Expert Details

Expert in Process Engineering and Chemistry of Inorganic Chemicals

Expert ID: 722784 Canada

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Expert W. Expert has 20 years’ experience in process design and operation of chlorine manufacturing facilities. He has worked on projects including the development of material and energy balances and the equipment sizing for a 15% chlorine plant expansion, troubleshooting a pressure drop problems in a chlorine pipeline, and modifying the liquefaction conditions to control the dissolved gas content in liquid chlorine. He has worked on the design and troubleshooting of the other units in chlorine plants, including brine systems, cellrooms, hydrogen plants (including Hg removal systems), caustic soda evaporation plants, hydrochloric acid burners, and sodium hypochlorite systems. He recently has completed a design study for a US client involving treatment options for the degas venting from a liquid chlorine transloading operation, comparing vapor recompression with chemical scrubbing and reduction with H2O2. Expert designed and supervised a materials corrosion study to identify an appropriate material of construction for chloroform reboiler, used for NCl3 destruction. He also continues to provide support to clients on the links between ammonia in salt and NCl3 in chlorine. Expert has worked as the technical expert for a secondary aluminum manufacturing in a claim for off-specification chlorine supply. For this case, he demonstrated the link between moisture in chlorine and manufacturing problems in aluminum refining. (He notes that chlorine is used to remove magnesium from molten aluminum, and the elevated moisture levels prevented separation of the two phases.) Expert also supervised the pilot plant work investigating the carbochlorination of aluminum oxide to give AlCl3, which lead to the design of a carbochlorination reactor.

Expert's expertise is with Inorganic Process Chemistry and Engineering, and in particular, the commodity chemicals - chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, sodium chlorate, sodium hypochlorite, sulfuric acid, and liquid sulfur dioxide. Working with these varied chemicals and industries, has helped him gain a strong understanding of Process Safety Management. Expert has worked on projects investigating the aqueous solution chemistry as well as manufacture, distribution and usage of these products. Examples include the preparation of pure NaCl brines, and their electrolytic conversion into chlorine and caustic soda, and the process engineering required to convert these into market-grade products, such as bleach and muriatic acid. He has performed troubleshooting projects for liquid chlorine pipelines, developed carbo-chlorination technology, developed processes for recovering the weak sulfuric acid effluent generated at base metals smelters, and is working on technology for the conversion of cocoa pod husks to potassium carbonate.

Expert has over 30 years’ experience working with sodium hypochlorite. Some example projects include modifications to chlorine tail gas systems to improve bleach quality and/or to reduce bleach quantity, as well as providing consulting services for continuous bleach manufacturing units, including high strength bleach production. He has worked with various hypochlorite producers to identify the most economic technology for hypochlorite decomposition (typical choices include various reducing agents or fixed bed catalysts). For these studies, the material and energy balances are developed, and the variable costs associated with chemical reduction are compared with the capital costs for catalytic hypo destruction. In another case, a repackager experienced an episode of swelling bleach bottles, which was a safety concern on store shelves. He worked with the repackagers and the hypochlorite producer to identify the root cause of the problem, which was corrected, and the problem has not recurred.

Expert has over 30 years’ experience working in the chlor-alkali industry. He has worked on hydrochloric acid projects including the manufacture from strong chlorine gas as well as from chlorine tail gas. The relative merits of each have been reviewed, and the impact of burning tail gas on plant capacity and costs has been estimated. Expert demonstrated the link between hydrogen gas quality and instabilities in burner operations. This lead to changes in operating procedures that have eliminated the quality problems. He also worked on various projects to improve product color, including improved strength control, and reduced HCl color; several low-cost techniques were developed to convert high color HCl to low-color HCl. He has also worked with HCl storage, loading and unloading systems, on projects aimed at reducing emissions of HCl (with the side benefit of improving strength control). He has developed the application information for air permits for HCl scrubbing and storage systems.

Expert has over 30 years’ experience in the chlor-alkali industry. He has worked on projects in all areas of the chlor-alkali plant: salt quality, brine fabrication, cellroom operations and current efficiency (diaphragm and membrane), chlorine plant operations, caustic soda evaporation, hydrochloric acid production, and sodium hypochlorite production. He has worked with production and marketing staff on product quality issues from incoming salt and water through all plant products. He has also worked on variable cost reduction projects in the at the chlor-alkali facility, and developed capital and variable cost estimates, in order to evaluate the relative merits of these improvement projects. A number of such projects have been implemented, and the clients have received paybacks of 1-3 years. These projects have involved all three cell types: membrane, diaphragm, and mercury. He has also worked on projects involving potash and caustic potash production.

