Gary Rochelle Receives Donald L. Katz Award

Professor Gary Rochelle Receives the Donald L. Katz AwardProfessor Gary T. Rochelle recently accepted the Donald L. Katz Award from the Gas Processors Association (GPA) at the organization’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.  The award 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,” said Gary Rochelle. “At The University of Texas at Austin our most valuable product is our students.  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 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.


The GPA has served the light hydrocarbons industry since 1921 as an incorporated nonprofit trade association. Corporate members are engaged in processing natural gas into marketable pipeline gas, volume movement, or further processing of liquid products from natural gas. Member companies represent approximately 92 percent of all natural gas liquids produced in the United States and operate about 190,000 miles of domestic gas gathering lines.

The Donald L. Katz Award is named in honor of the professor emeritus of the University of Michigan.  It was initiated in 1985 to recognize outstanding accomplishments in gas processing research and technology, and for excellence in engineering education.

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