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Paul O’ Connor was born in Curaçao, The Netherlands Antilles. He graduated at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Chemical Engineering in 1977 with a M.Sc. Thesis on Fluidization of powders with Prof. Kees Rietema. In 2006 he formed his first start-up: BIOeCON, which focused on the economical conversion of biomass to renewable fuels and energy. BIOeCON working with an international network of creative scientists has developed several breakthrough concepts laid down in patent applications. Part of this IP has been acquired by Khosla Ventures in the 2007 start-up KiOR, now INEARIS technologies. In 2009 BIOeCON and PETROBRAS formed a partnership to develop technology based on ZnCl2 molten salts, for the selective conversion of agricultural wastes into oxygen containing fuel additives. This partnership has recently been discontinued. BIOeCON however has retained the technology and IP and has further developed the process towards a very selective biomass fractionation process producing 2nd generation sustainable biofuels, high value chemicals and specialty materials based on cellulose and lignin. In 2010 Paul launched a second start-up called ANTECY with as goal to convert renewable (solar, wind, hydro etc.) energy directly into high-density liquid fuels or chemicals. ANTECY has filed several patents in the area of the capturing and conversion of CO2 based on a low cost and environmentally friendly non-amine CO2 sorbent and is now forming partnerships to demonstrate and commercialize this technology.
Paul has been active in heavy oil conversion processes at Shell in design, process, and refinery operations and at Akzo Nobel in marketing and research management of refining catalysts. He championed several breakthrough innovations in the application, testing, manufacturing and commercialization of Fluid Catalytic Cracking Catalysts, leading multi functional and cultural teams including joint venture partners FCC SA and PETROBRAS. After the acquisition of Akzo Nobel Catalysts by Albemarle, Paul led the long-term development strategy for the Refining Catalysts group and focused on the business development for new catalytic applications. Paul is an author and co-author of several publications on heavy oil conversion and biomass processes. He holds a significant number of patents in the area of catalysis, catalytic processing, biomass conversion, solar conversion and the synthesis and application of advanced materials.