David Bem, vice president of research and development for advanced materials at The Dow Chemical Company, will deliver the 2014 Dow Chemical Company/WVU Chemical Engineering Seminar at West Virginia University on Friday, April 11, at 9:30 a.m.

The lecture, entitled, “The Shale Gale Is Blowing: Plotting a Course That Avoids the Shoals and Rocks,” will be held in the Grand Hall of the Art Museum of WVU. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

Shale gas has revitalized the chemical industry in the United States. The economic benefits have been widely described, but according to Bem, there is little discussion of the impacts of the increase in ethane cracking. The shifting feedstock slate creates both challenges and opportunities for new technologies. The shoals and rocks caused by the shale gale will be detailed in this lecture, and a course described that can provide an even brighter future for the industry.

Bem joined Dow in 2007 as the R&D leader for hydrocarbons and energy, alternative feedstocks and basic chemicals. In 2008, he became the R&D director of Dow Automotive until he moved to Core R&D in 2010, where he was responsible for leading early stage exploration of disruptive technologies and the development of new businesses.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from WVU in 1990 and a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995, Bem began his career at UOP, a Honeywell Company, focused on the synthesis and applications of zeolites and microporous materials. While at UOP, he led the discovery and development of PI-242, a high activity catalyst for butane isomerization. In 2000, he became R&D director of Torial, a subsidiary of UOP, and developed and commercialized high throughput tools for heterogeneous catalysis.

In 2002, Bem joined Celanese Corporation as R&D director for acetyls, oxygenates and acetone derivatives where he was responsible for advancements in acetic acid technology and vinyl acetate technology. In 2005, he became a member of the Celanese Corporate Executive Committee and R&D director for Engineering Polymers/Ticona.

Bem was recently appointed to the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology of the National Academy of Sciences and the Scientific Advisory Board for Oakridge National Laboratories Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorates. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the Department of Chemistry at UW-Madison. Bem holds nine U.S. patents and has authored more than 20 publications.

The seminar series honors Jean B. Cropley, who retired from the Technical Center of Union Carbide, now part of The Dow Chemical Company, in South Charleston, W.Va., in 1993 as a Corporate Research Fellow. A specialist in real process chemical reaction engineering, Cropley is past chair of the Union Carbide Corporate Fellows Task Force on Education and its 300-member Education Volunteers Group of the Kanawha Valley.



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4086, Mary.Dillon@mail.wvu.edu

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