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Information for

Peter Douglas

Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies & Professor

Picture of Peter DouglasDegrees

  • BASc, University of Waterloo
  • MASc, University of Waterloo
  • PhD, University of Waterloo

Research interests

My major research area is in the development and application of PSE technology to industrial processes.

Our approach is to work with industry on important practical problems. Our measure of success is whether we can solve a problem that has practical significance and has eluded solution. Over the years, we have worked on joint research projects with several industrial partners. This approach benefits both the industrial and academic sectors. A number of publications have resulted from this work; several are listed below.

Process systems engineering

The major research thrust that has emerged has been the use and integration of knowledge (in all its forms) to design and optimize the operation of processes at several levels of detail. At the highest level, we are developing computer programs to synthesize or invent process flowsheets using knowledge in the form of experience. At a lower level, we are developing methods to synthesize and optimize the design of special processes, for example, CO2 mitigation processes and thermally integrated distillation sequences. This involves a combination of experience, mathematical models and optimization.

My continued research now centres on the development of generalized procedures using available software to integrate the synthesis, simulation, optimization and control functions. For example, we are currently using industrial simulation and optimization systems for incorporating process control considerations at the design stage. Processes that are currently being studied are unit operations such as distillation as well as complete processes involving reaction, separation and recycle.

CO2 capture, storage and mitigation processes

This research focuses on PSE applications of energy utilisation with a goal to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

I am a founding member of Green Energy Research Institute (GERI) at the University of Waterloo. "GERI develops and promotes green energy systems that strive for sustainable environment, social and economic performance. The institute accomplishes its mission through original research to develop and promote technologies for diversified and localised energy systems, clean energy alternatives, sustainable development and energy security".

Current projects involve the techno-economic evaluation of various CO2 mitigation strategies including MEA scrubbing, oxygen (O2)/CO2 recycle combustion, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) and membranes.

Another major project concerns the development of a new generation of computer models for the synthesize of green house gas mitigation systems. Our modelling framework will have the ability to analyze a fleet of power plants and synthesize an optimal fleet-solution.

Our research is supported by a variety of industrial and governmental partners.

Post harvest grain technology

An application of PSE technology to post harvest grain technology has emerged as an interesting and important application. Grain losses due only to inadequate and poor dryer control have been estimated at about 10% world wide. Our research has led to the development of a spin-off company Dantec Corporation and the Dryer Master system for automatic moisture control and energy savings in grain and industrial dryers.

National Science and Technology Development Agency of Thailand

  • National Science and Technology Development Agency of Thailand (NSTDA) and the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining an initiative to promote the training of graduate students.
  • For Thai students wishing to participate in the consortia with the University of Waterloo, there are two basic options:
  1. Support by Thai government scholarships
  2. Support by NSTDA
  • In the case of support by a Thai government scholarship, the student should register as a graduate student at the University of Waterloo. In the case of support by NSTDA, the student may choose to register at a Thai university or at the University of Waterloo depending on the research plan and funding available from NSTDA. In either case the student is encouraged to develop a collaborate research program with a University of Waterloo professor and a Thai university professor.
  • Students interested in participating in this programme may contact Peter Douglas.
  • A Thai student's web-site at the University of Waterloo has been created by Maradee Phongpipatpong, a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Selected references

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo