John M. Beath, PE (Texas), LCA‐CP, LLC Manager, Senior Technical Consultant and Environmental Coach
John Beath has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech and more than thirty years combined engineering and environmental experience. His industry assignments have included process engineering, planning and environmental positions at a refinery (including as environmental superintendent), as well as a role as a corporate regional manager for remediation.
Following his industry assignments, he led program implementation at a major consultant company for eighteen years, including leading MACT implementation, Title V permitting, compliance assurance, RCRA permitting, emissions estimation, BWON, and LDAR support. He has worked in more than 16 refineries (including China and South Africa).
Nine years ago, John began his work supporting sustainability for industrial clients with a life cycle assessment for a solar panel manufacturing company (one of the first such assessment performed in the US at that time). Since then he has led a wide array of carbon footprint, sustainability strategy and life cycle assessment assignments for industry and government. He has published widely and presents frequently at various conferences. He has now been a life cycle assessment certified professional (LCA-CP) for three years.
Since forming JBE, John’s environmental experience has included emissions inventory review, complete restructuring of SARA 312 and 313 reports, development of an environmental department compliance calendar tool, NSPS Subpart QQQ project reviews, development of a flare management plan, and development of data and documentation in support of consent decree negotiations.
John is a registered professional engineer in Texas and a life cycle assessment certified professional. He has contributed to scores of projects since becoming a consultant. The listing below captures some key aspects of those showcase projects where the results of the work were the most valuable.
Work Performed Since JBE Was Founded:
Air Emissions – Revamp of Emissions Calculations (refinery) – Many facilities subject to Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) regulations delegate emissions calculations from leaking valves, pumps, compressors, etc. to the contractor performing the monitoring. Over time the rationale behind what is set-up in the monitoring database can be lost. A common problem is the calculation of leaks from sources that are not required to be monitored. A recent project identified this gap and closed it using an innovative calculation approach.
Air Emissions – Tabular Plans Connected to Document-Style Output (refinery) – A refinery was confronted with a need to produce multiple plans for the facility covering different groups of process units. Some requirements were the same across the refinery, and some were different for specific units. A unique tabular solution was implemented that allowed plan elements to be viewed and managed in a traditional grid pattern in Microsoft Excel, with the results conveyed by clever formulas to three separate document-style tabs in the Excel workbook, one for each group of units. These documents had the look of a Microsoft Word Document but were actually generated within Excel. This approach greatly reduced the management of change burden and will help ensure that common elements of the plan can be maintained consistently over time.
Air Emissions – Wastewater Collection System Modification Evaluation Process (refinery) – Designed a review process to compare proposed projects to detailed requirements in NSPS Subpart QQQ (wastewater air emissions). This approach helped the facility feel confident that all aspects of a modification and its downstream consequences are properly evaluated and that the process is transparently documented.
Carbon Footprint (city) – Working with a government staff with very little available time developed a detailed inventory of energy usage over a period of several days. The result was an excellent tol for comparing potential future projects in terms of their carbon footprint potential. The project identified the most significant cost reduction opportunities as recycling within city government assets and sale of landfill gas..
Carbon Footprint – Feedstock Analysis (chemical plant) – Using publicly available data contained in the GREET fuel cycle model developed by the Argonne National Laboratory, thirty potential supply chain possibilities were analyzed to determine the carbon footprint for each combination of crude supply, refinery and transportation pathway. The study highlighted the differing footprints associated with flaring during crude oil extraction, as well as the impacts on refinery efficiency due to crude oil API gravity and sulfur content. Effects of the power grid for extraction and refining were also considered. Results showed that the carbon footprint of the resulting naphtha feedstock could vary by as much as 20% depending on the actual crude supply and refining pathway.
Compliance – SARA Tier Two Report (refinery) – Taking a from-the ground-up approach, a complete overhaul of the Tier Two reporting process tied all data back to a comprehensive inventory of process equipment that could contain refinery feeds, intermediates and products. This was merged with vendor chemical information to create a comprehensive table that was a common connection between this report and the Toxic Release Inventory.
