EGEE 120
Oil: International Evolution

Meet the Course Author


Welcome to EGEE 120 - Oil: International Evolution!

Dr. Yaw D. Yeboah
Dr. Yaw D. Yeboah, Dept. Head, Energy and Mineral Engineering

Akwaaba! (Akan word for Welcome!) My name is Yaw D. Yeboah, the author of this course, EGEE 120. It is a pleasure to have you participate in this class, and I hope you have fun learning about the international evolution of oil and how oil has impacted the social, political, environmental, religious, and cultural aspects of our lives since the 1850s when oil drilling was discovered in Pennsylvania.

I am originally from Ghana, West Africa. After completing high school with the General Certificate Education “Ordinary” and “Advanced” (GCE “O” and “A”) levels at the Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS) at Takoradi, Ghana, I entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, as a freshman in 1971 on scholarship. In June 1975, I graduated as the first person to receive four degrees in four years from MIT; receiving bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering, chemistry, and management and a master’s degree in chemical engineering practice. After completing, in June 1979, the doctoral degree in chemical engineering at MIT, I joined the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady, NY as a staff research engineer working on silicones and engineering plastics. My doctoral dissertation at MIT was on fluidized-bed pyrolysis of coal with and without dolomitic stones. I left GE after five years to do research and teach in the areas of oilfield scale formation, petroleum refining and processing, and catalysis in petrochemical processes at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

I joined Clark Atlanta University (CAU), a historically black college/university (HBCU) in Atlanta, GA in 1995 as professor of chemical engineering and the technical director of the Research Center for Science and Technology. I subsequently served as the associate dean for science and engineering in the School of Arts and Sciences. At CAU my research focused on fuel combustion, materials and emission control.

I moved to Penn State in August 2004 as the head of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME) which houses Penn State’s degree programs in Energy Business and Finance, Energy and Sustainability Policy, Energy Engineering, Environmental Systems Engineering, Mining Engineering and Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. The department also administers the graduate program (MS and PhD) in Energy and Mineral Engineering with options in energy management and policy, environmental health and safety engineering, fuel science, mining and mineral process engineering, and petroleum and natural gas engineering. The graduate program also has a strong focus on renewable/sustainable energy options. Thus, EME department focuses on the production, processing and utilization of energy and the associated environmental, health and safety, and management challenges. My research and teaching over the years have been in the areas of energy and the environment, energy sustainability, oil evolution, electrocatalysis in fuel cells, and biomass conversion to liquid fuels.

As you can see, my work and experiences have primarily focused on energy, materials and/or their environmental impact and has included such specific areas as catalysis, bioenergy, fuel cells, combustion and emission control, oilfield scale formation, and flow visualization. Some of my recent completed research projects include electrocatalysis in PEM fuel cells, co-gasification of coal and biomass, catalytic gasification with eutectic salts, hydrogen from biomass, fire spread behavior in liquid pools, and use of non-thermal plasma discharge for emission (NOx) control.

I hope to use my extensive management, technical, and international experiences to enrich the class. In addition to my personal expertise on petroleum and energy in general, I am lucky to have lived through some of the important events in oil history, the energy crises or "oil shocks", in the 70s and 80s. These experiences should be useful in our discussions in the course.

Once again, Akwaaba!