Information for

Flora Ng

University Professor

Flora NgDegrees

  • BSc, University of Hong Kong
  • MSc, University of British Columbia
  • PhD, University of British Columbia

Research interests

Catalytic distillation

Catalytic Distillation (CD) is a novel green reactor technology which involves catalytic reaction together with simultaneous product separation. This provides improved conversion, product selectivity and catalyst lifetime. In addition, catalytic distillation processes are more energy efficient and hence reduce green house gases. We are developing new catalyst packings and new processes for catalytic distillation. We also developed a three phase rate-based model that can predict both the steady state and dynamic behaviour of a CD process. Such a model could be used for the design of CD processes.

Catalyst development for hydrocarbon processing

Current catalyst development is focussed on two main areas, solid acid/superacid catalysts for alkylation, esterification and aldol condensation, and supported metal complexes for olefin oligomerization. Solid acids, such as supported heteropolyacids and niobic acides, are currently being studied. Kinetics and mechanisms of these reactions are investigated using batch and flow reactors with on-line product analysis. Effect of acidity and surface characteristics of the catalyst on product yield and selectivity are given particular attention.

Heavy oil and emulsion upgrading

We have developed a novel single stage process for upgrading heavy oil emulsions. Our process utilizes a catalyst which breaks the emulsion and generates in situ hydrogen for upgrading. We found that in situ hydrogen is more active than supplied hydrogen. This could make a significant economic improvement in the upgrading of heavy oil emulsions. We are currently optimizing the catalysts and studying the kinetics and mechanisms for upgrading emulsions.

Production of ultra low S gasoline and diesel fuel

We are interested to produce ultra low S gasoline and diesel fuel to meet the new regulation on S content in transportation fuels and for our environmental protection. Such low S fuel is also of importance for fuel cell applications. We are developing nanocatalysts that are effective for the removal of S from refractory S compounds present in the diesel fuel. We are also developing sorbents for selective S removal. Recently we pioneered the use of flow micro-calorimetric technique for determining the apparent heat of adsorption, sorbent capacity and the rate of adsorption. Characterization of the interaction of S compounds with sorbents were also carried out using diffuse reflectance Infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy. Information obtained from the calorimetric and characterization studies will be used to design sorbents for selective S removal.

Recycling of plastics

We are development new processes to produce value added products from waste plastics. The process development work involves reaction engineering and catalyst development. Recently, we developed a novel approach to produce a premium diesel fuel (high cetane index and without sulphur) from polyethylene. Work is in progress to examine the application of this process to other polymeric wastes.

