Simon Kelemen

Simon Kelemen Winner of the 2008 Storch Award

Dr. Simon R. Kelemen of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company has been awarded the Storch Award in Fuel Science for 2008 sponsored by the Fuel Chemistry Division of the ACS and Elsevier Ltd.  Henry H. Storch Award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to research in the field of fuel science.  Special consideration is given to innovation and novelty in the use of fuels, characterization of fuels, and advances in fuel chemistry that benefit the public welfare orSimon Kelemen the environment.

His coal researchhas pioneered the use of direct vs. wet chemical characterization probes for quantifying heteroatom structures and reactivity.  The body of work in sulfur and nitrogen characterization is today considered definitive.  He discovered a method for determining carbon aromaticity based on X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) II to II* signal intensity.  He pioneered methods to quantify sulfur forms in coal using XPS and Sulfur K-edge X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) Spectroscopy.  These methods enabled the first direct quantification of sulfur forms in coal and established their variation with coal rank.  His studies were the first that directly followed coal sulfur thermal and oxidative transformations.  He established XPS methods for quantifying nitrogen forms in coal and established their variation with coal rank.  The XPS method was used to quantify the thermal transformation of nitrogen during coal pyrolysis that was coupled to fundamental processes in combustion.  The XPS methods for nitrogen characterization have been subsequently patterned by most workers in the field.  Current studies of peat, pyrolyzed peat, lignite and coal reveal for the first time the chemical pathways of nitrogen and sulfur during coalification.Simon extensively employed advanced direct characterization methods in research into coal utilization, petroleum formation processes and gasoline additive formulation.  The integrated use of direct characterization tools has enabled the modeling of the chemical structure of complex organic solids.  The approach was used to quantify the chemical structure of gasoline combustion chamber deposits and this knowledge directed additive strategies for their mitigation in gasoline formulations. .  He showed how information derived from direct characterization methods could be used to create representative chemical structural models of coal and kerogen.  He has led a major modeling program to predict oil and gas composition and yields. 

Dr. Kelemen has a well respected international reputation in the fuels science community.  He is an active contributor at ACS meetings and Gordon Research Conferences.  In addition to interacting well with his colleagues at ExxonMobil, he interacts and communicates effectively with scientists in academics and Government laboratories. He is articulate, knowledgeable, and has over his career demonstrated a keen ability to get to the heart of a problem and then proceed to carry out fundamental chemical characterization studies to understand and solve it.  He is an excellent representative of the longer-range industrial research scientist who should be recognized by this award.  His thorough, insightful, and original approach to fundamental questions in the areas of coal and oil shale kerogen structural characterization and the progress he has made in describing the maturation and processing of fuel stocks in terms of chemical structures and chemical reactions have been a model to scientists engaged in fuel science throughout the world.