Chemical Catalytic Process Engineer with Expertise in Petroleum, and Petrochemicals, including Fluidized Bed Systems, R&D Troubleshooting and Improvements

Technical Consultant #1867


Expertise

  • Technical support for chemical process development and design.
  • Developing, designing and improving hydrocarbon process technologies.
  • Catalyst and process development, scale-up, demonstration plant, design, operating and safety procedures.
  • Petroleum, petrochemical, chemical, and hydrocarbon and energy conversion processes.
  • Marketing technical support, publications, presentations and client communications.
  • Analysis and interpretation of lab and plant data.
  • Fluidized-bed (and other) reactor systems.
  • Cold flow models.
  • Exothermic and endothermic reactor systems with integral heat removal or input.
  • Selective partial oxidation.
  • Material and energy balances, efficiency and integration.
  • International technology transfer, training, start-up guidance, customer service and satisfaction.
  • Safe practices and PPE, including certification for plant visit safety.
  • Plant performance optimization.
  • Hydrodynamics and scale-up.
  • Computational fluid dynamics.
  • Catalyst deactivation and cyclic and regeneration reactor systems.
  • Flammability considerations.
  • Economic analysis and evaluation.

Experience

Independent Consultant, Present

Undisclosed Company, Sr. Principal Process Development Engineer, 1977 - 2011

  • Technology Leader for first-of-its-kind fluidized-bed reactor systems.
  • Led development, design, licensing, improvement of "ALMA" (Alusuisse Italia / Lummus Crest Maleic Anhydride)process for all steps from initial concept, evaluation and research and development through catalyst and process development - scale-up, demonstration plant, design, operating and safety procedures and training, marketing, commercialization, plant startups, customer service, troubleshooting, and process and catalyst improvements.
  • Introduced a fluidized-bed reactor system and catalyst to accomplish higher reactor and heat transfer intensification than possible in fixed-bed reactor systems, for the selective partial oxidation of n-butane with air to produce maleic anhydride, together with a non-aqueous recovery system, each advance providing substantial reduction in capital cost, energy consumption, operating costs and investment.
  • Brought 7 commercial plants successfully on stream, with a total capacity of about 200,000 t/a, a combined installed cost of over $300 million, and incorporating investment savings of $50 million with an additional reduction of $20 million in annual operational costs.
  • Led team of engineers with wide variety of expertise to design effective but economical fluidized-bed reactor system that succeeded in obtaining top results in eventual commercial plants, for both reaction performance and minimal catalyst attrition.
  • Incorporated design of rest of plant, including effluent and utility systems, into integrated and optimized overall plant capital cost, energy balance, environmental impacts and economics.
  • Created design of demonstration plant ("semi-commercial plant") that successfully removed uncertainties and provided optimization for commercial plants by incorporating both flexibility for modifications to test different design details, and fully scalable equivalence to ensure that performance of eventual commercial plants would match that of demonstration plant.
  • Obtained early convergence on optimal operating conditions and results for eventual commercial plants, and the catalysts to achieve those, based on advance design and economic evaluations and updates, combined with initial and subsequent laboratory test data.
  • Successfully oversaw construction, start-up and initial operation of semi-commercial plant at partner facility in Italy, including testing of first / different catalyst batches, and modifications and demonstration of safe and technically and economically reliable design features / conditions / results obtainable for subsequent commercial plants.
  • Led marketing of process to clients for first commercial plants through presentation of papers, meetings, plant visits and technology explanations.
  • Oversaw incorporation of key technological details for first commercial plant designs and operating manuals, and led start-up advisor teams in Asia and Europe, overcoming some initial obstacles and achieving smooth operations with good technical and economic results.
  • Provided "after-market" ongoing customer service, successfully helping to optimize client performances and diagnose and overcome equipment and operating difficulties, and leading to "second generation" improvements.
  • Provided guidance for in-situ tests in plants and semi-commercial plant, plus oversaw CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations and CFM (cold-flow model) tests to develop improvements, then oversaw successful implementations in the commercial plants. Contributed to partner's development of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation catalysts.

Senior Principal Development Engineer

  • Managed or contributed technical expertise to assorted development and process design projects.
  • Led process development for olefin oxide process (propylene oxide, epichlorohydrin, butylene oxide from corresponding olefin), obtaining technology inputs from chemists and engineers.
  • Integrated economic evaluation, laboratory and pilot plant test results for preliminary design.
  • The process incorporated organic chlorohydrin approach using tertiary butyl hypochlorite, and included issues related to corrosion and compound stability and safety, plus full recycle of effluents, with spent brine fed to caustic and chlorine plant integrated within process.
  • Introduced a subprocess of "chlorate oxidation" to remove impurities from the spent brine.
  • Oversaw termination of program when Oxirane (ARCO) co-product technology emerged as superior.
  • Advised client LKAB (Sweden) on process development for fluidized-bed shale gasification development program.
  • Made valuable contributions to additional initial development programs (process conceptualization and alternatives, economic justification or rejection, laboratory testing, kinetic correlation and interpretation, preliminary designs, process flow diagrams, and material and energy balances), in the areas of:
  • Hydrocarbon dehydrogenations (alkanes, olefins, ethylbenzene), ranging from no oxygen to oxygen inclusion, including close attention to flammability considerations and most appropriate reactor / catalyst systems.
  • Alternative routes to produce styrene.
  • Routes to paraxylene by reactions and separations.
  • Hydroisomerization of alkanes to branched alkanes to increase octane.
  • Selective ring opening of naphthalenes.
  • CO2 absorption.
  • Propylene glycol from biodiesel byproduct glycerol.
  • Fluid-bed gasification of petroleum coke, coal and biomass.
  • Key member of planning study team for petrochemical complex expansion and modernization.

Exxon Research & Engineering Co, Florham Park, NJ, Process Engineer, 1969 - 1977

  • Performed process design, improvement and economics work in hydrodesulfurization and other hydrotreating, catalytic reforming and FCC (fluid catalytic cracking).
  • Improved deactivation correlations, hydrodesulfurization correlations, hydrodesulfurization operating procedures, new high-temperature FCC regeneration, and FCC of atmospheric resid feedstock.
  • Led field tests at conditions before and after various improvements.
  • Coordinated on-site troubleshooting efforts to bring off-spec jet fuel back on-spec.
  • Presented seminars and provided consulting on new hydrodesulfurization operating procedures.
  • Process advisor for check-out and start-up of major grass-roots petroleum refinery, with extra responsibility for overseeing hydrodesulfurization process units and catalysts.
  • Performed technical service, providing advice to improve refiners' FCC units and performances.

Honors & Publications

Credentials

  • Professional Engineer (NJ)

Languages

  • Italian: partial spoken and written
  • German: partial spoken and written

Academic and Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Awards

  • Kirkpatrick Honor Award from Chemical Engineering magazine.
  • Received European Better Environment Award - Industry.
  • Receiver Lummus award: "William Tucker Engineering Excellence Award"

Publications

  • Author and Co-Author of 8 publications, (peered reviewed journals, meetings and educational text).

Education

  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
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