Compliance Assurance – Software-Lite Environmental Calendar (refinery) – Without a budget for software, many clients use very simple tools like a spreadsheet to plan and monitor the environmental department’s activities. Using a grid arrangement for this (see CalendarGrid tab), the facility was able to implement a multi-user tool without complicated visual basic code or macros so the IT Department did not need to be involved. The tool allowed the staff to see at a glance how the workload has been distributed and whether deadlines are being met.
Previous Work Experience:
Air Emissions – Consent Decree Enforcement (refinery) – Led the detailed data re-evaluation process for a refinery to define proper data exclusion, averaging and substitution by overlapping regulation and CD requirements. The resulting adjustments lowered the emissions estimate and associated penalties by 50%.
Air Emissions – Information Collection Request (refinery) – Led effort to improve the speciation of refinery process streams as part of response to the refinery Information Collection Request (ICR) in 2011. As a consequence of these efforts (using internal refinery information and API data) predicted benzene emissions were reduced by 20%.
Air Emissions – LDAR (chemical plant) – Led one of the first practical LDAR demonstration projects in China with a unique focus on hydrogen to reduce the potential for fires and explosions. The entire effort to tag, monitor, repair leaking sources, develop emissions estimates and make recommendations was delivered in four weeks on site.
Air Emissions – Painting Operations (manufacturing plant) – A paint operation was conservatively assumed to vaporize essentially all paint applied. By performing a database study, results of three reports were merged to develop an allocation calculation between paint vaporized, paint applied to the product, and paint waste. As a result, the manufacturing facility was able to reduce its paint emissions estimate by 60% and more appropriately allocate costs between manufacturing units within the plant.
Benzene Waste NESHAPs (chemical plant) – Conducted a very fast-track Benzene Waste NESHAPS (BWON) Total Annual Benzene (TAB) overhaul that identified “missing” benzene. This effort avoided the threatened shutdown of a chemical plant by EPA.
Benzene Waste NESHAPs (refinery) – Conducted a thorough investigation to determine why more benzene was present at the inlet to the wastewater plant than the sum of all cataloged sources would suggest. The study identified that the contribution from tank water draws was not being accurately estimated. Asa result, a substantial fine was avoided and operating practices were revised based on recommendations made to significantly lower the contribution.
Benzene Waste NESHAPs (refinery) – Developed a sustainable compliance program for a refinery that included a tabular procedure that made identifying roles in complicated interactive tasks transparent and easy to manage. The program also included a facility-specific photo-enhanced training program for staff and contractors, and a detailed compliance tracking grid for the environmental staff manager that roadmapped what he needed to check to have confidence that the contractor was managing change and other responsibilities effectively.
Carbon Footprint (refinery) – Developed a process which led to the carbon footprint of several oil recycling scenarios (including landfill, distillation for use as fuel, and re-refining to make a recycled version of the original product). Each of these was balanced to constant market demand for the material being recycled, as well as the co-products of its manufacture. The process identified the tipping point for re-refining versus use of used oil as fuel. This led to involvement in additional work by the American Petroleum Institute.
Carbon Footprint (refinery) – Developed a comprehensive infrastructure estimate for a refinery and estimated the carbon footprint of the energy required to produce the required steel and concrete. These first-of-their-kind results were incorporated in the GREET GHG fuel cycle model maintained by the Argonne National Laboratory and used for government and industry for transportation policy decision-making.
Carbon Footprint (refinery) – Performed a cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of gasoline manufacturing including oil extraction, transportation and refining. This work involved developing a model that could predict GHG emissions for various refinery crude slates, and included unit-by-unit mass and energy balances, as well as GHG emissions estimates. All aspects of refining were evaluated including the fuel gas recovery, cogeneration, steam and fuel gas balance. Results were used to determine potential impact of new regulations on the company’s operations and what advocacy strategy might be appropriate.
Carbon Footprint (university) – Developed a first-ever footprint for a university using graduate students to collect and interpret the data. The results were used to convince university administrators to create a sustainability manager position and focus immediately on the best way to lower operating cost – initiate on-campus paper recycling. Now four years later, the university has created and filled the position and is working hard at recycling.
