476143 Multiphase and Multiscale Chemical Reaction Engineering for Clean and Sustainable Production of Fuels, Materials, and Chemicals

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Bo Kong, Ames Laboratory-USDOE, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Multiphase and Multiscale Chemical Reaction Engineering for Clean and Sustainable Production of Fuels, Materials, and Chemicals.

Staff Scientist at Ames Lab-US DOE

Research Interests: My research interests reside in the area of chemical reaction engineering, the branch of chemical engineering which deals with the design and optimization of chemical reactors and process, with a keen focus on solving the problems with multiphase and multiscale characters. My current research mainly aims to develop advanced computation models for multiphase flow and multiphase turbulence.  I firmly believe that a judicious balance of theory, experiments and computation can yield critical insight into multiphase flow physics that enables the development of physics-based models that can be predictive and robust to be used to simulate the performance of real industrial reactors, which in turn can lead to more efficient chemical reactor design. Looking forward, I am expecting to apply my research experience and talent to advance both fundamental research and applications of chemical reaction engineering using both experimental and computational tools, with the ultimate goal of designing better chemical reactors and achieving cleaner and more sustainable production of fuels, materials, and chemicals, thus generating broad impact to industries and society. Research Projects:  1.     Polydisperse Gas-Particle Flows Modeling Using Quadrature-Based Moments Method, sponsored by DOE-NETL, PI: Rodney Fox, ISU & Ames Lab 2.     Kinetic Theory Modeling of Turbulent Multiphase Flow, sponsored by DOE-NETL, PI: Rodney Fox, ISU & Ames Lab 3.     Development of a Computational Fluid Dynamic Model for Large-scale Three-phase Stirred-Tank Reactor, sponsored by SABIC, PI: Rodney Fox, ISU 4.     A Computational Fluid Dynamic Model for Multiphase Loop Polymerization Reactor, sponsored by Chevron Phillips Chemical, PI: Rodney Fox, ISU 5.     A Polydispersed Multiphase CFD Model for Veba-Combi-Cracking (VCC) Process, sponsored by BP America, PI: Rodney Fox, ISU 6.     Model Validation for Photosynthetically Active Radiation Transport and Multiphase Flow in Algal Photobioreactors, by sponsored NSF, PI: Dennis Vigil and Micheal Olsen, ISU 7.     A Novel Taylor-Couette Photobioreactor for Energy Efficient Micro-algae Cultivation, sponsored by Conoco-Phillips, PI: Dennis Vigil and Jacqueline Shanks, ISU  

Successful Proposals:  National Science Foundation, CBET-1236676

Ph.D. Dissertation:  Experimental and Computational Study of Turbulent Mixing in a Confined Rectangular Reactor, under supervision of Michael G. Olsen and James C. Hill, ISU

Research Experience: All my research effort in last twelve years has been solely focused on the area of chemical reaction engineering, with a gradual shift from using experimental techniques to computational methods.  During my Ph.D. years, I studied turbulent mixing and reacting flows in liquids using advanced laser-based fluid diagnostic techniques, such as PIV, PLIF, LDV. In liquid medias, Schmidt number is ofter very high, which means mixing and reactions take place in much smaller length scale than hydrodynamics. The multiscale nature makes it very hard to predict in simulations. Thus, I implemented various reaction models and performed large-eddy simulations to test and validate them against my experimental data.  As a postdoc, I worked to develop more energy efficient photobioreactor for microalgae cultivation. Again, I not only designed and conducted various experimental research, but also developed many mathematical models for improving the design of bioreactors. I studied a broad range of issues involved in bioreactors, such as, the gas-liquid hydrodynamics and mass transfer, bubble population balance, photosynthetic active radiation transfer,  algae growth kinetics under different light conditions, and coupling difference processes on a large range of time scale together to predict overall reactor performance. Moreover,  in the last four years, I have had the privilege of closely working with Prof. Rodney Fox, a world-renowned pioneer in the area of developing and utilizing the computational tools in chemical reaction engineering. Together, we have developed many advanced models for gas-solid and gas-liquid reactor systems, such as polydispersed multiphase solvers based on quadrature-based moment method (QBMM), and new multiphase turbulence models. I implemented many of those models in open-sourced software packages and performed many large-scale simulations on high-performance clusters to study complicated multiphase problems and validate our models.  What is more, I also had the opportunities to work on several industrial projects sponsored by major petrochemical companies, BP, SABIC, and Chevron-Phillips, which helped me accumulate some good experiences in working with industries. In summary, I have a solid background in fundamental research in multiphase flow modeling, code development, high-performance simulation,  industrial applications, and experiment design and measurement techniques, which can allow me to work in close collaboration with people with a different background to solve some important and complicated issues related to chemical reaction engineering.

