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.

Selected publications + presentations

  • V. M. Whiffen, K. J. Smith and S. K. Straus, “The influence of citric acid on the synthesis and activity of high surface area MoP for the hydrodeoxygenation of 4-methylphenol”, Applied Catalysis A, General 419-420 (2012) pp. 111-125
  • F. Sotoodeh, B.J. Huber and K.J. Smith, “The effect of the N atom on the dehydrogenation of heterocycles used for hydrogen storage” Applied Catalysis A, General 419-420 (2012) pp. 67-7282.
  • S. Goodarznia and K.J. Smith, “The effect of Cu loading on the formation of methyl formate and C2-oxygenates from CH3OH and CO over K- or Cs-promoted Cu-MgO catalysts” J. Molec. Catal. A:Chemical, 353-354 (2012) pp 58-66.
  • 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, “Dehydrogenation Kinetics and Catalysis of Organic Heteroaromatics for Hydrogen Storage”, Int. Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37 (2012) pp 2715 – 2722.
  • S. Jooya Ardakani and Smith, K.J., “A comparative study of ring opening of naphthalene, tetralin and decalin over Mo2C/HY and Pd/HY catalysts”, Applied Catalysis A, General 403 (2011) pp. 36-47.
  • S.F. Zaman and K.J. Smith “Synthesis gas conversion over a Rh-K-MoP/SiO2 catalyst”, Catalysis Today 171 (2011) pp. 266-274.
  • F. Sotoodeh and K.J. Smith, “Structure sensitivity of dodecahydro-N-ethylcarbazole dehydrogenation over Pd catalysts”, J. Catal. 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.
  • S. Goodarznia and K.J. Smith, “Properties of alkali promoted Cu-MgO catalysts and their activity for methanol decomposition and C2-oxygenate formation” J. Molec. Catal. A:Chemical, 320, 1-13 (2010) (Editor’s choice paper).
  • H. Rezaei, X. Liu, S. Jooyaa, K. J. Smith and M. Bricker “A study of Cold Lake Vacuum Residue hydroconversion in batch and semi-batch reactors using dispersed catalysts” Catalysis Today 150, 244-254 (2010).
  • J. Li and K.J. Smith “Methane Decomposition and Catalyst Regeneration in a Cyclic Mode over Supported Co and Ni Catalysts”, Appl. Catal. A: General, 349 116-124. (2008).
  • I. Abu and Smith, K.J., “The Effect of Cobalt on the Hydrodesulfurization of 4,6-Dimethyldibenzothiophene over Bulk MoP and Ni2P Catalysts” J. Catal., 241, 356-366 (2006).
  • C. T. Tye and Smith, K.J., “Catalytic Activity of Exfoliated MoS2 in Hydrodesulfurization, Hydrodenitrogenation and Hydrogenation Reactions” Topics in Catalysis, 37(2-4), 129 – 135 (2006).
  • Zhang, Y. and Smith, K.J, “A kinetic model of CH4 decomposition and filamentous carbon formation on supported Co catalysts”, J. Catal., 231, 354-364, (2005).