My indulgence in research is to pursue practical chemical engineering issues in order to leave behind positive changes for society and industry. My research thrust is aimed at synthesis of new environmentally-friendly materials, development of innovative reactor and new process design with emphasis on analysis of the interactions between the transport processes and chemical reactions, inventing novel approaches to improve process performance and process intensification, optimal operation of such process systems and its application to relevant problems in the chemical, biochemical, environmental and related industries. Novel processes are the key in finding new ways to produce useful products and energy sources with improved efficiency, reactor simplicity, and lower costs. The motivation is to obtain a deep understanding required to develop the next generation of technologies for applications in energy, environment, food, health and water, the humanity's most important challenges for next few decades, and garner significant fundamental expertise in a wide range of areas such as reaction engineering, reactor design, fluid mechanics, separation processes, nanotechnology, modeling, simulation, and multi-objective optimization.
Many of my research problems deals with the mathematical modeling of various complicated engineering systems with interactions between the transport processes and chemical reactions. The design, development, simulation, optimization and analysis of chemical reactors and processes provide an ideal habitat to explore such problems. The objectives of the research are to gain fundamental understanding of the complex behavior of the nonlinear systems and use this understanding to practical advantage. All my research projects exhibit a good blend of fundamental theory and practice in terms of developing theoretical and computational tools addressing design and operational issues of complex systems followed by systematic experimental verification. Research approaches include analytical, experimental and numerical techniques.
I have made significant contributions particularly to three areas: semiconductor photocatalysis and photocatalytic reactor design, Simulated Moving Bed (SMB) systems, and process modeling, simulation and multi-objective optimization of (bio)chemical processes. The most notable contributions of my work on photocatalysis among others are few designs of novel photocatalytic reactor, effect of mass transfer and catalyst layer thickness on degradation of pollutants, reaction kinetics and mechanism of organics as well as removal of toxic metal ions. In Simulated Moving Bed (SMB), my noteworthy contributions include incorporation of reactions to SMB separation, multi-component separation, distributed feed and solvent, non-synchronous switching (Varicol operation), and hybrid SMB-crystallization. I am the first one to apply the concept of multi-objective optimization in the innovative design of SMB systems. In multi-objective optimization, I have optimized several important industrial chemical reactors and processes, such as hydrogen plant, hydrocracking process, ethylene and styrene manufacturing processes, and several polymer reactors such as Nylon 6, PMMA, Polyester and polyethylene. Recently, I have optimized oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) reaction in membrane and SMB reactors, ethylene oxide in catalytic membrane reactor, protein purification in circulating fluidized bed reactor and penicillin bio-reactor. Many of my articles on photocatalysis, SMB and optimization are highly cited and some of them are cited in recent books.
Project Title: Decreasing Al(III) Level in Water for Water Reuse.
Research Interest: Environment protection, sustainability,
water resources, water treatment, mathematical modeling.
Project Title: Modeling and Multi-objective optimization of industrial ammonia synthesis.
Research Interest: first principle modeling, data-based modeling, optimization,
industrial reactors, machine learning.
Project Title: Simulated Moving Bed.
Research Interest: SMB application, simulation, optimization, difficult separation process.
Project Title: Enhanced solar photocatalytic hydrogen production and water purification.
Research Interest: Green technology, Photocatalysis, Hydrogen production, Water treatment, Nanomaterial.