Carbon Footprint (upstream) – Led a team that performed a comprehensive review of well production data and connected it to EPA GHG reporting by platform to generate the carbon footprint of platform operations. The team developed a “from-the-ground up” inventory of steel in platform superstructure, subsea wells and subsea gathering and delivery pipelines that was the basis of a determination of the carbon footprint of extracting and fabricating that steel (as an increment to the operational carbon footprint). This was one of the first such efforts to describe US upstream offshore operations from a carbon footprint perspective. Results were published by Argonne National Laboratory.
Catalyst Recycling (metals reclaimer) – Led agency negotiations to obtain a solid waste disposal variance which enabled a metals reclaimer to process spent refinery catalyst without a hazardous waste permit. The key was agreeing to reasonable process monitoring and practical controls that leveraged the way the reclaimer was already treating other materials. The result was continued operations and the avoidance of several million dollars in capital equipment, as well as avoiding sending large volumes of hazardous waste to a landfill.
Compliance Assurance – Policy (major oil and gas corporation) – Served as principal outside advisor to a corporate team developing the compliance assurance process for an oil company. Guided the writing of policy and was a key resource during the pilot gap analysis process. Subsequently led various implementations for refining, lubricants, and upstream on three continents.
Compliance Assurance – Remediation (major oil company) – Designed the technical process and led technical efforts for one of the largest efforts to centralize and standardize remediation regulatory compliance efforts (in 40 states) that has ever been conducted. Though compliance software was used, the project also involved a unique method of processing agency letters in real time so that required actions could be tracked and viewed by all managers.
Compliance Assurance (refinery) – Worked with EHS staff at a large refinery in Africa to implement a compliance check process to comply with global corporate standards and help the facility deal with newly created air emissions regulations. As part of this effort, worked with managers at all levels to explain the program benefits, discuss and fine-tune how the program would work, and obtain buy-in. By distributing the check process widely, no part of the organization was over-burdened with their share of checking for compliance.
Compliance Assurance (terminal) – After developing a comprehensive listing of thousands of multi-media applicable requirements for a terminal, addressed management frustration with the challenge of addressing all these by implementing a multi-tiered program focusing on Agency deliverables and periodic tasks that resulted in a manageable number of tasks that could be managed effectively in the facility SAP task tracking process.
Due Diligence on Fast Track (refinery) – Developed a materiality assessment strategy based on the development of trigger questions for air, water, waste and health and safety, and led a team of four senior auditors to gather required data in a single day refinery site visit. More than 30 material issues were identified and their relative worst-case costs were estimated. This enabled investors to make a decision to proceed in a very narrow time window.
Energy Use Survey (manufacturing plant) – As part of a larger carbon footprint effort, led the collection of energy usage for largest equipment types in a plant using clamping to measure spot consumption. This effort resulted in the identification of one set of equipment that contributed 33% of the total facility electrical load (previously not suspected to be the case). As a consequence, ways to reduce this were identified and a significant reduction was made possible.
Life Cycle Assessment (manufacturing plant) – Led an LCA for a solar panel manufacturing facility that resulted in a process for ongoing evaluation of proposed projects within that plant from a LCA perspective, as well as identifying a product material change that could significant lower impacts. Additionally this project allowed the manufacturer to quantify the extent to which product benefits (power produced) exceed burden (impacts from manufacture, delivery and installation). This demonstrated the importance of product efficiency and lifetime usage compared to other aspects.
Life Cycle Assessment Training (chemical plant) – Facilitated a two day workshop for key Management, Public Relations, Marketing, Legal and Environmental staff to explain the LCA process and collaboratively develop an appropriate strategy to address information requests and the company’s desire to compare its products to alternate suppliers located overseas. A key focus was on how to develop estimates for competitor products without primary operational data. As a result of this workshop, the business unit elected to perform an LCA.
Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) Policy – Leveraged previous industrial experience writing a corporate policy to develop a tabular approach for an upstream oil and gas company with assets in several states that had widely differing requirements. The effort standardized the company approach using best practices.
