Invited Speakers

Prof. Kevin M. Van Geem

Ghent University, Belgium

Biography: Kevin Van Geem (full professor) is member of the Laboratory for Chemical Technology of Ghent University. Thermochemical reaction engineering in general and in particular the transition from fossil to renewable resources are his main research interests. He is a former Fulbright Research Scholar of MIT and directs the Pilot plant for steam cracking and pyrolysis. He is the author of more than hundred scientific publications and has recently started his own spin-off company. He is involved in on-line and off-line analysis of complex petrochemical and biochemical samples using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography. Pyrolysis, detailed kinetic modeling, process, scale-up, modeling, and ant-fouling technology belong to his main expertise.

Prof. Shahab D. Mohaghegh

West Virginia University & Intelligent Solutions, Inc.

Biography: Shahab D. Mohaghegh, a pioneer in the application of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Mining in the Exploration and Production industry, is Professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering at West Virginia University and the president and CEO of Intelligent Solutions, Inc. (ISI). He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering.
Including more than 30 years of research and development in the petroleum engineering application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, he has authored three books (Shale Analytics – Data Driven Reservoir Modeling – Application of Data-Driven Analytics for the Geological Storage of CO2), more than 200 technical papers and carried out more than 60 projects for independents, NOCs and IOCs. He is a SPE Distinguished Lecturer (2007 and 2020) and has been featured four times as the Distinguished Author in SPE’s Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT 2000 and 2005). He is the founder of Petroleum Data-Driven Analytics, SPE’s Technical Section dedicated to AI, machine learning and data mining (2011). He has been honored by the U.S. Secretary of Energy for his technical contribution in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) incident in the Gulf of Mexico (2011) and was a member of U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Technical Advisory Committee on Unconventional Resources in two administrations (2008-2014). He represented the United States in the International Standard Organization (ISO) on Carbon Capture and Storage technical committee (2014-2016).

Prof. Rajender Gupta

University of Alberta, Canada

Biography: Dr Rajender Gupta is a professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta. He is a 1972 graduate from IIT Kharagpur and PhD from the University of Newcastle. He has been researching in the general area of clean coal technologies for well over last 35 years. He has published more than 150 technical and research publications including more than 80 research papers in International journals and is member of the editorial board of a number of international journals and of the technical committee of several international conferences.
Dr Gupta, before coming to University of Alberta, led several research projects at Co-operative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development in Australia at the University of Newcastle on advanced coal characterization, mineral to ash transformation and Performance Prediction of Coal Fired Boilers.
Dr Gupta, currently, has been leading coal research in Canadian Centre of Clean Coal Carbon and Mineral Processing (C5MPT) at the University of Alberta. His current research interests include upgrading of low grade coals by reducing minerals and moisture, coal to liquid, coal/biomass/petcoke/asphaltene utilization, gasification and hot gas clean up, oxy-firing, post-combustion capture and underground coal gasification.

Dr. Nan Zhang

University of Manchester, UK

Biography: Nan Zhang is a senior lecturer in Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester, UK. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University in PR China, completed his PhD in the Department of Process Integration at UMIST. In between, Nan joined Luoyang Petrochemical Engineering Co. of SINOPEC, obtaining extensive industrial experience as a process engineer for refinery process design. In 2000, he became a lecturer at the Centre for Process Integration, UMIST. In 2007, he co-founded Process Integration Limited, as a Director and then later became Vice President. Nan has over 28 years’ experience in the refining and petrochemical industries and holds a technical leadership role in many industrial projects. He has also executed and conducted several industrial and industrially oriented research projects for major international oil and gas companies. The variety of projects cover new designs and retrofit studies and implementation. His main professional specializations include refinery modelling and optimization with molecular management, refinery hydrogen management, heat integration in the process industry, modelling and optimisation for industrial utility systems, emissions reduction, and reliability, availability and maintainability.

