The chemical industry faces a number of unique challenges in regards to both climate change and effects caused by its mitigation. 

  • In the USA, the industry is vulnerable to costly supply chain disruptions due to coastal storms.

  • Rising temperatures can contribute to additional heat stress concerns for plant personnel.

  • The increasing probability of water usage stipulations in a likely water-constrained future will play a role in terms of process technology development and improvement.

The chemical industry is often inherently both energy and material intensive.  Solutions to climate change should avoid spiraling cost effects on traditional petrochemical feedstocks. No matter the solution, companies will likely have to work to innovate at unprecedented rates in terms of energy efficiency and alternative feedstock usage and development.  Processes within the growing bio-based feedstocks sector will face challenges as their feedstocks face potential negative effects of climate change on agricultural products.

Team Leaders

As co-lead for this team, Matt Kovalski's past experience with NGOs relating to sustainability and climate change and with his background in chemical production firmly believes that there is a solid business case for the chemical sector to support climate change mitigation through carbon pricing, predominantly through an increase in demand for certain products through various forms of risk mitigation.  The chemical industry has created solutions to many sustainability issues over the course of modern history, and Matt believes that a transparent market-based price on CO2 emissions is the signal the chemical industry needs to once again rise to the challenge of solving the great 21st Century sustainability issue that is climate change.


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Joel Stone’s participation and engagement with BCL is driven by his long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability using industrial biotechnology to offer solutions:  “I think the BCL platform will allow allindustries and governments to engage interactively to identify a unified pathway for maintaining an environment that our children and grandchildren can feel safe in for generations to come.”

Joel has been a longtime respected visionary and leader in commercialization of industrial biotechnology, presently serving as the President of ConVergInce Advisers, which focuses on delivering “Visionary & Innovative Solutions,” including commercialization assistance for advanced technology clients in renewable chemicals, biochemicals, biofuels, and agricultural and biobased ingredients for food and consumer products.  Joel also serves as Executive Vice President of Lee Enterprises Consultants, the world’s premier bioeconomy consulting group, also serving as the practice Leader of the Renewable Chemicals, Anaerobic Digestion/Biogas, Water Treatment, and Bioethanol groups.  Joel is the former President of Green Biologics Inc. where he led the development of the commercial platform of the company in North America for renewable n-butanol and acetone for use in the renewable specialty and performance chemical markets.  Previously he led Osage Bio Energy in establishing new product and business opportunities and ushering BioRefining to the forefront of biofuel facilities.  Joel has served as the Chief Operating Officer for both AS Alliances Biofuels, LLC and Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation.

Joel's accomplishments included the planning, construction, and startup of three 100 MMGPY fuel grade ethanol plants.  He was Vice President of Operations for Opta Food Ingredients, a developer and manufacturer of functional starch, protein, and fiber ingredients. Earlier in his career, Joel
served as Director of Manufacturing for Genencor, a biotechnology developer and manufacturer of food and industrial grade enzymes.

Joel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic University and an MS in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  He serves as a Board Advisor for the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium and serves on the GC3 Startup Network Steering Committee. He has also been selected to the Biofuels Digest Top 100 in Bioeconomy: #58 in 2015, #59 in 2014.