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Robert E Hayes, PhD

Associate Chair - Research, Professor


Chemical and Materials Engineering


Current research interests involve the application of finite element computational fluid dynamics techniques to systems involving heat and mass transfer, chemical reactions and porous media.

Research Interests:

  • Modelling of catalytic reactors for catalytic combustion
  • Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions of methane
  • Catalytic destruction of BTEX compounds
  • Automotive catalytic converters
  • Current research projects

Catalytic solutions for the mitigation of fugitive emissions: the oil and gas sector accounts for a significant amount of the greenhouse gases emitted in Canada. Much of these are in the form of fugitive emissions of methane that occur during the development and transportation of oil and natural gas. In this project, reactor technologies are being developed to enable the catalytic combustion of these emissions. Becuase methane has 23 times the GHG potential of carbon dioxide, combustion of the methane results in a net reduction of GHG gases. Furthermore, recovery of otherwise wasted heat can further improve GHG reductions. A significant portion of the work involves computer aided design with experimental verification. This project is supported by NSERC, COURSE, NRCan, New Paradigm Engineering Ltd. and Scott-Can Industries.

Kinetics of the reactions in Catalytic Converters: the automotive catalytic converter is one of the great triumphs of catalytic reaction engineering. For gasoline engines, the standard three way catalyst similtaneously oxidises carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and reduces oxides of nitrogen. The reaction mechanism and kinetics of the oxidation and reduction reactions are very complex. In order to develop reliable models for catalytic converters it is necessary to have a good understanding of the kinetics. The goal of this project is to use a combination of experimental and computational techniques to elucidate the kinetics and to determine to best for of model for their simulation. This work is supported by OMG AG.

Keywords: catalysis, modelling CFD, reaction engineering