The ACS Energy and Fuels (ENFL) Division selected Dr. Joe Allison for the 2018 ENFL Distinguished Researcher Award. Dr. Allison is a leading researcher in petroleum chemistry and an outstanding contributor to ACS ENFL division and the former Petroleum Chemistry division.
Dr. Allison has had a productive career with Phillips 66 and former ConocoPhillips, Conoco, and DuPont as a Research Fellow. Dr. Allison has made major contributions in the following four areas: (1) the gas-to-liquids process, (2) upstream/production, (3) sulfur partial oxidation technology and (4) nylon intermediate and sodium cyanide issues. In these areas Dr. Allison held primary investigator and leadership roles that have commercialized more than a dozen technologies that have direct usage in the fields of petroleum production and alternative fuel chemistry, as well as several chemical processes in use at heritage DuPont facilities. He was awarded 49 US patents, 36 foreign patents and with 60 more patent applications. He is also an author or co-author of 13 peer-reviewed papers.
Some of his high-impact contributions focused on catalyst development for natural gas conversion into liquid hydrocarbons via FischerTropsch (FT) and related C1-technologies. He has shown how sulfur can affect the performance of supported cobalt-based FT catalysts which has led to multiple catalyst improvements. He has invented new methods for non-oxidative conversion of alkanes into liquids and has made selective modifications to feedstock types in order to increase the efficiency of syn-gas reactions. Contrary to popular belief, it is difficult for scientists in the petrochemical industry to make considerable impacts to refining and chemicals processes given the mature nature of this business. He has mastered the ability to create value for his company through his creativity, scientific prowess and technical leadership. His creative research also resulted in efficient cross-linked water-soluble polymers for water diversion in oil reservoirs, novel processes for methane conversion to trimethylbenzene, and innovative approaches for waste water remediation. Furthermore, he invented many technologies for Conoco and ConocoPhillips as a project leader and a group director, in the areas of sulfur recovery, hydrogen and CO2 separation and recovery, methane aromatization, conversion of syngas, ethylene production, and carbon nanofiber synthesis. He was also a manager for the CO2 Capture & Avoidance, which developed and supported efforts for the capture of carbon dioxide from various gas streams using specialized amines, solvent blends, and membrane technologies.
Dr. Allison also made significant contributions to ACS. He was a Treasurer (1985-1987) and a Chair (1988) of his local ACS section, Program Chair/Co-Chair (2004-2008) and Division Chair (2011) of Petroleum Chemistry Division, a Director-at-Large (2013-2014) and a Councilor (2015-2020) of Energy and Fuels Division. Furthermore, he organized many symposia for ACS national meetings and guided many junior officers in ACS ENFL and former Petroleum Chemistry Division. He was one of the important contributors for the merger between Fuel Chemistry and Petroleum Chemistry Divisions. Dr. Allison has been recognized with many awards and honors, including Oklahoma Chemist Award (2008), Distinguished Service Award (2009) of ACS Division of Petroleum Chemistry, Purdue University Department of Chemistry Distinguished Alumnus (2010), Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2010), and The University of Central Arkansas Distinguished Alumnus (2013).