Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Energy and Environment Directorate

Johnny Saavedra Lopez

Johnny Saavedra Lopez

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 375-2087


Johnny joined the Hydrocarbon Processing group at PNNL in 2015 after a postdoctoral position in San Antonio, TX, bringing with him 10+ years of experience in catalyst and process development. His career has been aimed to the understanding fundamentals of catalysts and adsorbents for industrial applications. His expertise includes mechanistic studies of catalysis by gold, desulfurization and reforming for the production of synthesis gas, and gas processing reactions. His doctoral work was related to the development of catalysts and adsorbents for the desulphurization of natural gas, naphtha and diesel type process streams. His current research interests include the use of natural gas as a chemical feedstock, catalytic transformations for the conversion of biomass derivatives to fuels, solar thermochemical and microchannel reactors.

Education and Credentials

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • M.Sc., Materials Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València (Valencia, Spain)
  • Ph.D., Kinetics and Catalysis. Instituto de Tecnología Química, UPV-CSIC (Valencia, Spain)
  • Post-doctorate. Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas)

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • ORCS – Organic Reactions Catalysis Society
  • SWCS – Southwest Catalysis Society

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2016, 2018 – PNNL Outstanding Performance Award.
  • 2015 – Best Fundamental Paper, AIChE – American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Texas division.
  • 2014 – Outstanding Presentation Award, ORCS-Organic Reaction Catalysis Society.
  • 2012, 2013 – Best Poster Presentation Award, SWCS -Southwest Catalysis Society.
  • 2012 – Summa cum laude doctoral thesis – UPV-Universitat Politècnica de València

PNNL Publications


  • Dagle V., A.D. Winkelman, N.R. Jaegers, J. Saavedra Lopez, J.Z. Hu, M.H. Engelhard, and S. Habas, et al. 2020. "Single-Step Conversion of Ethanol to n-Butene over Ag-ZrO2/SiO2 Catalysts." ACS Catalysis 10, no. 18:10602-10613. PNNL-SA-151691. doi:10.1021/acscatal.0c02235
  • Dagle V., J. Saavedra Lopez, A.R. Cooper, J. Luecke, M.S. Swita, R.A. Dagle, and D.J. Gaspar. 2020. "Production and Fuel properties of Iso-Olefins with Controlled Molecular Structure and Obtained from Butene Oligomerization." Fuel 277. PNNL-SA-152680. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2020.118147


  • Saavedra Lopez J., R.A. Dagle, V. Dagle, C.D. Smith, and K.O. Albrecht. 2019. "Oligomerization of ethanol-derived propene and isobutene mixtures to transportation fuels: catalyst and process considerations." Catalysis Science & Technology 9, no. 5:1117-1131. PNNL-SA-135575. doi:10.1039/C8CY02297F
  • Saavedra Lopez J., V. Dagle, C.A. Deshmane, L. Kovarik, R.S. Wegeng, and R.A. Dagle. 2019. "Methane and Ethane Steam Reforming over MgAl2O4-Supported Rh and Ir Catalysts: Catalytic Implications for Natural Gas Reforming Application." Catalysts 9, no. 10:Article No. 801. PNNL-SA-146376. doi:10.3390/catal9100801


  • Dagle V., M.D. Flake, T.L. Lemmon, J. Saavedra Lopez, L. Kovarik, and R.A. Dagle. 2018. "Effect of the SiO2 Support on the Catalytic Performance of Ag/ZrO2/SiO2 Catalysts for the Single-Bed Production of Butadiene from Ethanol." Applied Catalysis. B, Environmental 236. PNNL-SA-128543. doi:10.1016/j.apcatb.2018.05.055

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas