Study in Progress

The Changing Landscape of Hydrocarbon Feedstocks for Chemical Production: Implications for Catalysis: A Workshop

Art by Michael Sternberg and Faisal Mehmood. Provided by Argonne National Laboratory

Thank you to all the speakers and participants for attending the workshop, The Changing Landscape of Hydrocarbon Feedstocks for Chemical Production: Implications for Catalysis, which was held in Washington, DC on March 7-8, 2016, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, American Chemistry Council, the Dow Chemical Company, and SABIC. If you would like to watch the webcast from the workshop, please email:

This was an interactive, multidisciplinary public workshop with about 120 participants that focused on identifying gaps and opportunities in catalysis research in an era of shifting feedstocks for chemical production. A report will be produced that summarizes the research gaps and opportunities identified by these participants. The objective is to provide a baseline of knowledge and opinions on this topic that can be used by federal agencies and other organizations to optimize their support for catalysis research in the face of major changes in the energy and chemical industries.

Members of the appointed workshop committee include:
Alexis Bell (chair), NAS/NAE, University of California, Berkeley
Montgomery M. Alger, NAE, Pennsylvania State University
Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, NAE, Tufts University
T. Brent Gunnoe, University of Virginia
Johannes A. Lercher, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
James Stevens, NAE, The Dow Chemical Company (Ret.)

Download the agenda here


Overview of Shale Gas Boom and its Impact on the Chemical Industry
Mark Jones, The Dow Chemical Company

Implications for Catalysis
Johannes Lercher, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Is oxidative coupling the royal road for the valorization of methane to olefines?
Reinhard Schomäcker, Technische Universität Berlin

Conversion of Methane and Light Alkanes to Chemicals over Heterogeneous Catalysts - Lessons Learned from Experiment and Theory
Alexis T. Bell, University of California, Berkeley

Homogeneous Catalysts for C-H Activation and Other Approaches to Shale Gas Utilization
Shannon Stahl, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Breakout group presentations:
Methane to Syngas: Jan Lerou, Jan Lerou Consulting, LLC
Methane to Ethylene: Bob Maughon, The Dow Chemical Company
Methane to Methanol: Tobin Marks, Northwestern University
Light Alkanes to Aromatics: Bruce Gates, University of California, Davis
Emerging Opportunities for Novel Approaches to Natural Gas Conversion, Electrocatalysis: Guido Pez, consultant
Activation of Natural Gas Using Nontraditional Oxidants: Eric McFarland, University of California, Santa Barbara

Panelist presentations:
David Allen, University of Texas, Austin
Bala Subramaniam, University of Kansas

Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will develop and conduct an interactive, multidisciplinary public workshop that focuses on how chemical feedstocks and processing are changing in the U.S. and what the implications of those changes are for research in the area of catalysis. The 2-day workshop will:

1. Describe the changes that are occurring or are expected to occur in the chemical industry with the shifts to lighter feedstocks (particularly, shale gas) and how these changes in the pathways to chemicals affect catalysis needs.

2. Provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art in catalysis with respect to the relevant feedstocks and chemicals.

3. Review and discuss gaps and opportunities in catalysis research.

Workshop participants will include representatives from academia, the chemical and energy industries, the U.S. government, National Laboratories, and professional organizations, such as the American Chemical Society. The committee will plan and organize the workshop, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. A committee authored workshop report will be prepared in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Learn about our Study Process