Dr. Benson seeks sustainable innovation in petrochemical practices

Dr. Tracy Benson, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has had a career that centers around searching for groundbreaking advantages and pioneering initiatives that look to drive sustainability in industrial processes.  Dr. Tracy Benson

From his journey at Mississippi State University where he obtained his Ph.D, to his current position, Benson has maintained an unwavering commitment to transforming waste management in the petrochemical industry. 

“My research focuses on reducing the environmental impacts from chemical processes while maintaining their economic viability,” Benson said. “Both H2S and CO2 can be harmful to people, as well as process equipment. Our work increases the sustainability of the petrochemical industry, increasing our standard of living without environmental damage.” 

Two of Dr. Benson's research abstract presentations shed light on his innovative contributions to the field.  

The first presentation, "Thermodynamic Properties of Amine-Type and Ionic Liquid H2S Scavengers," delves into the challenge of combating hydrogen sulfide within the oil and gas industry. 

“H2S is highly toxic and corrosive and must be removed from oil and gas prior to transporting or processing them,” Benson said. “Our technology is more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly than currently used technology.” 

The second presentation, "Technology Development for Carbon Capture and Conversion," tackles the daunting task of reducing  carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources.  

“Our work explored various carbon capture technologies for reducing waste CO2 from industrial streams,” Benson said. “Our work aligns the most cost-effective capture method for specific process streams. Conversion of CO2 to useful fuels and chemicals can be accomplished using thermochemical and photocatalytic methods, or high and low temperature methods.” 

Benson’s interest in these subjects stems from a desire to mitigate the environmental impact of chemical processes while ensuring their economic viability.  

“Using Life Cycle Assessment tools, our goal has been to screen out pathways that may appear to be environmentally friendly but turn out toxic,” Benson said. “Turning a waste stream into a revenue stream is always an exciting outcome of scientific research and has been the focal point of our research. Turning carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals minimizes the environmental impact of CO2 while delivering needed products to the marketplace.” 

The implications of Benson's research have a goal of offering tangible benefits to industries striving for net-zero emissions. By leading the way towards more sustainable practices, his work not only aids in achieving environmental goals but also paves a path towards an eco-friendly future. 

For more information on the College of Engineering, visit www.lamar.edu/engineering