Selected references

  • Y. Xu, Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L. "A Comparison of a Pseudo-homogeneous Non-equilibrium Dynamic Model and a Three Phase Non-equilibrium Dynamic Model for Catalytic Distillation", Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., in press (2005).
  • Y. Xu, Zheng, Y., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., "A Three-Phase Non-Equilibrium Dynamic Model for Catalytic Distillation", Chem. Eng. Sci., in press (2005).
  • D. Seth, A. Sarkar, F.T.T. Ng and G.L. Rempel, "Uncertainties in the Simulation of Catalytic Distillation Process. A Systematic Grid Refinement Study", Chem. Eng. Sci., in press (2005).
  • M. Jiang, F.T.T. Ng, A. Rahman, V. Patel, "Flow calorimetry and thermal gravimetric study of adsorption of thiophenic compounds on NaY zeolite". Thermochimica Acta, in press (2005).
  • Ng, F.T.T., Rahman, A., Ohasi, T. and Jiang, M. "A Study of the Adsorption of Thiophenic Compounds using Flow Calorimetry", Applied Catalysis B, Environmental, 56, 127-136 (2005).
  • O'Keefe, W.K., Jiang, M., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., "Liquid Phase Kinetics for the Hydrogenation of Mesityl Oxide to Methyl Isobutyl Ketone in Acetone over a Pd/Al2O3 Catalyst", Chem Eng. Sci., 60, 4131-4140 (2005).
  • Ng, F.T.T., Te, M., Jiang, M., Sultan, M., Gayraud, P., Smith, W., Hague, M., Watt, R., and Hodge, S. "Avada - A New Green Process for the Production of Ethyl Acetate" Catalysis of Organic Reactions, CRC Press, Chapter 29, (2005) ed. J.R. Sowa.
  • O'Keefe, W., Jiang, M., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., "A Catalytic Distillation Process for the One-Stop Synthesis of Methyl Isobutyl Ketone from Acetone", Catalysis of Organic Reactions. CRC Press, Chapter 30, ed. J.R. Sowa.
  • Zheng, Y., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., "A Comparison of the Pseudo Homogeneous Non-Equilibrium Model and a Three-Phase Non-Equilibrium Model for Catalytic Distillation", Chem. Eng. J. 100, 119-127 (2004).
  • Li, G., Pan, Q., Rempel, G.L., and Ng, F.T.T., (2003), "Effect of Supercritical CO2 on Bulk Hydrogenation of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber Catalyzed by RhCl(Ph3P)3 ", Macromolecular Symposium. 204, 141-149.
  • Zheng, Y., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., (2003) "Process Analysis for the Production of Diacetone Alcohol via Catalytic Distillation", Ind. Eng. Chem Res., 42, 3962-3972.
  • Sato, T., Adschiri, T., Arai, K., Rempel, G.L. and Ng, F.T.T., (2003), "Upgrading of Asphalt with or without Partial Oxidation in Supercritical Water", Fuel, 82, 1231-1239.
  • Zheng, Y., Ng, F.T.T., and Rempel, G.L., (2003), "Modelling of the Catalytic Distillation Process for the Synthesis of Cellulose using a 3-Phase Non-Equilibrium Model", International Journal of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Vol 1, A4.
  • Ng, F.T.T., Zheng, Y. and Rempel G.L., (2002), "Organic Synthesis via Catalytic Distillation", Catalysis of Organic Reactions, Marcel Dekker, p. 615-625.
  • Pan, Q., Rempel, G.L. and Ng, F.T.T., (2002), "Numerical Investigation of Continuous Processes for Catalytic Hydrogenation of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber", Poly. Sci., and Eng., 42, No. 5, 899-910.
  • Rempel, G.L., Li, G.H., Pan, Q. and Ng, F.T.T., (2002), "A "Green" Technique for High Performance Elastomers - Fundamental Investigation for Hydrogenation of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide", Macromolecular Symposia, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, Vol 186, 23-28.
  • Zheng, Y., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L. (2001), "Catalytic Distillation: A Three-phase Non-equilibrium Model for Aldol Condensation", Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 80, 5342-5349.
  • Hill, J.M. and Ng, F.T.T. (2001), "Adsorption of Etioporphyrin and Ni-etioporphyrin on a Fractal Silica", Can. J. Chem., 79, 817-822.
  • Huang, C., Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L. (2000), "Application of Catalytic Distillation for the Aldol Condensation of Acetone: Effect of Mass Transfer and Kinetics on Yield and Selectivity", Chem. Eng. Sci., 55, 5919-5931.
  • Ng, F.T.T. and Milad, I.K. (2000), "Catalytic Desulphurization of Benzothiophene in an Emulsion via In Situ Generated H 2 ", Applied Catalysis, General A, 200, 243-254, a special celebratory issue.
  • Zhuang, Y. and Ng, F.T.T. (2000), "Isobutane/1-butene alkylation on LaNaY catalysts modified by alkali and alkali-earth cations", Applied Catalysis, General A, 190, 137.
  • Liu, C., Ng, F.T.T., (1999), "The Hydrodesulfurization of Dibenzothiophene by using in situ Generated Hydrogen in the Presence of Dispersed Mo Catalysts III. Effects of Catalyst Precursors, H2S, CO and H2O", Cuihua Xueba, 20 (6), 591-596.
  • Liu, C. Ng, F.T.T., Huang, C.C., (1999), "Hydrodesulfurization of Dibenzothiophene by using in situ Generated Hydrogen in the Presence of Dispersed Mo Catalysts IV. Lumped Kinetics", Cuihua Xueba, 20 (6), 597-602.
  • Liu, C., Ng, F.T.T., (1999), "HDS of DBT using in situ Generated H 2 in the Presence of Dispersed Mo Catalysts I. Product Distribution and Reaction Network", Cuihua Xueba, 20 (5), 499-504.
  • Liu, C, Ng. F.T.T., (1999), "HDS of DBT using in situ Generated Hydrogen in the Presence of Dispersed Mo Catalysts II. Comparison between in situ Hydrogen and Molecular H2". Cuihua Xueba, 20 (5), 505-509.
  • Horvat, N. and Ng, F.T.T. (1999), "Tertiary Polymer Recycling: A study of polyethylene thermolysis as a first step to synthetic diesel fuel", Fuel, 78, 459-470.
  • Siewe, C.N. and Ng, F.T.T. (1998) "Hydrodesulfurization of Cold Lake Diesel using Dispersed Catalysts. Influence of Hydroprocessing Medium and Sources of H­2" Energy and Fuel, 12, 598-606.

Chapter in encyclopedia

  • Ng, F.T.T. and Rempel, G.L., "Catalytic Distillation", The Encyclopedia of Catalysis, Vol. 2, I.T. Horvath Editors, John Wiley & Sons, (2003), p. 477-509.
University of Waterloo