Mobil Research Team Inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

Mobil research team, Clarence Chang, Dr. Anthony Sil­vestri and William Lang, were charged with doing exploratory research to open new fron­tiers in fuel and petro­chem­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. In 1972, while con­duct­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion of the reac­tion path­ways of polar organic com­pounds on acidic zeo­lites, the key exper­i­ment was con­ceived that led to the dis­cov­ery of the con­ver­sion of methanol to hydro­car­bons, includ­ing gasoline-range, high-octane aro­mat­ics, over the syn­thetic zeo­lite ZSM-5.

This dis­cov­ery became the basis of the Mobil Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) Process, the first syn­fuel process to be com­mer­cial­ized in 50 years, and sparked world­wide inter­est and research that con­tin­ues to this day. In 1985, it was com­mer­cial­ized in New Zealand as the Gas-to-Gasoline Process, in response to the Arab Oil Embargo and the ensu­ing energy cri­sis. The process oper­ated suc­cess­fully for a decade before being sus­pended due to the end of the energy cri­sis and declin­ing crude oil prices. How­ever, because methanol can be made from any gasi­fi­able car­bona­ceous mate­r­ial, such as coal and bio­mass, the MTG process may again play a vital role in a future of dwin­dling oil and gas resources.

This patent and asso­ci­ated patents revealed a new way to man­u­fac­ture gaso­line, bring­ing greater secu­rity and self-sufficiency to gasoline-reliant con­sumers, nations and the world at large. A grad­u­ate of Har­vard, Clarence D. Chang is the author of over 60 papers and ency­clo­pe­dia chap­ters, as well as a book, Hydro­car­bons from Methanol. For his dis­cov­ery, he was awarded the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety 1992 E.V. Mur­phree Award and the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety 1999 Eugene J. Houdry Award among other hon­ors. He holds over 220 U.S. patents.

Dr. Sil­vestri authored or co-authored about 60 papers. In recog­ni­tion of his pro­fes­sional accom­plish­ments, Dr. Sil­vestri received the New York Catal­y­sis Soci­ety Award for Excel­lence in Catal­y­sis in 1984 and was named a Penn State Alumni Fel­low in 1995. He holds 28 U.S. patents.
 
Con­tributed by Clarence D. Chang, Anthony J. Sil­vestri and William H. Lang
Mobil Cen­tral Research