The Changing Feedstock Landscape and the Hurdles of Alternative Feedstocks | AIChE

The Changing Feedstock Landscape and the Hurdles of Alternative Feedstocks

Thursday, November 17, 2011,
9:00pm to 10:00pm
Virtual / Online
United States

Alternative feedstocks are a critical issue to the chemical industry.  Most industrial chemicals are derived from crude oil derivatives (naphtha) or natural gas by-products (ethane, propane) and thus the price and availability is strongly dependant on the fuels market.  The price volatility has a chilling effect on new capacity.  Over the last decade, the large rise and volatility in energy prices and corresponding feedstock prices have continued to erode the profitability of American based chemical companies.  One response to this cost has been to move operations overseas to tap into lower cost and more stable cost feedstocks (e.g. the Middle East).  One part of the response by American companies is to look at alternative feedstocks that are not derived from crude-oil and natural gas.  In this talk, I will outline the underlying issues behind these alternative feedstocks needed for chemical manufacturing and approaches we are are considering.  I will also highlight key separation issues that need to be solved before some alternatives can become economically competitive with traditional feedstocks.

About the speaker

Mark began his career with Dow in 1998 working in Dow’s Core R&D group in Reaction Engineering on a variety of programs ranging from traditional semi-batch polyol reactors to modeling polyurethane reactions on straw for the production of wheat particleboard.  In 2002 he moved to Hydrocarbons Research for the support of Styrene Plants, during which time he worked on several projects receiving Tech Center Awards valued in total approximately $100MM and integrated the technical styrene reactor models into commercial cost models to optimize overall production. In 2006 Mark transitioned to olefins research where he is currently working on the introduction of new technologies into traditional steam crackers and the development of alternative feedstocks for olefins production.  His work here includes Dow’s technical effort in Brazil for the conversion of ethanol to polyethylene.

Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1997, his Master’s in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT in 1998, and his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Texas in 2008.