department at Shell Technology Center Houston in 1988, leading R&D programs in new chemical processes, biofuels, and enhanced oil recovery, and served as technology advisor for the energy transition to a net-zero carbon economy.  Dr. Powell has been co-inventor on more than 125 distinct patent applications with more than 60 granted and has received several industry awards including the A. D. Little Award for Chemical Engineering Innovation (AIChE 1998), R&D100 Award (R&D Magazine) and American Chemical Society Team Innovation Award (2000), U. Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award (2009), AIChE Process Development Division Service Award (2012) and Practice Award (2017), Wallace H. Coulter Award (2021).  He is co-editor and chapter author for the book Sustainable Development in the Process Industries:  Cases and Impact, John Wiley & Sons, New York (2010), and has served AIChE in various roles including Process Development Division Programming chair, Spring Meeting Program Chair (2015) and Co-Chair (2012), Chemical Technology Operating Council, Executive Board Programming Committee, Center for Energy Initiatives board member, Pilot Plants 12B Area Chair, Shale Gas and Sustainability Topical Chairs, and was elected and served on the AIChE board of directors (2016-18).  He is past chair of the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) and was elected to the U. S. National Academy of Engineering (2021) after serving for two terms on the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology.  He has served as Special Guest Editor of Catalysis Today Natural Gas Utilization, on the editorial board of Annual Review of Chemical and Biological Engineering and was Crosscutting Technologies team lead and author for Mission Innovation Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (2017).  Dr. Powell obtained a Ph.D.  from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984), following a B.S. from the University of Virginia (1978), both in chemical engineering.