Prof. Jean-Michel Lavoie

Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada

Biography: After a B.Sc in chemistry, Dr. JM Lavoie followed his academic training with a MSc and a Ph.D in wood science and technology at Université Laval (Québec) under the supervision of Pr. Tatjana Stevanovic (1997-2005). From 2005 to 2007, he worked as an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Université de Moncton (New-Brunswick). In 2007, he decided to go back to training, joining the team of world-renowned Pr. Esteban Chornet as a postdoctoral fellow at Université de Sherbrooke. He pursued his research work in the field of biomass conversion as PDF for two years before joining the Department as Assistant Professor. From 2009 to 2018, he was Chairholder of the Industrial Research Chair on Cellulosic Ethanol, a Chair closely linked to the biofuel industry in Québec. In 2018, he created the Biomass Technology Laboratory (BTL), a group dedicated to finding solution to waste carbon utilization and reduction of carbon intensity for the industries in Quebec and in Canada. The BTL now has its own infrastructure, fully equipped with a state of the art analytical lab, a machine shop, scale up infrastructure as well as a biological lab (see www.criecb.com). Pr Lavoie and his team supports the R&D initiatives of a vast majority of companies in Quebec, with a team of student and professionals soon reaching 50. His team and him have now published around 100 papers, are involved in 10+ technological transfer and are involved in a all new format of industry-academia collaboration. Pr Lavoie obtained the “Merite Estrien” in 2019 for his interaction with the community and is also representing Canada at the ART-Fuel forum of the European Commission.

Dr. Suresh S. Agrawal

Offsite Management Systems LLC (OMS), Houston, Texas, USA

Biography: Dr. Suresh S. Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Offsite Management Systems LLC (OMS), Houston, Texas, USA. OMS specializes in advanced process control systems and has developed, installed and managed many innovative and technologically advanced automation software products, and integrated solutions for the automation of offsite operations of Chemical, Oil and Gas (COG) industries in countries like India, Mexico, Columbia, USA and Eastern and Western European countries.
He graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. He then obtained master’s and PH.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA.
Dr. Suresh S. Agrawal has 30+ years of experience at senior technical / management positions with international companies and he has successfully managed many advanced refinery process control projects in numerous countries. Dr. Agrawal is a registered professional engineer in the state of Illinois, USA and is a member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Instrumentation Society of America. He has published and presented 30+ papers in international publications and conferences in the areas of advanced process control. He also offers consultancy to a number of refining and process industries worldwide and delivers training seminars in the areas of his expertise.
He was also co-editor and sole author of two chapters in the 811 pages ASTM manual “MNL58- Petroleum Refining and Natural Gas Processing” published in 2013.
He has recently launched eLearning online Academy which offers 200+ audio-video topics with English/Spanish sub-titles for the downstream refining professionals. The academy offers “Pick-N-Choose”, advanced special, Free courses, and structured curriculum for MCOR (manage, Control, Optimize and Reconcile) strategy of the refining operations.

Prof. J. Richard Elliott Jr

The University of Akron, USA

Biography: J. Richard Elliott is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Akron in Ohio. He has taught courses ranging from freshman tools to senior process design as well as thermodynamics at every level. He has worked with the NIST lab in Boulder and ChemStations in Houston. He holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

Prof. Nuno Lapa

Universidade NOVA de Lisboa , Portugal

Biography: NUNO LAPA is Assistant Professor at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT) of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL) since 2004. Since January 2014, he is an Integrated Researcher of the Associated Laboratory for Green Chemistry - Clean Technologies and Processes (LAQV) of REQUIMTE research network, which is the largest Portuguese Chemistry & Chemical Engineering network funded by the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology. He develops is research activities within the “Materials for Adsorption and Catalysis Group” (MAC) of LAQV-REQUIMTE.
NUNO LAPA got his PhD in Environmental Engineering from UNL-FCT in the field of ecocompatibility studies of new materials for civil engineering works. His PhD was developed in the framework of the European project named VALOMAT which was funded by the European Commission (EC) under FP6.
Currently, NUNO LAPA works at the Department of Sciences and Technology of Biomass (DCTB), being responsible for different courses in the Master Programme of Bioenergy, Master Programme in Engineering of Renewable Energies, Doctoral Program in Bioenergy, and Doctoral Programme of Sustainable Chemistry. His mais research topics are carbon materials for energy and environmental applications, biogas and bioH2 and Life Cycle Analysis.

