QATAR: Qapco, Materia in R&D agreement for next-gen feedstock optimisation

Together, they will explore the possibilities to further optimise the use of Qatar's natural resources, by studying how to extract new products from Qapco's current feedstock, aimed at maximising the value from the Industries Qatar' subsidiary's existing processes.

Materia's breakthrough catalyst technology combined with Qapco resources could potentially lead to the development of new products.

The move would also open the door to new uses for energy products and derivatives such as petrochemicals as the country continues to grow its energy and industrial sectors with attempts being made to further optimise its hydrocarbon resources utilisation, research and innovation.

Nobel Prize winning chemist Professor Robert H Grubbs, Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, helped found Materia, which specialises in efficient feedstock utilisation and the extraction of specific petrochemical and chemical compounds.

"Joint industry-academia R&D, such as our collaboration with Materia and Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), is very promising and paves the way to infinite possibilities while supporting the growth of Qatar's knowledge-based economy,” Dr Mohamed Yousef al-Mulla, vice chairman and CEO of Qapco, said.

Collaborating with some of the world's leading experts on research projects focusing on olefins, polymers and petrochemicals has the potential to add further value to the feedstock, which could be beneficial for Qapco and ultimately for the hydrocarbon resources of the country, he said.

"This envisioned collaboration should enable Qapco to extract greater value from some of its by-product streams, therefore unlocking greater value from Qatar's natural resources, thanks to Materia's unique and advanced technologies,” according to Dr Michael A Giardello, Materia's president, CEO and chief technology officer.

Qapco uses focused partnerships with Qatar's most prominent universities such as TAMUQ, as the launching point for its research activities. Most recently, it supported the establishment of an endowed chair position at TAMUQ for Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

Source: Daily "Gulf Times", Doha; 29 May 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)