Session V: Innovation: Feeding the Funnel

Thursday, June 7, 2012, 9:00am-10:45am EDT

Session Co-Chairs 

  • Bob Huss, Eastman Chemical
  • Kevin Joback, Molecular Knowledge Systems


  Presentation speaker
9:00 to 9:10 Chairman's Summary of Previous Day John Anderson
9:10 to 10:40 Using Physical Properties to Develop Better Chemical Products and Processes Kevin Joback
Developing and Adapting Novel Ideas for Plant Upgrades Monty Alger
Develop the Right Innovative Concepts Using Early Stage Process Design Michael Schultz

Using Physical Properties to Develop Better Chemical Products and Processes

Kevin Joback, Molecular Knowledge Systems

Developing a new chemical process or product is a challenging task: customer objectives must be clarified; performance targets must be established; safety and environmental impact must be considered. We have found that focusing on physical properties helps to unify and guide these tasks.

Dr. Joback will present several examples showing how focusing on physical properties has helped design new solvents for CO2 capture, processes for recycling aircraft deicing fluids, synthetic blood substitutes, biofuel formulations for gasoline replacement, improved windshield washer fluids and jet fuel additives. The breadth of examples will demonstrate how many diverse problems can be addressed in a similar manner. Developing a process for identifying counterfeit gold bars will be a final example worked out with the help of the conference participants.

Go to Top

Developing and Adapting Novel Ideas for Plant Upgrades

Monty Alger, Air Products

Over the life of a production facility basic economic drivers such as raw material and utility costs, required finish product specifications or desired volumes often change.   The challenge in industry is to develop new ideas and/or adapt from current state-of-the -art to existing plants to meet the changing demands on the facility.   This paper will examine the methodology of the upgrade project.

We will look at the development of ideas stage where we challenge our engineers to develop new ideas and or adapt from existing plants. How do we focus the technical community on the challenge of plant upgrades, where do the ideas come from and how do we incentivize them to continue feeding the pipeline of upgrade opportunities. 

We will then review the adaption phase where the technical community works with the business areas to value the changes and make the decision to adapt them to the facility.  Lastly we will examine the costing, planning and construction phase which requires a high level of coordination between the engineering, business and operation departments to make sure we don’t impact existing business while the improvements are being made.

Go to Top

Develop the Right Innovative Concepts Using Early Stage Process Design

Michael Schultz, Lanzatech

In this age of open innovation, collaborative research, and global interactions, we are not at a loss for ideas for and concepts for the next great product or technology.  Access to a wealth of ideas provides virtually unlimited access to new technologies or products, possibly allowing for a quicker route to commercialization as compared to focusing solely on internal R&D.  However, it creates a new challenge in that we must be able to quickly, and successfully, identify ideas for further development and scale-up.

Early stage process design techniques should be used to identify and select concepts for future development and scale-up, as well as to provide metrics and targets for technology development.  Early stage process design includes engineering calculations, process economics, and life cycle analysis to support the technology development effort.  This talk will provide the speaker’s experience with using this approach to support technology development in an industrial setting.  Examples will include:

  • The successful design, engineering, and implementation of a novel distillation system
  • An early stage technology that looked promising, until the scale needed for a key reaction step was evaluated
  • Incorporating life cycle concepts into early stage process design

Go to Top

Monty M. Alger

Monty Alger is a professor of chemical engineering at the Pennsylvania State Univ., where he is Director, Institute for Natural Gas Research. His more than 30 years of experience in the chemicals and energy industries includes positions as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., and as Senior Vice President of Research at Myriant. He spent 23 years at General Electric (GE), where he led technology development at the Global Research Center of GE Plastics, and was the General Manager of Technology for the Advanced Materials business.

Prior to...Read more

John L. Anderson

John L. Anderson is the eighth president of Illinois Institute of Technology (August 1, 2007). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Professional Progress Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He served on the faculties of Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, and IIT. Previous leadership includes department

...Read more

Kevin G. Joback

Dr. Joback is president and founder of Molecular Knowledge Systems, a small business located in Bedford, New Hampshire.

For more than 25 years he has worked in the areas of physical property estimation and chemical product design. He has developed a number of group contribution estimation techniques now widely used in industry. He has designed numerous chemical products including environmentally friendly cleaning and separation solvents, new lubricants, enhanced phase-change thermal storage materials, improved jet and rocket fuels, and non-hazardous aircraft deicing fluids. His...Read more

Michael A. Schultz

Mike Schultz is Managing Director of PTI Global Solutions, bringing process technology leadership to companies in the fuels, chemicals, and energy space.   

Previously Mike was Vice President of Engineering for LanzaTech, where he led the scale-up and commercialization of first of its kind gas fermentation technology for conversion of waste carbon into fuel and chemical products. 

Prior to LanzaTech, Mike spent two years with Battelle Science and Technology Malaysia, working closely with PETRONAS to develop the R&D infrastructure and capabilities for a robust sustainable...Read more