Category Archives: News

From Complex Feedstocks to New Processes: The Role of the Newly Developed Micro-Reactors

Pilot plant reactors offer very important advantages in testing operating conditions such as temperature, pressure, residence time, catalyst to feed ratio, instrumentation and so on. However, such units are very costly when used, for example, for catalyst and feedstock screening tests where many tests are required to find out the effect of new formulations on product yield under different operating conditions. Micro-reactors are, on the other hand, ideal equipment for such purposes as with such systems running an operation is not expensive, performing a test does not take significant time, switching from an operating condition to one another is rather quick and above all, mass of required catalyst and feedstock is small i.e. in the order of grams. Therefore, considerable time and cost are saved through running tests in the small-scale reactors.

PEARL members Dr. Said Samih, Dr. Mohammad Latifi, Dr. Sherif Farag and Prof. Jamal Chaouki reviewed some state-of-the-art micro-reactors that they have developed and commissioned at PEARL in the Journal of Chemical Engineering and Processing- Process Intensification.  

New Approach for Analyzing Rare Earth Elements (REE) Developed by PEARL members

Dr. Cornelia Chilan from the Physics-Engineering Department and Pearl members Maryam Abdollahi Neisiani, Dr. Mohammad Latifi, Prof. Jamal Chaouki developed a new approach for analyzing rare earth elements (REE) in high content mineral matrices by Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA). 

REE k0 and Q0 values, spectral interferences and nuclear interferences were experimentally evaluated and improved with Alfa Aesar Specpure Plasma Standard 1000 mg kg-1 mono-rare earth solutions. The new iterative gamma-ray self-attenuation and neutron self-shielding methods were investigated with powder standards prepared from 100 mg of 99.9% Alfa Aesar mono rare earth oxide diluted with silica oxide. The overall performance of the new k0-NAA method for REEs was validated using a certified reference material (CRM) from Canadian Certified Reference Materials Project (REE-2). The REE concentration was determined with an uncertainty below 7% (at 95% confidence level) and proved good consistency with the CRM certified concentrations.

Check it out in The International Journal of Pure and Applied Analytical Chemistry (Talanta)

Professor Jamal Chaouki Selected As The Best Chemical Engineering Researcher in Canada

Professor Jamal Chaouki, the head of PEARL, won the  Jane Memorial Award 2018 due to his exceptional achievements to the field of chemical engineering and industrial chemistry. This is the CSChE’s highest award, sponsored by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering.

He is full professor from 1995 at Ecole Polytechnique of Montréal. He has supervised more than 80 Ph.D. and Master Students and more than 40 post-docs. The main areas of his current research are process extrapolation, developing processes from waste and biomass to heat & power, fuels and chemicals. He has co-authored 6 books, published more than 400 reviewed articles in refereed journals and reviewed proceedings, more than 450 other scientific articles, and more than 17 patents.

Congratulations to Professor Jamal Chaouki on receiving the 2018 R. S. Jane Memorial Award!

Fluidization XVI Conference : May 26-31, 2019

The next Fluidization Conference, Fluidization XVI, will be held in China on May 26-31 2019. This conference aims to gather students, professors, and world-renowned experts in the field from both academia and industry. Following the successful 2016 conference, the top selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper in Powder Technology Journal as a special issue of this conference, which is expected to be published by the end of 2019.

In this conference, Professor Jamal Chaouki, the head of PEARL, has been invited to give a plenary speech. In his talk, he will be presenting the most recent research findings in the filed from PEARL.

Students and researchers can submit their abstracts until October 31, 2018, in different areas such as fundamentals of fluidization, modeling and simulation, fluidized bed applications, and fluidization in nature.

A Novel Technique to Measure Kinetic Parameters of Pyrolysis and Gasification Reactions

Said Samih and Jamal Chaouki have recently published a research article in the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. The developed Fluidized Bed Thermogravimetric Analyzer (FB-TGA) in PEARL group was employed to investigate the pyrolysis and gasification of coal. Syngas (a mixture of CO and H2) was produced from such a complex feedstock, and novel kinetic parameters were predicted. Five grams of coal was gasified without observing a diffusion control step. In contrary to the conventional TGAs, the thermocouple of the FB-TGA measured the direct temperature of the reaction in this work, and consequently, the temperature gradient was eliminated. This unique technique allows the development of novel kinetic parameters from the FB-TGA for both pyrolysis and gasification reactions.

This article is accessible from here.

Link of the article :


PEARL PhD Candidate Won First Place of 3-minute Thesis Competition at CSChE Conference

Christine Beaulieu, a PhD candidate from PEARL, has won the first prize of 3-minute elevator pitch competition which happened during the Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference 2017 in Edmonton, AB.

Her work is about effect of segregation on heat transfer of granular materials in industrial mixers. In this two-round competition, she explained how we face segregation in our daily lives and how this phenomenon can affect the heat transfer efficiency in industrial mixing processes.

After the first round, ten students were qualified as finalists by the committee. The event was held from 24 to 26 October 2017 in Shaw conference centre in Edmonton.

