dolly_chita All are welcome to an invited seminar by Dr. Dolly Chitta. The title is: “Advances in Natural Gas Monetization.” The seminar will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, in WEB L102. There will be light refreshments afterwards.

Petroleum crude costs 6-8 times more than natural gas on an energy content basis. Moreover, approximately 97% NG is produced from domestic sources, whereas more than 50% of the crude oil is imported. This presents numerous opportunities for producing value-added chemicals from natural gas and improving energy security. Benzene, which is currently produced from crude oil, is a chemical of great industrial importance with current global consumption at 40 MMTPA. Benzene can also be synthesized from natural gas in one step via dehydroaromatization (DHA). While the DHA process is commercially very attractive, the reaction suffers from lower equilibrium conversion (~12%) even at high temperature (~700oC) and catalyst coking. If hydrogen, the co-product, is continuously removed, up to 100% single-pass conversion is possible. The objective of the proposed project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a combined catalyst-membrane scheme to yield high single pass conversion and significantly reduce coking. The research involves design and development of a hydrocarbon selective, coke resistant novel catalyst and a thermo-chemically stable, high flux, hydrogen selective ion transport ceramic membrane integrated to enable supra equilibrium yields thereby dramatically improving the commercialization potential.

Dr. Dolly Chitta is the principal investigator and program manager of an ARPA-E funded program for conversion of natural gas to chemicals. She has been working at Ceramatec Inc. for 5 years. Her expertise includes Gas to Liquids processes with emphasis on non-oxidative C-H activation, Hydrogen Membrane Technology, Advanced Catalyst-Membrane Reactors, CO2 Catalysis and conversion and process intensification. She is the co-founder of the ARPA-E Women in Energy (WIE) Initiative with ARPA-E Director Dr. Cheryl Martin. She is a recipient of MIT Technology Review’s 35 innovators under 35-finalist award and a Utah Innovation Award Winner for Clean Tech and Energy 2014, awarded by the Utah Technology Council. Her work has been recognized by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the Energy Innovation Summit in Washington DC, MIT Tech Review, American Gas Magazine, Journal of Petroleum Technology and Chemical and Engineering News. She holds 6 published and 6 pending patents. Dr. Chitta has a PhD from the University of Utah (Department: Metallurgical Engineering) on the topic of CO2 to Alkanes using novel Hierarchical Zeolite Catalysts. She has an MS in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University and a Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, India.