Spill Prevention and Countermeasure Plan (refinery) – As part of plan re-certification, developed an innovative approach to secondary containment demonstration using the wastewater collection and retention system as an alternative to costly internal dike repair.
Spill Prevention and Countermeasure Plan (chemical plant) – Developed a tabular approach to an SPCC that demonstrated clearly the overlap between several sets of overlapping requirements and how those were addressed by the plan. This replace a cumbersome set of binders and post-it notes, and made it possible to have confidence that all requirements were being addressed, even as the facility changed.
Sustainability Plan (financial company) – By utilizing a process of interviews and by leveraging company experience, assisted a global financial sector client with the development of a qualitatively ranked inventory of present and potential work practices that had sustainability implications (waste generation, energy usage, raw materials sourcing, employee travel, advertising print practices, use of digital versus paper copies, etc.). The results of this effort were used to establish and benchmark annual carbon footprint reduction programs. In addition best practices were benchmarked against competitors.
Waste Minimization (refinery) – Led the comprehensive review of waste management at a refinery that resulted in the identification of ~ $2 MM per year in potential savings. A key aspect of this project was the development of a business process to track and evaluate all aspects of the waste cost (containerization, treatment, transport and disposal) in one place. This enabled managers to see the big picture at a glance and prioritize appropriately.
Waste Management (upstream) – Developed a regulation-based compliance grid for an oil production company with operations in several states. The result with to identify and prescribe mandatory and best practices, and to standardize those across the operation where it made sense to do so to address long-term liability. The work product generated lots of discussion and ultimately led the organize to understand clearly the implications and to have confidence in the policies it ultimately enacted.
“Lessons Learned from the Carbon Footprint of a City (Beaumont, Texas),” Presentation to American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), October 2015, J.M. Beath
“Should PM 2.5 Be Added to the Carbon Footprint?” Presentation to American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), October 2015, J.M. Beath
“Super-Hybrid Carbon Footprint: A Soar and Dive Approach to Reporting and Reducing Supply Chain Impacts,” Air and Waste Management Association, Raleigh, NC, June 2015, J.M. Beath.
“Contribution of Infrastructure to Oil and Gas Production and Processing Carbon Footprint,” John Beath, Marjie Boone, Nyx Black, Brandy Rutledge, Amgad Elgowainy, Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory Technical Papers, 2014.
“Streamlined Determination of the Carbon Footprint of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations,” American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), October 2013, John Beath, Marjie Boone, Nyx Black, Brandy Rutledge, Amgad Elgowainy, Michael Wang. (http://lcacenter.org/lcaxiii/draft-presentations/902.pdf)
“A Business-Friendly Hybrid Approach to Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting,” Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting, June 2013, Kristen Rowe, John M. Beath, Nuno da Silva.
“Lessons Learned from a Comprehensive University Carbon Footprint,” June 2012, Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting, J.M. Beath and M. Tadmor.
“Lessons Learned From an Alternative Energy Manufacturing Plant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Potential Implications for Refineries,” National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) Spring 2007 National Environmental Conference, J.M. Beath, V. Junquera, J. Onslow.
“Review of TIAX “Well-to-Wheels” Fuel Cycle Assessment,” Western States Petroleum Association Presentation to California Energy Commission, March 2007; John Beath, Victoria Junquera, Michael Collins. (http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/ccea/comments/april/well_to_wheel_2.pdf)
“Implications of the EPA Residual Risk Information Collection Request (ICR) for Petroleum Refineries (and Others),” October 2011, National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) Environmental Conference, J.M. Beath and S.A. Kirby.
“Applicability-Based Management of Change (MOC)”, Air and Waste Management Association, J.M. Beath, C. J. McCarthy, B. Jurkowski (2006).
“Unique Compliance Data Handling That Finally Gives Environmental Staff What They Want, and What They Need!”, Air and Waste Management Association, J.M. Beath, R. S. Tallent, W.E. Beck (2005).
“Use Periodic Checks to Demonstrate Title V Compliance,” J.M. Beath and C. McCarthy, Chemical Engineering Progress, February 2004.