Three Minute Thesis Prize Won by PEARL Ph.D. Candidate

Mohamed Khalil, PhD Candidate – Chemical Engineering Department, École Polytechnique de Montréal, working under the supervision of Prof. Jamal Chaouki and Prof. Jean-Philippe Harvey, won the 1st place in Polytechnique Montréal’ Ma thèse en 180 secondes / Three Minute Thesis competition (Francophone) and the 2nd place (Anglophone). He’ll represent Polytechnique at the provincial finals organized by the ACFAS Association francophone pour le savoir, that will be held on May 4, 2017 at McGill University.

A New Research Article Published on Performance Evaluation of Different Approaches for Early Detection of Defluidization

Jaber Shabanian, Pierre Sauriol, Navid Mostoufi, and Jamal Chaouki has recently published a research article in the Powder Technology. The performance of different approaches for the early detection of defluidization in a high temperature bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed and their robustness with respect to the changes in superficial gas velocity, operating temperature, and bed inventory were compared in this study. The results showed that the novel approach proposed by Shabanian et al. 2015 (Procedia Eng. 102 (2015) 1006-1015), which employs the idea of simultaneous monitoring of temperature and in-bed differential pressure signals, with the detection thresholds introduced by Shabanian et al. 2017 (Chem. Eng. J. 133 (2017) 144-156) provides the best performance.

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Abstract of the article is provided below:

Identifying the onset of an agglomeration phenomenon at an early stage in processes utilizing gas-solid fluidized beds that operate under the influence of cohesive interparticle forces affords enough time to apply counteractive strategies and avoid a disastrous agglomeration of particles potentially leading to complete bed defluidization. In this paper, we compare the performance of different leading approaches proposed in the open literature for the advanced detection of defluidization. The approaches include the single-signal-monitoring of evolutions of total bed pressure drop, standard deviation of pressure signals, or -value from the attractor comparison analysis as well as the simultaneous-monitoring of temperature and in-bed differential pressure signals during the process. The results show that the simultaneous-monitoring of temperature and in-bed differential pressure signals provided the best prediction of the onset of agglomeration while it demonstrated the least sensitivity to the changes in gas velocity, operating temperature, and bed inventory.




A New Review Article Published on Effects of Temperature, Pressure, and Interparticle Forces on the Hydrodynamics of Gas-Solid Fluidized Bed

Jaber Shabanian and Jamal Chaouki has recently published a review article in the Chemical Engineering Journal. This review addresses the effects of operating temperature and pressure and interparticle forces on the gas-solid fluidization of a wide spectrum of powders that behave like Geldart groups A, B, and D powders at ambient conditions.

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Abstract of the article is provided below:

An in-depth examination of the hydrodynamics of gas-solid fluidized beds at high temperature and pressure is critical for their design and operation owing to the global trend of processing lower quality feedstocks, e.g., high ash content coal, biomass, and waste, in these units. Current knowledge on gas-solid fluidization, though, refers to ambient conditions and the hydrodynamic models based on these conditions by merely changing the gas properties, i.e., its density and viscosity, are generally employed to estimate the overall performance of gas-solid fluidized bed processes under extreme conditions. This strategy, however, overlooks possible modifications induced by the operating conditions on the structure and dynamics of fluidized particles, i.e., the level of interparticle forces. With the development of new processes adopting gas-solid fluidized beds under extreme conditions, a comprehensive review of the experimental and simulation studies of gas-solid fluidization at elevated temperatures and pressures and in the presence of interparticle forces is warranted. This review addresses the effects of temperature, pressure, and interparticle forces on the fluidization characteristics of gas-solid fluidized beds for a wide spectrum of particle systems, ranging from Geldart groups A, B, and D classifications, refer to the fluidization behavior at ambient conditions.

A New Research Article Published on Early Detection of Defluidization in a Bubbling Gas-Solid Fluidized Bed

Jaber Shabanian, Pierre Sauriol, and Jamal Chaouki has recently published a research article in the Chemical Engineering Journal. A novel approach was introduced for the early detection of defluidization conditions in a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed. The new approach benefits from its simplicity, effectiveness, and robustness with respect to the variation of influential operating parameters, i.e., bed temperature, superficial gas velocity, and bed inventory.

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Below you can find the abstract:

This study presents a simple approach for the early detection of agglomeration in a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed. This monitoring approach is based on the simultaneous measurements of local temperatures and the in-bed differential pressure drop from the well-stabilized section of the bed. Defluidization experiments (800–1000oC) showed that when a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed approaches complete defluidization the average in-bed differential pressure drop progressively decreases from a reference value obtained under normal conditions while the temperature difference along the axis, particularly between a temperature reading right above the distributor plate and others at higher levels within the dense bed, simultaneously increases. This novel approach was thus proposed for the concurrent occurrence of these drifts to provide an opportune recognition of the onset of agglomeration in a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed. The results demonstrated that it could effectively detect the defluidization condition minutes to hours before the complete defluidization state depending on the growth rate of agglomeration within the bed. Two pairs of detection thresholds for the timely recognition of agglomeration in bubbling fluidized beds of coarse silica sand particles were introduced according to the observations made in this study. The approach exhibited minimal sensitivity to variations in the superficial gas velocity (±10%), operating temperature (±100oC), and bed inventory (±20%) while both legs of the in-bed differential pressure transducer were well below the splash zone and above the jetting zone formed in the vicinity of the distributor plate.