Dr. Joshua D. Moore

Afton Chemical Corporation, USA

Biography: Joshua D. Moore is a R&D Engineering Specialist at Afton Chemical Corporation in Richmond, VA. Joshua completed his Ph.D. under Keith E. Gubbins at North Carolina State University and did postdoctoral work at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory where his research involved developing novel multiscale and coarse-graining models and methods to simulate the dynamic response of microstructured materials at the atomistic, micro-, and mesoscales using computer simulation, molecular modeling, and computational methods, such as atomistic molecular dynamics, coarse-grained molecular dynamics, and dissipative particle dynamics. His research interests also include lubrication modeling, surfactants and self-assembly, adsorption and diffusion on surfaces and in confined and porous materials, including carbon nanotubes, activated carbons, activated alumina and zeolites. Joshua is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Dr. Hilal Ezgi Toraman

Pennsylvania State University, USA

Biography: Hilal Ezgi Toraman, Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Jr. Faculty Fellow, joined the Department of Chemical Engineering and John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at the Penn State University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Fall 2019. Her research is co-funded by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment at the Penn State University. Dr. Toraman has been recently named the Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Jr. Faculty Fellow at the Penn State University for her contributions in teaching, research, and service as a Fuel Science Faculty. Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, Dr. Toraman served as a postdoctoral researcher with the Delaware Energy Institute at the University of Delaware under the guidance of Dion G. Vlachos. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ghent University in 2016 under the guidance of Kevin M. Van Geem and Guy B. Marin (2012-2016). Dr. Toraman’s research was in the field of thermochemical reaction engineering for upgrading complex feedstocks such as biomass and plastic waste. Her PhD was supported by Ghent University Graduate Research Fellowship. She continued her research in experimental and computational investigation of shale gas conversion to fuels and chemicals between 2017 and 2019 in the group of Dion G. Vlachos at the Delaware Energy Institute. Her expertise is reaction kinetics, advanced analytics including comprehensive gas chromatography, detailed fuel characterization, microkinetic modeling, and data science. Her main areas of interest are process development for upgrading of unconventional feedstocks such as shale gas, biomass, and plastic waste through fundamental understanding of the reactions. She has given more than 20 oral/poster presentations and invited talks at national/international conferences and universities and published 11 peer-reviewed articles.

Prof. Herman Potgieter

Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Biography: Herman Potgieter currently holds a joint appointment as a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Department of Natural Sciences and in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. As an experienced materials scientist and trained metallurgist and chemist, Herman has worked in a number of research areas dealing with, amongst others, stainless steels, platinum group metals, cement and cementitious materials, polymers, water treatment, waste management and metals extraction. He specialises in corrosion of stainless steels, extraction of metals from ore and waste sources and in the utilisation of fly ash.
Herman’s career spans time at various organisations in the public (25 years) and private (14 years) industry, such as The Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa, Council for Mineral Technology, Pretoria Portland Cement Co. Ltd., University of Pretoria, University of the Witwatersrand and Tshwane University of Technology. He has contributed to numerous local, national and international conferences and seminars, regularly acts as reviewer for a number of different journals and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers, 3 book chapters, 2 patents, 40 conference papers and a number of popular and technical papers. A total of 11 Ph.D and 39 master’s degree students have successfully completed their research projects under his supervision. Ten postdoctoral researchers have worked with and were supervised by Herman during his academic career.

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