Dr. Thomas A. Adams II
Thomas Adams
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L7, Canada
Driving directions and map

Office: JHE 371
Voice: +1 (905) 525 9140 extension 24782
email: tadams@mcmaster.ca

green energy conversion, semicontinuous systems, process design, modeling, simulation and optimization
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)
  • AIChE, CSChE

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

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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




Selected Publications [see full and updated list with links to publications on the researcher's MACC page]

  • Adams TA, II. Future opportunities and challenges in the design of new energy conversion systems. Comp Chem Eng, in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.compchemeng.2015.04.029 (2015).
  • Nease J, Adams TA II. Life cycle analyses of bulk-scale solid oxide fuel cell power plants. Canadian J Chem Eng, in press, DOI: 10.1002/cjce.22207 (2015).
  • Ghouse JH, Seepersad D, Adams TA II. Design of an Integrated Gasifier and Steam Methane Reformer for Flexible Polygeneration. Fuel Processing Technology, in press, FUPROC-D-15-00329R1  (2015)
  • Seepersad D, Ghouse JH, Adams TA II. Dynamic Simulation and Control of an Integrated Gasifier/Reformer System. Part I: Agile Case Design and Control. Chem Eng Res Des, in press, doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2015.05.006 (2015).
  •  Seepersad D, Ghouse JH, Adams TA II. Dynamic Simulation and Control of an Integrated Gasifier/Reformer System. Part II: Discrete and Model Predictive Control. Chem Eng Res Des, in press, doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2015.05.007 (2015).
  • Wijesekera KN, Adams TA II. Semicontinuous distillation of quaternary mixtures using one distillation column and two integrated middle vessels. Ind Eng Chem Res, in press, doi: 10.1021/ie504584y (2015).
  • Salkuyeh YK, Adams TA II. Co-production of olefins, fuels, and electricity from conventional pipeline gas and shale gas with near-zero CO2 emissions; Part I: Process development and technical performance. Energies, 8:3739-3761(2015)
  • Salkuyeh YK, Adams TA II. Co-production of olefins, fuels, and electricity from conventional pipeline gas and shale gas with near-zero CO2 emissions; Part II: Economic performance. Energies, 8:3762-3774(2015)
  • Nease J, Adams TA II. Comparative Life Cycle Analyses of Bulk-Scale Coal-Fueled Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Plants. Applied Energy, 150:161-175 (2015).
  • Salkuyeh YK, Adams TA II. A novel polygeneration process to co-produce ethylene and electricity from shale gas with zero CO2 emissions via methane oxidative coupling. Energy Convers Manage 92:406-420(2015)
  • Meidanshahi V, Adams TA II. A new process for ternary separations: Semicontinuous distillation without a middle vessel. Chem Eng Res Design, 93:100-112 (2015).
  • Harun NF, Tucker D, Adams TA II. Fuel composition transients in fuel cell turbine hybrid for polygeneration applications. J Fuel Cell Science Technol, 11:061001 (2014).
  • Salkuyeh YK, Adams TA II. A new power, methanol, and DME polygeneration process using integrated chemical looping systems. Energy Convers Manage 88:411-425 (2014).
  • Okoli C, Adams TA II. Design and economic analysis of a thermochemical lignocellulosic biomass to butanol process. Ind Eng Chem Res, 53:11427-11441(2014).
  • Nease J, Adams TA II. Application of rolling-Horizon Optimization to an Integrated Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell and Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant for Zero-Emissions Peaking Power Under Uncertainty. Comp Chem Eng 64:203-219 (2014)
  • Pascall A, Adams TA II.  Semicontinuous separation of bio-dimethyl ether from a vapor-liquid mixture. Ind Eng Chem Res, 53:5081-5102 (2014).
  • Nease J, Adams TA II. Coal-fuelled systems for peaking power with 100% CO2 capture through integration of solid oxide fuel cells with compressed air energy storage. J Power Sources, 251:92-107 (2014).
  • Niesbach A, Adams TA II, Lutze P. Semicontinuous distillation of impurities for the production of butyl acrylate from bio-butanol and bio-acrylic acid. Chem Eng Processing: Process Intensification, 74:165-177(2013)
  • Salkuyeh YK, Adams TA II. Combining coal gasification, natural gas reforming, and external carbonless heat for efficient production of gasoline and diesel with CO2 capture and sequestration. Energy Convers Manage, 74:492-504(2013)
  • Ghouse J, Adams TA II. A multi-scale dynamic two-dimensional heterogeneous model for catalytic steam methane reforming reactors. Int J Hydrogen Energy, 38:9984-9999(2013) 
  • Pascall A, Adams TA II. Semicontinuous separation of dimethyl ether (DME) produced from biomass. Canadian J Chem Eng 91:6:1001-1021 (2013)
  • Nease J, Adams TA II. Systems for peaking power with 100% CO2 capture by integration of solid oxide fuel cells with compressed air energy storage. J Power Sources, 228:281-293 (2013)
  • Adams TA II, Nease J, Tucker D, Barton PI. Energy conversion with solid oxide fuel cell systems: a review of concepts and outlooks for the short and long term. Ind Eng Chem Res, 52:3089-3111 (2013)
  • Adams TA II, Pascall A. Semicontinuous thermal separation systems. Chem Eng Techol, 35:1153-1170 (2012).
  • Chen Y, Li X, Adams TA II, Barton PI. Decomposition strategy for the global optimization of flexible energy polygeneration systems. AIChE J, 58:10:3080-3095 (2012)
  • Adams TA 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)
  • Adams TA II, Barton PI. Combining coal gasification and natural gas reforming for efficient polygeneration. Fuel Process Technol, 92:639-655 (2011)

Textbook Sections

  • Nathanson RB, Adams TA II, Seider WD, "Aspen Icarus Process Evaluator (IPE): Equipment Sizing and Costing Using Aspen Plus to Initiate Evaluation", May 2008; online textbook section in Product and Process Design Principles, by W.D. Seider, J.D. Seider, D. R. Lewin, and S. Widago, 3rd Ed, John Wiley (2009).

Patents

  •  Adams TA II, Salkuyeh YK, Nease J. “Processes and Simulations for Solvent-based CO2 Capture and Syngas Cleanup”, in Reactor and Process Design in Sustainable Energy Technology, Chapter 6 (p163-231), ed: Fan Shi. Elsevier: Amsterdam, ISBN 978-0-444-59566-9 (2014).

  • Adams TA II, Barton PI. Systems and methods for the separation of carbon dioxide and water. US Patent App 2010/0279181-A1.