Are biofuels the future?

A Chevron executive and distinguished chemical engineer will explain more about the emerging biofuels industry Friday (April 25) during a free, public lecture at West Virginia University.

Paul F. Bryan, vice president of technology, Biofuels Business Unit, Chevron Technology Ventures LLC , will presentBiofuels, Conservation and Renewablesat 9 a.m. at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) on WVU s Evansdale Campus. A reception will follow in the NRCCE buildings atrium.

The talk is part of the Dow/Union Carbide Seminar Series in the Department of Chemical Engineering in WVU s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

The presentation will describe Chevrons plans and activities in biofuels, including research on novel conversion technologies and development of both traditional and novel fuel products derived from renewable resources.

Bryans talk will provide an overview of a unique approach to developing the new biofuels business, including a broad range of business and research alliances with universities, national laboratories and other companies.

Excerpts from the abstract for Bryans lecture follow:

  • In well over 100 years of existence, the oil industry has developed the capacity to find, extract, transport and refine crude oil, and to distribute and market petroleum-based fuels. During that period, a highly efficient, multitrillion-dollar global infrastructure has been developed to deliver transportation fuels efficiently around the world.
  • Events in recent years have pointed out several emerging limitations of this system. First and foremost, robust global economic growth has pushed the industrys ability to meet customer demands to the limit. Even today, more than 5 percent of global demand is met with �€~unconventionalresources, such as extra-heavy oil, gas-to-liquids and biofuels, and demand continues to grow.
  • There has also been recent growth in concern about climate change, driven by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and regulation and public pressure to reduce those emissions.
  • Finally, there is anxiety in much of the industrialized world at its reliance on a small number of crude-oil exporting countriesmany in unstable parts of the worldand therefore a call to increase domestic production, or at least to diversify the sources of liquid fuels.

In 2006, Chevron formed a Biofuels Business Unit with the intention of developing a large-scale, profitable, sustainable biofuels business as part of Chevrons commitment to meet consumer demand with superior motor fuels.

Bryan earned his bachelors degree in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and his doctorate, also in chemical engineering, from the University of California-Berkeley. He has been with Chevron for 12 years.

WVU sCollege of Engineering and Mineral Resourcesis dedicated to the development of engineering practice, science and research. It offers degrees at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels, with 10 engineering and computer science undergraduate programs accredited by ABET , the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology. The colleges academic departments offer undergraduate majors and dual majors in engineering specialties, computer science and biometric systems.