Expert Details

Expert in Industrial-Scale Chemical Separations – Process Development and Improvement

Expert ID: 735564 Michigan, USA

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Expert is a Ph.D. chemical engineer with in-depth experience in the synthesis and commercial development of chemical separation processes involving distillation, extraction, crystallization, and adsorption. Expert is experienced with both continuous processing of commodity chemicals and multi-step, batch processing of specialty chemicals. Expertise includes rapid screening of separation process options for new applications, as well as troubleshooting/improvement of existing processes. Expert applies knowledge of solution thermodynamics, industrial solvent selection, mass transfer resistance and rate analysis, fluid mechanics/mixing, and reactions (trace reactions and combined reaction/separation) – to understand, develop, and improve process-scale chemical separations. Experience includes 33 years in research and development at a major chemical manufacturing company (a Fortune 100 corporation), attaining the position of Fellow in Core Research and Development (Senior Technology Leadership). Expert is co-inventor on 20 U.S. patents plus related patents in other countries, and is co-author of 32 publications including contributions to Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (8th and 9th editions).

Example contributions include the following (in collaboration with many others):
• Patented process for 99+% recovery of organic vapors from air and nitrogen vents – with over 60 units operating around the world.
• New extraction technology for downstream recovery of spinosad, a complex organic compound produced by fermentation of a naturally-occurring bacterium, Saccaropolyspora spinosa.
Spinosad has a highly desirable environmental profile, with low use rates, low mammalian toxicity, and negligible persistence in the environment.
• Improved distillation and extraction processes used in the manufacture of numerous agricultural chemicals used in a variety of pest-control product formulations.
• Novel reactive-stripping technology for unprecedented control of trace impurities below 50 ppb in select aqueous waste streams.
• Enhanced distillation processes for efficient recovery and recycle of various azeotrope-forming solvents used in specialty chemicals manufacturing, including acetonitrile and various alcohols, ketones, and esters. Includes pressure-swing distillation.
• Patented distillation/stripping technology for regeneration of acid-gas scrubbing fluids, allowing injection of compressed CO2 and other gases into subsurface storage reservoirs at high pressure with fewer stages of compression – for minimal consumption of energy. Improves the efficiency of geological storage of CO2 from CO2 sequestration operations.
• Systematic design methods for cost-effective and robust liquid-liquid phase separation via improved design and application of decanters, coalescers, and centrifuges. Used for reliable washing operations with excellent product recovery, and for solvent and monomer recovery and recycle.
• Systematic design methods for cost-effective and robust specification of liquid-solid adsorbers for removal of trace impurities from liquids – to protect catalyst activity by removing poisonous impurities from raw material feeds, to eliminate undesired colors or odors from a final organic product, or to detoxify aqueous waste streams prior to bio-treatment.
• Crystallization process technology for manufacture of specialty chemicals, pharmaceutical intermediates and actives, and a wide variety of agricultural chemicals and intermediates. Includes cooling, evaporative, reactive, and anti-solvent processes, with careful attention given to such details as mixing requirements, forced-circulation evaporator or cooler design (when needed), and use of a turbidity probe to monitor and adjust process conditions to promote crystal digestion or growth.
• Implementation of MOSCED solvent screening methodology (developed by Prof. Expert Eckert’s group at Georgia Tech) as a complementary alternative to UNIFAC and Hansen solubility parameters. Includes greatly enlarging the database of MOSCED parameters.
• Introduction of a new method for quantifying and classifying activity coefficient temperature dependence – applicable to a broad range of mixture types and excess Gibbs energy expressions. Used for application-directed screening and modeling purposes.
• Patented glycol ether extraction technology for selective release and recovery of recombinant proteins from Gram-negative bacteria.
• Patented technology for production of pure enantiomers of propylene glycol ethers and glycol ether acetates via enzyme-catalyzed enantioselective transesterification – for use as chiral intermediates to chiral pharmaceuticals (U.S.). A novel “horizontal” reactive distillation process scheme is used to drive conversion, allowing use of non-activated acyl donors. Enables production of a wide range of enantiomers including chiral hydroxy compounds, esters, amides, and amines.
• Patented dehydrochlorination/distillation process technology for removal of trace chloroalkane impurities from 1,3-dichloropropene via conversion of chloroalkanes to chloroalkenes that can easily be separated via distillation. Provides improved biodegradability for good environmental performance.

Expert may consult nationally and internationally, and is also local to the following cities: Midland, Michigan - Saginaw, Michigan - Detroit, Michigan

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Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1984 Degree: PhD Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: University of Colorado - Boulder
Year: 1981 Degree: M.S. Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: University of Colorado
Year: 1978 Degree: BS Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: Montana State University - Bozeman

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 1984 to 2018 Employer: (Undisclosed) Title: Fellow Department: Engineering & Process Sciences Responsibilities: Research and development of chemical separation processes, bio-separation processes, and environmental protection technology for commercial implementation in large-scale manufacturing operations.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
Fellow of AIChE (2010 - present)
Awards / Recognition
Clarence Gerhold Award, Separations Division of AIChE.
Member of the team awarded a 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Award by the US Environmental Protection Agency for development of new, fermentation-derived products for insect control (NATURALYTE* Insect Management Products (spinosad), *Trademark of Dow AgroSciences).
Publications and Patents Summary
Co-inventor on 20 U.S. patents in chemical processing (plus related patents in other countries) and co-author of 32 publications on chemical separations and reactions, including contributions to Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook (8th and 9th editions).

Publications: Co-author of 180+ internal company reports and the following external publications.
Book Chapters: 4
Review/ Teaching Articles: 4
Peer- Reviewed Journals Articles: 24
Granted Patent Families (with equivalent patents in other countries plus 6 patent families pending) : 20
Recent Participation in AIChE (Fellow member): 21
Professional Activities and Presentations: 14

Fields of Expertise

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