JPS Luncheon: Brent H. Shanks, “The Future of Biobased Chemicals”
Brent H. Shanks
This installment of the Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) lecture series featured the keynote presentation “What Is the Future of Biobased Chemicals?” by Brent H. Shanks, the Mike and Jean Steffenson Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University and director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC).
Increasingly, companies that are selling directly to consumers are touting products made at least partially from biobased chemicals. However, consumers have repeatedly demonstrated little willingness to pay any extra for products with biobased content. The current petrochemical production is highly efficient, and the feedstock costs are being driven down by the expanding production of shale gas. Against this backdrop is there a path forward for the introduction of biobased chemicals?
About the speaker
Brent Shanks is the Mike and Jean Steffenson Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University and director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC). He joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 1999, and his work has primarily involved the research and development of novel heterogeneous catalyst systems for efficiently converting biological-based feedstocks to chemicals and fuels.
Before taking on his role at Iowa State he worked as a research engineer and then department manager in the Catalyst Department at the Shell Chemical Company technology center in Houston, Texas. While at Shell he was involved in the development and commercialization of a number of catalysts used in petrochemicals production.
He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1983 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and 1988, respectively.