Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringWestern Engineering

Research

My research interests lie in the general area of chemical reaction and reactor engineering for multi-phase systems. The main field of expertise is gas-solid fluidized bed reaction and reactor technologies.

The fast gas-solid reactor theories and technologies are being applied to a number of processes involving both catalytic and non-catalytic solid particles. Very significant contributions in this field include the development of hydrodynamic and chemical simulators of chemical processes of industrial interest, such as the coupling of predictive hydrodynamic models for fast gas-solid reactors to the kinetics of partial oxidation reactions, of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), and of thermal cracking processes (coking reactions, pyrolysis and ultrapyrolysis of various carbonaceus feedstocks: biomass, heavy oils and bitumens and plastic wastes). A major present undertaking, in collaboration with Dr. Cedric Briens and several industrial organizations, deals with studies relevant to the hydrodynamic characterization of coker reactors, kinetic studies of coking technologies for heavy oil upgrading, thermal cracking of biomass and other solid wastes for the production of bio-oil and bio-oil upgrading.

Together with Dr. Briens and other colleagues from across the University, we have created a Research Institute to consolidate and expand all these research programs and enhance our collaboration with industry and our technology transfer and commercialization activities: the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR).

ICFAR Logo

The Institute has its own off-campus facilities and infrastructure for conducting a very vigorous research program involving considerable pilot plant experimentation.

In close cooperation with Dr. Cedric Briens, my research activities in the area of gas-solid fluid bed technologies have significantly expanded to include the investigation on the injection of a variety of gaseous, liquid and solid feeds into fluidized beds. The fundamental characterization of the behavior of gas and two-phase (gas-liquid) sprays or jets is being studied both experimentally and theoretically. Typical applications of interest include the injection of raw materials into fluidized bed thermal or catalytic cracking processes for upgrading.

In the past, I have worked for many years on the development of predictive hydrodynamic models for gas-solid fast fluidized beds, including Circulating Fluidized Bed risers (upflow) and downers (downflow), turbulent fluidized beds, spouted beds and spout-fluid beds. My research group has been involved in significant experimental work dealing with the hydrodynamic features of fast fluidized bed reactors, and has developed and patented a novel reactor configuration, called Internally Circulating Fluidized Bed. Other contributions include the technical development of new solids feeders, capable of accurately adjusting and controlling the feeding rates of small solid particles.

In addition, my research interests and activities include studies of indoor and outdoor air quality in urban areas, the development of economically acceptable technologies for the recovery and disposal of greenhouse gases, circulating fluidized bed coal combustion processes with sulfur capture, thermal cracking of plastic wastes (tertiary recycling of plastics), biosorption of heavy metals, automotive air bag technologies and failures, and remediation of contaminated sites.

The main web site of our Institute can be found by clicking: http://www.eng.uwo.ca/ICFAR.

Agri ThermAmong the various technology transfer and commercialization activities of our research group, we are very proud of our contribution to the creation of Agri-Therm, a Canadian company dedicated to developing, manufacturing and marketing portable and stationary equipment for producing bio-oils and products from biomass, specifically agricultural residues, wastes and transition crops: http://www.agri-therm.com/