ISE Seminar: Professor John Shaw, University of Alberta

Thermophysical Property Measurement and Prediction for Undistillable Hydrocarbons – getting a handle on the bottom of the oil barrel

Prof. John M. Shaw, Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering, University of Alberta
Time:  Tuesday, October 14, 2:10PM
Location:  Bahen Centre, room 1190

Abstract: Bottom of the barrel hydrocarbon resource fractions defy conventional measurement and prediction protocols and tools, and their properties frequently contrast with notions of what they are “supposed” to be – an extension of the properties of low molar mass hydrocarbons on which, for example, refinery based property models are based. Continued use of conventional characterization, measurement and modeling approaches in academic and industrial research is hampering progress toward basic understanding and the development of optimal processes for their production, transport, refining, and partitioning into products whether by separation or chemical reaction. Mean molar mass and molar mass distribution, and critical properties (Tc, Pc, Vc) cannot be defined for these materials, and quantitative molecular descriptions are currently infeasible. Further, these materials comprise co-existing molecular, nanoscopic, and microscopic phase domains, that cannot be ignored in the determination of thermophysical properties, whether linked to phase behaviour, energy, or transport properties of these materials on their own or in admixtures with other constituents. Phase behaviours can be driven by depletion flocculation, a nanoscopic particulate phenomenon, rather than molecular phenomena; amphoteric liquid crystals present in these materials are not detected using conventional experimental protocols; the materials are non-Newtonian; mutual diffusion with density gradients or in structured media differs from diffusion in the bulk. Incorrect but persistent notions linked to asphaltene solubility, progress arising from current work, and a quick look at promising research directions, all with significant theoretical and experimental research attached but also with the potential for significant industrial impact, are briefly


Bio: John Shaw obtained his B.A.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering and his Ph.D. in MetallurgJohnShawy and Material Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Cana
da, in 1981 and 1985 respectively. In 1985, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto, where he rose to the rank of professor. In 2001, he joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta where he holds the NSERC industrial research chair in petroleum thermodynamics. During his career he has developed expertise in the phase behavior, physiochemical and transport properties of hydrocarbon mixtures from coal liquids, heavy oils and condensate rich reservoir fluids to pure compounds. He has held visiting scientist/professor positions at the Technical University of Delft (Delft, The Netherlands), the Institut Francais du Petrole (Rueil-Malmaison, France), the Syncrude Canada Research Centre (Edmonton, Canada), the ITESM campus of the Technical University of Monterrey (Guadalajara, Mexico), UPPA (Pau, France) and the TOTAL Research Centre (Pau, France). In his current role he develops enabling technologies, and methodologies for measuring and calculating thermophysical properties of hydrocarbons, and for selecting industrial processes related to the hydrocarbon production, transport and refining sectors.

All visitors are welcome!

2014-2015 Hatch Graduate Scholarship for Sustainable Energy Research

We are pleased to announce the 2014/15 recipients of the Hatch Graduate Scholarship for Sustainable Energy Research.

The Hatch Graduate Scholarship funds research and training of world-class researchers and engineers in the fields of recovery and utilization of energy derived sustainably from the sun and other sources; specifically in the areas of power generation from photovoltaic solar cells, wind turbines and hydraulic turbines, systems for the efficient utilization of thermal and electrical energy derived sustainably and energy storage by batteries, pumped hydro, molten salts, compressed air, and other means.   The awards are renewable, conditional on performance, for a cumulative period of up to three years.

 New recipients

Bo Bao MIE
Emman Hammad ECE
Grayson Ingram MSE
David Josey Chem-Eng
Peter Schnurr Chem-Eng
Sami Yamani MIE


Faraz  Arbabi MIE
Firouz Badrkhani Ajaei ECE
Sherry Esfahani MSE
Han Gao MSE
Matt Genovese MSE
Jim Kuo MIE
Fan Lin Chem-Eng
Arthur Montazeri ECE
Mike Ranjram ECE
Kasun Samarasekera ECE
Pirathayini Srikantha ECE
Samiha Tahseen Civil-Eng
Haoran Wu MSE
Jocelyn Zuliani Chem-Eng