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University of Texas at Austin professor receives Donald L. Katz Award

Gary T. Rochelle, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Chemical Engineering, was recognized recently with the Donald L. Katz Award from the Gas Processors Association (GPA).

The award was given to Rochelle during the organization's annual convention in San Antonio and recognizes accomplishments in gas processing research and excellence in engineering education.

"Gary has a long history of service to member companies both in research and teaching," said Dan McCartney, GPA research subgroup chair. "He was instrumental in outlining data needs in the area of gas treating for the Gas Research Institute (GRI), and when we teamed up with GRI for a large project in the 1990s he directly contributed his talents to the research effort."

Rochelle, the Carol and Henry Groppe Professor of Chemical Engineering, leads 17 students in the Luminant Carbon Management Program to develop technology that captures carbon dioxide from gas and coal-fired power plants and safely stores it underground. The process aims to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent and produce more power than renewable sources currently available.

"My students and I are getting the thrill of our lives by addressing this real-world problem with real-world solutions," Rochelle said. "At The University of Texas at Austin, our most valuable product is our students, and I am confident the next generation of chemical engineers will be smarter, work harder and solve more problems than ever before."

His team is successfully testing a small-scale plant at J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin, thanks to support from Luminant and 35 other sponsor companies. Rochelle said the technology will be commercially available in five to eight years but that regulatory or financial incentives are needed to build the first full-scale plants.

"Containing carbon emissions is not inexpensive there's no magic bullet," Rochelle said. "This technology will be a strong competitor with other alternatives to reduce the carbon footprint of power production and help curb global warming."

Rochelle has supervised more than 100 master's theses and doctorate dissertations, holds eight patents and has produced more than 200 publications and research reports. He received a bachelor and master of science degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin in 1977.


Contact: Melissa Mixon
University of Texas at Austin

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