Flora Ng

University Professor
Flora Ng

Contact information

Biography summary

Flora Ng is a Chemical Engineering Professor and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo.

Her research focuses on catalyst development for heavy oil upgrading and hydrocarbon conversion. Her team studies the kinetics and mechanism of local hydrogen generation from heavy oil emulsion. Research for water as a medium for hydrocarbon processing is also underway.

Professor Ng’s team has developed a process for the aldol condensation of acetone to diacetone alcohol using catalytic distillation. Catalytic distillation is a novel technology where reaction and separation occur in the same reactor. The group has developed mathematical models that could predict product yield and selectivity.

Reactive distillation (RD) processes are advantageous due to reduced capital costs and energy consumption, and higher reaction rates and selectivity. In conjunction with Dr. Rempel, Dr. Nkosi and her research team, Professor Ng developed a reactive distillation process to convert alkenes from low to high value, which is important for motor fuel and pharmaceutical production. This efficient invention involves depositing the catalyst on the inorganic oxide support structures, which prevents the need for secondary support structures typically associated with RD processes.

Professor Ng is also interested in the recycling of polymeric waste and has demonstrated that polyethylene pyrolysis could produce a premium cetane additive. Her team developed a novel approach to produce a premium diesel fuel (high cetane index and without sulfur) from polyethylene.

Sulfur content in gasoline and environmental concerns have inspired Professor Ng to make gasoline and diesel fuel sulfur-free. Her team pioneered the flow micro-calorimetric technique for determining the apparent heat of adsorption, sorbent capacity and the rate of adsorption.

As a result of her research work, Professor Ng, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, received the 2013 Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award, as well as the 2008 CIC Catalysis Award.

Research interests

  • Catalytic distillation
  • Solid acid catalysis
  • Biodiesel
  • Clean fuel
  • Chemicals
  • Green chemistry and engineering
  • Biochemical & Biomedical
  • Green Reaction Engineering
  • Separation Processes
  • Catalyst Development for Hydrocarbon Processing
  • Heavy Oil and Emulsion Upgrading
  • Production of Ultra Low S Gasoline and Diesel Fuel
  • Recycling of Plastics
  • Nanotechnology


  • 1970, Doctorate, Thesis - Activation of Hydrogen, Olefins, Oxygen and Carbon Mononxide by Rhodium Complexes in Non Aqueous Solvents, University of British Columbia
  • 1968, Master's, MSc, University of British Columbia
  • 1968, Bachelor's, Thesis - Activation of Hydrogen by Rhodium and Iridium Chloro Complexes Containing Sulphide or Arsine Type Ligands, University of British Columbia
  • 1966, Bachelor's, Chemistry, Physics, University of Hong Kong

Selected/recent publications

  • Hua, Yuxi and Guo, Xiaoming and Mao, Dongsen and Lu, Guanzhong and Rempel, Garry L and Ng, Flora TT, Single-step synthesis of dimethyl ether from biomass-derived syngas over CuO-ZnO-MOx (M= Zr, Al, Cr, Ti)/HZSM-5 hybrid catalyst: Effects of MOx, Applied Catalysis A: General, 540, 2017, 68 - 74
  • Iravani, Amir A and Gunda, Kamalakar and Ng, Flora TT, Adsorptive Removal of Refractory Sulphur Compounds by Tantalum Oxide Modified Activated Carbons, AIChE Journal, 2017
  • Mai, Chau TQ and Ng, Flora TT, Effect of Cs+ on the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to higher value sustainable and green chemicals using a supported Ni-HSiW catalyst, Catalysis Today, 291, 2017, 195 - 203
  • Mai, Chau TQ and Ng, Flora TT, Effect of metals on the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to higher value sustainable and green chemicals using a supported HSiW catalyst, Organic Process Research & Development, 20(10), 2016, 1774 - 1780
  • Gaurav, Aashish and Ng, Flora TT and Rempel, Garry L, A new green process for biodiesel production from waste oils via catalytic distillation using a solid acid catalyst--Modeling, economic and environmental analysis, Green Energy & Environment, 1(1), 2016, 62 - 74

Graduate studies