ZHU, Jesse

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Powder Technology Applications
Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Director, Particle Technology Research Centre (PTRC)

P.Eng., F.C.A.E., F.E.I.C., F.C.I.C.
Website for PTRC: http://www.powders.ca/

DR. ZHU has over 27 years of working experience in the research area of powder handling and fluid-particle multiphase flow and is currently leading a very successful Canada Research Chair Program in Powder Technology Applications in the Faculty of Engineering at UWO, . with over 40 graduate students, post doctoral fellows and research engineers. He also heads the Particle Technology Research Centre at Western Ontario, which is comprised of 15 Professors carrying out numerous research projects over a wide range of particle related technologies. His research group has published over 300 scientific papers, plus over a dozen of patents. Besides basic research, he also has several inventions, some of which have been commercialized or are now ready for licensing. Those include an ultrafine powder technology for automobile and materials industry, a dry powder coating technology for pharmaceutical solid dosage forms, a dry powder inhalation technology, and a fluidized bed bioreactor for efficient wastewater treatment, as listed below.. Several awards were credited to his research achievements including two major awards given by the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineering (Syncrude Award for Outstanding Young Chemical Engineer in Canada and Bantrel Award in Design and Industrial Practice), the Premier's Research Excellence Award, the Distinguished Young Scholar's Award and the Engineering Prize for Achievement in Research at Western.

Dr. Zhu's main research interests are in the powder handling, fluid-particle and multiphase systems. His current research interests include circulating fluidized bed riser and downer reactors, liquid-solid and gas-liquid-solid circulating fluidized beds, fluidization regime transition, mixing, heat transfer, modelling and design of fluidized bed reactors, and fluidization of cohesive fine and ultrafine powders, plus many new applications of powder technology. His most important research achievements include the establishment of the new concept "high density riser" flow, milestone work on liquid-solids circulating fluidized bed and downer fluidized bed, and more recently the development of novel technologies that can efficiently handle ultrafine powders real for industrial applications.

Pulmonary Drug Delivery - Commercialization Opportunities: Pulmonary drug delivery is a much more effective and efficient method than taking drugs through the digestive system, and a much more convenient and safer method than injecting drugs intravenously. Given the extremely small sizes (< 5 microns). This research project has produced a combination of new drug handling processes and new inhalers that will eventually set an industry standard for pulmonary drug delivery in the very near future. Several patents are available for licensing.

Ultrafine Powder Paint Coating - - Commercialization Opportunities: Powder paint coating is superior to liquid paint coating in that (1) it eliminates the use of petroleum-based solvents that are both expensive and harmful to the environment, and (2) it allows overspray paint powder to be recycled. So far, only coarse paint powders of 30-60 microns have been used for powder coating because smaller powders make the powder extremely difficult to flow. However, coarse paint powders cannot form a very uniform enough coating, preventing the environmentally-friendly powder coating technique from being used for high-quality surface finishing such as the exterior surface of automobiles. The use of ultrafine powder can overcome the above problem, resulting in a very uniform surface, if those ultrafine paint powders can be fluidized. With our novel ultrafine powder handling technology, several commercial licenses have been issued and the industrial ultrafine powder coating experience shows superb finishing quality and 35-45% savings on powder usage. Some licenses have been signed, but non-exclusive license on ultrafine powder coating is still available for potential licenses. This patented technology can also be used in many other areas where ultrafine powders are used.

Dry Powder Coating for Pharmaceutical Tablets - Commercialization Opportunities: The fine powder coating technology described above has been extended to coating pharmaceutical tablets. Compared to the traditional liquid coating, the new process not only eliminates the use of petroleum-based solvents for solvent coating, but also leads to significant energy saving as no liquid needs to be evaporated. Coating trials have been conducted in pharmaceutical companies and the powder coated surfaces are found to satisfy the current pharmaceutical standard and to be more durable than liquid coating. Some areas have been licensed out, so only non-exclusive licenses are available.

Liquid-Solids Circulating Fluidized Beds - - Commercialization Opportunities: Liquid-solids circulating fluidized bed (LSCFB) is a new reactor which combines two fluidized bed reactors into one system, a riser and a downflow fluidized bed. LSCFB provides excellent mass transfer and give extremely high efficiency. With the combined system, two reactions or processes can be realized in one system. This system has now been used for several biochemical reactors and for wastewater treatments, leading to three patents, also available for licensing.

Pilot study using LSCFB for a BNR wastewater process has shown that it has achieved excellent biological treatment with efficient removal of C, N and P. With significantly improved mass transfer, the hydraulic retention time has been reduced by 10 folds to about 2 hours and the sludge production is reduced by 2/3. The effluent also reaches the quality of tertiary. A large-scale demonstration unit is in operation in London City's wastewater plant and the technology is still open for non-exclusive licensing but non-exclusive license is no longer available.

For more details about the technologies, please visit the website of Prof. Jesse Zhu (http://www.zhu.ca/)

KEYWORDS: Fluidization, powder technology, ultrafine powders, reactor design, powder coating, pharmaceutical tablet coating, pulmonary drug delivery, biological processes, wastewater treatment

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Contact Info

Western Engineering

Thompson Engineering Building,
Room number 453
Telephone: (519) 661-3807
Fax: (519) 661-3498
E-mail: zhu@uwo.ca