Kevin Smith


Office: CHBE 223


Research Summary

Catalysis and kinetics focused on residue oil upgrading, natural gas upgrading, methane conversion and syngas conversion


McMaster University, 1983, Ph.D.

University of Natal, 1980, M.Sc.Eng.

University of Natal, 1978, B.Sc.Eng.

Research interests + projects

The aim of our research is to better understand the relationships between heterogeneous catalyst properties, reaction kinetics and reaction mechanisms, so as to assist in the design and development of improved catalysts and catalytic processes. We focus on issues related to the Canadian energy scene. Current research activities include an investigation of hydrogen production by catalytic methane decomposition, synthesis gas conversion to alcohols and hydrocarbons, residue and bio-oil hydroconversion (upgrading) as well as hydrogen storage using heteroaromatic liquids.

Our research approach is based mainly on experimental work. Catalysts are prepared and characterized and experiments are designed to elucidate reaction kinetics and mechanisms. This information is used to build kinetic models that reflect catalyst performance as a function of both the catalyst properties and the process conditions.

Catalyst preparation, characterization and testing is conducted in well equipped laboratories both in CHBE and the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). Facilities include several fixed-bed and stirred tank reactors coupled to GC, GC/MS and quadrupole MS for product analysis. Catalyst characterization facilities include chemisorption, in situ DRIFTS, N2 adsorption/desorption as well as XRD, TEM/HRTEM and XPS.

Awards and honours

Canadian Catalysis Lectureship Award , 2012

CCPE Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education , 2006

EGBC Teaching Award for Excellence in Engineering and Geoscience , 2005

Scholarly and professional activities + affiliations

Fellow, Engineers Canada 2013

Fellow, Chemical Institute of Canada 2004

Full publications link

Selected publications + presentations

S. Shirvani, M.Ghashghaee, Kevin J. Smith “Two-dimensional Nanomaterials in Thermocatalytic Reactions: Transition Metal Dichalcogenides, Metal Phosphorus Trichalcogenides and MXenes, Catalysis Reviews – Sci. Eng., (2021) 1-51.

Wang, H., Liu, S. and Smith, K.J., “Understanding Selectivity Changes during Hydrodesulfurization of Dibenzothiophene on Mo2C/carbon Catalysts”, Journal of Catalysis 369 (2019) 427–439.

S. F. Zaman and K. J. Smith “A Review of Molybdenum Catalysts for Synthesis Gas Conversion to Alcohols: Catalysts, Mechanisms and Kinetics” Catal. Rev.- Sci.Eng., 54(1) (2012) pp41-132.

F. Sotoodeh and K.J. Smith, “Structure sensitivity of dodecahydro-N-ethylcarbazole dehydrogenation over Pd catalysts”, Journal of Catalysis 279 (2011) pp. 36-47.

V. Whiffen and K.J. Smith, “Hydrodeoxygenation of 4-Methylphenol over Unsupported MoP, MoS2 and MoOx Catalysts” Energy and Fuels, 24 (2010) 4728-4737.