Expert has worked with caustic soda evaporation equipment for both diaphragm and membrane grades. Projects include material and energy balancing to identify process pinch points in support of capacity expansion, expanding vacuum eductor capacity to improve capacity and performance, as well as troubleshooting when performance has been lost. Other projects include caustic soda quality projects to ensure that customer get the best choice of caustic soda. He has designed an alkaline CO2 absorption column for a client. The client has a batch alkaline scrubber, and absorbs CO2 from a cogeneration facility. The resulting soda ash solution is used for water treatment (calcium removal).

Expert has over 30 years’ experience working in support of the sulfuric acid industry, with projects from manufacturing through marketing to waste acid recovery. Manufacturing projects include analysis of SO3 absorption column to reduce pressure drop, as well as product decolorization work to bring smelter product to commercial specification. He has worked on waste acid recovery projects including smelter weak acids and those from organics manufacturing operations. Typical acids include those from the manufacture of secondary butyl alcohol (SBA), RDX/HMX spent acids, as well as those the bleed acids form copper electrowinning operations. He has also worked with marketing staff to understand the swings in world sulfur/sulfuric acid flows, and their impact on both import and export prices. He was an expert witness in a case involving the international shipment of smelter-based sulfuric acid, and the quality issues related thereto.

Expert has a Ph.D. in hydrocarbon catalysis. His industrial experience has involved work with a variety of commercial reactors, including fixed bed catalytic (gas and liquid feeds) and two-liquid phase mixed reactors. He was worked on commercial applications that require unusual design approaches, such as NCl3 destruction in the reboiler of a distillation column and treating chemicals in trucks and tank cars to adjust quality on the way to a customer site. He is working with a local client on the manufacture of a specialty polymer using a modern feed and bleed pump loop system rather than a batch process.

Expert’s consulting business focuses on the manufacture, sales, and use of inorganic chemicals. The chemicals supported include the inorganic acids: HCl, H2SO4, HNO3, and H3PO4; the inorganic bases: NaOH and KOH (and their carbonate solutions); the inorganic oxidizers: H2O2, NaOCl, NaClO3 as well as the hypochlorite derivatives used for swimming pools; and the inorganic reducing agents: SO2 (and sulfite solutions), sulfide solutions, and H2O2. He works with large-scale manufacturers of these chemicals as well as small-scale chemical repackagers. Projects Expert has worked on include economic reviews, health and safety reviews, process design, and process troubleshooting. Example design projects include working with small chemical firms on the design and operation of calcium nitrate production (used as a concrete additive), and the design of vessels and ventilation for peroxyacetic acid production. Examples of safety projects include developing the procedures for cleaning drums to enable them to be reused, and preparing the application for air permits for scrubbers and storage tanks. Larger scale chemical manufacture projects include the various products used as alternatives to road salt (such as potassium acetate and magnesium chloride).

Expert has over 30 years’ experience working in the inorganic chemicals industry, particularly focused on the manufacture and use of inorganic acids and bases. He has worked on ammonium nitrate production in draft-tube neutralization reactors. He has worked on troubleshooting an NOx emission problem from an AN draft tube reactor. Expert is currently working on a research project with the goal of developing a mathematical model of the liquid circulation in an ammonium nitrate neutralizer. This model will investigate the effect of design variables (height and diameter) on the liquid circulation rate, and hence, on the temperature and pressure profile in the draft tube. Knowledge of the temperature profile will provide an ability to predict NOx emissions, as nitrate decomposition is a function of temperature.

Expert has experience in diaphragm and membrane chlorine manufacture and sodium chlorate manufacture, and reduction to chlorine dioxide. He has worked on membrane and chlorate brine quality projects, as well as current efficiency problems in both types of cellrooms. He has worked on the H2 scrubbing columns of a sodium chlorate plant, as well as developing options for destruction of the residual sodium hypochlorite in the mother liquor, as alternatives of hydrogen peroxide. He is working with one client to the segregation of heavy water from the chlorate plant.

Expert has over 30 years’ experience working in the SO2 industry, with SO2 sources being both sulfur-burned and metallurgical. He has worked on projects to generate SO2-water solutions, sodium sulfite and sodium bisulfite solutions, as well as liquid SO2. One client experie3nced off-spec NO gas as the result a change in the source of liquid SO2. Further, he has worked on a number of projects related to the reduction in availability of liquid SO2 and users moving to sodium bisulfite delivery of sulfur burners to generate SO2,

