About Us
Grad Studies
MACC Researchers
Dr. Thomas A. Adams II
Associate Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
Associate Chair, Graduate

McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario, Canada L8S 4L7

Office: JHE-371
Voice: (905) 525-9140 x 24782
Email: tadams@mcmaster.ca

[view profile on department website]

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University (2003)
B.S. Computer Science, Michigan State University (2003)
Ph.D. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (2008)
Post-Doctoral Associate, Process Systems Engineering Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008-2010).
P.Eng. (Ontario)

Black-box Optimization
New Technologies for Sustainable Liquid Fuel Production
Semicontinuous Chemical Separation Processes
Sustainable Energy Conversion Processes

Research Interests

My primary research interests are in process systems engineering, and particularly in the design, optimization, and control of energy systems.

Sustainable Energy Conversion Technologies and Processes


The goal here is to develop new technologies and processes for converting raw materials to energy products in an environmentally sustainable way. The conversion of coal, biomass, and natural gas to electricity, liquid fuels, and chemical products with reduced atmospheric emissions, reduced pollution, and CO2 capture capability is of particular interest.  Prior work on power generation from coal and natural gas using solid oxide fuel cells to achieve zero atmospheric emissions and 100% CO2 capture has been featured in the popular media including Scientific American, Popular Science, and National Public Radio.  Other areas of interest include polygeneration—the synergistic co-production of electricity and liquid fuels—and biomass energy conversion to biofuels such as biomethanol, biobutanol, and bioDME, at scales large and small.


Semicontinuous Chemical Processes
imageThis research focuses on a novel process intensification technique called Semicontinuous Processing, by which separation steps are combined into one process unit, operating cyclically, but without startup and shutdown stages.  Pioneering efforts into the integration of reaction with semicontinuous separation demonstrated economic superiority of the technique at intermediate production rates compared to traditional batch and continuous methods.  Current work is in the development of a generalized theory of semicontinuous systems to aid in the design of the process, equipment, and control system.




Videos of Semicontinuous Chemical Processes in Action
See full videos with descriptions on our YouTube Channel

MACC Publications

Other Publications

  • Chen Y, Li X, Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Decomposition strategy for the global optimization of flexible energy polygeneration systems. AIChE J. 58:3080-3095 (2012)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Combining coal gasification, natural gas reforming, and solid oxide fuel cells for efficient polygeneration with CO2 capture and sequestration. Fuel Process Technol, 92:2105-2115 (2011)
  • Chen Y, Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Optimal design and operation of flexible energy polygeneration systems. Ind Eng Chem Res, 50:4553-4566 (2011)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Combining coal gasification and natural gas reforming for efficient polygeneration. Fuel Process Technol, 92:639-655 (2011)
  • Chen Y, Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Optimal design and operation of static energy polygeneration systems. Ind Eng Chem Res, 50:5099-5113 (2011)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. Clean coal: A new power generation process with high efficiency, carbon capture and zero emissions. In: 20th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering. Pierucci S, Ferraris GB, eds. Elsevier:Amsterdam, pp991-996 (2010)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. High efficiency power production from coal with carbon capture. AIChE J, 56:12:3120-3136 (2010)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. High-efficiency power production from natural gas with carbon capture. J Power Sources, 195:7:1971-1983, (2010)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Barton PI. A dynamic two-dimensional heterogeneous model for water gas shift reactors. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 34:21:8877-8891 (2009)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Seider WD. Design heuristics for semicontinuous chemical processes. Chem Eng Res Des, 87:3:263-270 (2009)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous reactive extraction and reactive distillation. Chem Eng Res Des, 87:3:245-262 (2009)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous distillation for ethyl lactate production. AIChE J, 54:10:2539-2552 (2008)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Seider WD. Practical optimization of complex chemical processes with tight constraints. Comput Chem Eng, 32:9:2099-2112 (2008)
  • Adams, T. A. II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous distillation with chemical reaction in a middle vessel. Ind Eng Chem Res, 45:5548-5560 (2006)
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