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Dr. Thomas A. Adams II

Professor

Design of Flexible and Responsive Systems Under Uncertainty | Integrated Community Energy Systems | New Technologies for Sustainable Liquid Fuel Production | Optimization Theory and Algorithms | Semicontinuous Chemical Separation Processes | Sustainable Energy Conversion Processes

tadams@mcmaster.ca | JHE-371

MACC Researcher since May 2010
Department of Chemical Engineering

Research Summary

[2021 Adams Group Research Brochure]

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

This 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





Profile

Dr. Adams joined the faculty in 2010. His interests lie in novel processes and technologies for sustainable energy conversion, solid oxide fuel cells, polygeneration, biofuels, and semicontinuous systems.

Education

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)

Publications

Departmental Webpage