A client manufactures sanitizing products for the commercial and consumer marketplace, and they wished to expand into the peroxyacetic acid product line. Manufacture of the product is simple; however, the ventilation system needed to be designed to minimize air extraction from the building while removing acetic acid odors. A design was prepared, and air permits were obtained for the system.Following the start-up of a new 7-mile Cl2 pipeline, the customer experienced fouling of their vaporizer, leading to frequent shutdowns for cleaning (every two months). This raised the concern about pipeline corrosion. Expert was part of the joint technical team tasked with resolving the problem. He developed an understanding of the mechanism for residue formation in the pipeline. The theory was tested through developing a mathematical model of the pipeline and comparing the model results with pipeline performance. Both management teams accepted the team’s recommendations. There have been no problems since the solutions were implemented. More importantly, the solutions implemented required no new capital outlay.A client sells sodium hypochlorite solution to various companies that dilute and package the bleach for the consumer market. One of their customers experienced several episodes of swelling bleach bottles leading to bottles falling off the shelves in the stores, which they attributed to the client's product. He directed a study that demonstrated that the sodium hypochlorite was not decomposing into O2. In addition, the study demonstrated a weakness in the design of the bleach bottles. The root cause was shown to be the gas impermeable seal applied to the bottle; a slight warming of the bleach (10°C) above the filling temperature was sufficient to swell the bottles. The customer has since modified their bottle sealing operation, and the problem has never returned.A secondary aluminum producer experienced severe process upsets while working with one supplier’s chlorine (chlorine is added to remove magnesium from molten aluminum). Expert performed a process chemistry review, and demonstrated the link between elevated moisture levels in the chlorine and the quality problems experienced in the aluminum treatment system. The report was presented to the chlorine supplier, who then agreed to pay costs.A valve manufacturer designed and supplied angle valves for use on chlorine rail cars. The ed use client experienced problems during the implementation, due to providing incorrect flow rate data. Acted as expert witness, and the client was found not responsible for damages in the case.A boxed salad producer experienced false readings for cyanide in their process effluent. Expert worked with the client, and the local regulators, to demonstrate that it was impossible for cyanide to be present due to the presence of hypochlorite. The root cause was a poor sample technique, and the sampling process was modified. There have been no further false positives; each previous false positive resulted in an effluent surcharge, which has now been avoided.

Education

Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1989 Degree: Ph.D. Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: University of Toronto
Year: 1985 Degree: M.A.Sc. Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: University of Toronto
Year: 1983 Degree: B.A.Sc. Subject: Chemical Engineering Institution: University of Toronto

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 2004 to 2018 Employer: University of Toronto Title: Associate Professor, Teaching Stream Department: Chemical Engineering Responsibilities: Teaches courses in chemical engineering design, petroleum processing and process safety management. He served a 9 year term as Associate Chair of the department.
Years: 2002 to 2018 Employer: (Undisclosed) Title: President Department: Engineering Responsibilities: Operates an engineering consultancy, specializing in the process engineering and troubleshooting of inorganic chemicals. His areas of expertise range from the manufacture to end use of these products, with projects ranging from evaluating new chemical products and processes to debottlenecking studies, and root cause identification of process upsets.
Years: 1989 to 2002 Employer: ICI Forest Products (predecessor of PCI Chemicals Canada Inc.) Title: Senior Research Engineer Department: Pioneer Technology Centre Responsibilities: He worked as a process engineer supporting the manufacture of chlor-alkali and sulfur-based chemicals. Projects included the debottlenecking of a caustic soda evaporation facility, and design of equipment to permit at 15% increase in chlorine capacity, and design of a hypochlorite treatment system. Troubleshooting work includes root cause evaluation of pressure drop in a 7-mile chlorine pipeline, and identifying appropriate materials of construction for a chlorine reboiler. Other work includes developing processes for recovering the waste sulfuric acid generated at metals smelters and silicone manufacturers.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
Expert is a member of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE).
Licenses / Certifications
He is a Licensed Profession Engineer with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).
Professional Appointments
Expert is the Chair of (Undisclosed), which is an advisory body to the Ontario Minister of Labour.
He is Chair of the CSA Z-767 Process Safety Management Technical Committee

Professional Activities:
Licensed Profession Engineer with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).
Chair of the CAS Z-767 Process Safety Management committee
Treasurer of the Process Safety and Loss Management Division of CSChE.

Other Activities:
Member of the Board of Directors of Digital Specialty Chemicals, which produces high purity organo-metallic compounds for use in the electronics and pharmaceuticals industries.
Member of the Board of Directors of Orgaic Potash Corp., which is working to build small plants for the conversion of cocoa pod husk to potassium carbonate in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Catalysis Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting catalysis research in Canada.

Awards / Recognition
Hart Professorship, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto
Process Safety Management Award winner, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering
Publications and Patents Summary
He has two patents awarded in the sulfuric acid processing field. He has co-authored 13 publications in refereed publications, and three publications in trade publications.

Additional Experience

Training / Seminars
Expert works as an Adjunct Professor in Chemical Engineering at (Undisclosed) University, lecturing on the subject of chemical process design studies. He also has lectured on process design, separation processes, and applied thermodynamics.
Marketing Experience
He has worked with a number of clients investigating the commercial potential for new (or improved) product grades in the marketplace. These are technocommercial studies, and lead to development of initial customer lists, market potential, as well as lists of existing competitors, as well as the overall economic merits of the project.
Other Relevant Experience
Key Technical Achievements

I have assisted in the design of a dechlorination system for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Metropolitan operates the only chlorine trailer fleet in North America, and the trailers are transloaded from rail cars at a specially built facility. Vent gases are sent through a water aspirator to the Colorado River Aqueduct, and the residual chlorine must be destroyed to meet Fish and Game regulations in the downstream lakes.

I identified the root cause of high CO2 in pharmaceutical grade NO gas, and worked with the client's quality management team to implement preventive purchasing arrangements, as well as an equipment upgrade. NO gas is used to treat “blue babies”, and improve their lung capacity.

I worked with a polymer manufacturer on the safe injection of organic sulfates which improved the properties of the PET resin.

I acted as expert witness for a secondary aluminum smelter that experienced process upsets as the result of water contamination in their purchased chlorine. The moisture led to dissolved hydrogen in the aluminum; hydrogen solubility increases with increasing temperature in molten aluminum, reducing density and preventing separation of slag materials.

I have prepared the Emission Summary and Dispersion Models and application packages for Environmental Compliance Approvals (Air & Noise) for 14 clients in southern Ontario.



I worked as part of the joint technical team tasked with resolving a corrosion issue within a 7-mile chlorine pipeline. A mathematical model of the system was developed, which predicted the variation in pressure drop with operating rates and time on stream. A series of solutions were implemented at no new capital outlay, and there have been no problems since implementation.

I was part of a 3-company team that developed, designed and installed process equipment for the removal of sub-ppm levels of chlor-amines from a hydrogen gas stream.

A sodium hypochlorite repackager experienced several episodes of swelling bleach bottles leading to bottles falling off the shelves in the stores. I directed a study that demonstrated that the sodium hypochlorite was not decomposing into O2. The root cause was a flaw in the bleach bottle design, and the use of a gas impermeable seal. The customer has since modified their bottle sealing operation, and the problem has never returned.

I was part of a 3-person team that won the 1993 ICEE (Innovation, Creativity and Excellence in Engineering), awarded by ICI Engineering. The team identified a low cost method for reducing the dissolved gas content in liquid chlorine. The method was implemented for one of our customers, and enabled ICI to retain the contract with a high net-back customer, at no capital expense.

Language Skills

Language Proficiency
French Works with several clients in Quebec. He reads and speaks French, and can write acceptably.

Fields of Expertise

chlorine, chlorine gas, chlorine manufacturing, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite production, hypochlorite, chlorine bleach, hypochlorous acid, bleach, Clorox, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen chloride absorption, chloralkali production, chlorine chemistry, chloralkali, sodium hydroxide plant engineering, sodium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide plant, carbon dioxide absorption, sodium carbonate, sulfuric acid, sulfuric acid manufacturing, chemical reaction engineering, chemical plant design, inorganic acid, inorganic base, inorganic chemistry, oxidizing agent chemistry, oxidation reaction, peroxyacid, peroxide, peroxyacetic acid, chlorine dioxide generation, air dispersion, air modeling, emission modeling, dispersion modeling, ammonium nitrate, sodium chlorate, sodium chlorate production, bleach plant, bisulfite compound, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sulfite, sulfurous acid, root, chemical profile, building ventilation, fuming sulfuric acid, laundry oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide production, consequence modeling, chemical process design, chemical industry, nitric acid oxidation, chemical engineering thermodynamics, chlorine absorption, hydrogen peroxide scrubber, chemical plant operation, chlorine detection, caustic treating, acid manufacturing, sulfur trioxide, sodium bisulfate, chlorine analysis, potassium hydroxide, sulfuric acid corrosion, chlorine gas flow, chemical process waste, electrochemical oxidation, sodium sulfite, caustic washing, alkalinity, nitric acid manufacturing, chemical plant management, fire modeling, chemical manufacturing facility evaluation, calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, chlorine dioxide production, chlorine stabilizer, chemical plant layout, peroxide oxidation, chemical reactor engineering, chemical reactor model, chemical plant, sulfuric acid leaching, sulfuric acid handling, oxidizing agent environmental effect, air pollution control, chemical reaction, chemical reactor design, base (chemical), sulfur compound, bleaching, chlorine compound, bleaching agent, industry, carbon tetrachloride, dechlorination, chemical contaminant, ammonia, refinery alkylation, inorganic compound, qualitative inorganic chemistry, sulfite pulping, sodium sulfate, soda ash, chemical reactor control modeling, phosphorous acid, phosphoric acid, pH chemistry, perchloric acid, oxidizing agent, nitrous acid, nitric acid, industrial chemical, hydrogen peroxide, hydrochloric acid environmental effect, hydrobromic acid, fuel cell, fertilizer, chemical reactor scale-up, chemical reactor, catalytic oxidation, catalyst, applied inorganic chemistry, acetic acid

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