Teaching Interests:

Aside from my research career, I also have extensive teaching experience.  I TAed and guest-lectured undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses at the Iowa State University, duties included lecture undergrads, holding office hours and developing course material. Lastly, I mentored many graduate students and postdocs. My non-traditional background enables me to teach a broad range of undergraduate as well as graduate courses. I am particularly interested in following courses, thermodynamics, transport phenomenon, numerical analysis, process engineering, reactor design, turbulent reacting flow, multiphase flow.

Future Direction:  As faculty, I would like to continue my pursuit in the area of chemical reaction engineering, using both experimental and computational tools.  In particular, there are three areas I am very interested in working on. First, model development. There are many knowledge gap and lacks of good models in the broad area of multiphase systems, such as bubble dynamics and gas-liquid mass transfer, multiphase turbulence, close-packed particle behavior et.al. I can identify the modeling need, design well-thought experiments, come up with better models using experiments or DNS, and eventually test them in my codes. Second, code development. With increasing computational capacity of modern computer technique, such as GPU, it has also been becoming feasible to perform large-scale simulations of industrial scale reactor systems, not only just small size lab/pilot-scale reactors. However, high-quality open-source computer code, which can utilize these new computer techniques, can handle all kinds of physical and chemical processes in a real reactor, and more importantly can integrate all the difference process on multi time and length scale together, is in great need right now. Third, bioreactor and biomedical applications. There are many revolutionary new technologies developed in the area of synthetic biology and biomedical areas. However, there are very few biologists have a solid background in chemical reaction engineering, such as transport phenomenon and the reactor/process design. I can foresee many opportunities for me to work with them to bring their research one step further to commercialization.

Selected Publications:

M. Ramezania, B. Kong, X. Gao, M. G. Olsen and R. D. Vigil, ``Experimental measurement of oxygen mass transfer and bubble size distribution in an air-water multiphase Taylor-Couette vortex bioreactor", Chemical Engineering Journal 270 (2015): 508-518.

X. Gao, B. Kong and R. D. Vigil, ``CFD investigation of bubble effects on Taylor-Couette flow patterns in the weakly turbulent vortex regime", Chemical Engineering Journal, vol. 270 pp. 508-518, 2015.

C. Yuan, B. Kong, A. Passalacqua, and R. O. Fox, ``An extended quadrature-based mass-velocity moment model for polydisperse bubbly flows", The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, vol. 92, no. 12, pp. 2053-2066, 2014.

K. M. Nilsen, B. Kong, R. O. Fox, J. C. Hill, and M. G. Olsen, ``Effect of inlet conditions on the accuracy of large eddy simulations of a turbulent rectangular wake", Chemical Engineering Journal, vol. 250, pp. 175-189, Aug. 2014.

B. Kong and R. D. Vigil, ``Simulation of photosynthetically active radiation distribution in algal photobioreactors using a multidimensional spectral radiation model", Bioresource Technology, vol. 158, pp. 141-148, Apr. 2014.

B. Kong and R. D. Vigil, ``Light-limited continuous culture of Chlorella vulgaris in a Taylor vortex reactor", Environ. Prog. Sustainable Energy, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 884-890, Dec. 2013.

B. Kong, J. V. Shanks, and R. D. Vigil, ``Enhanced algal growth rate in a Taylor vortex reactor", Biotechnology and Bioengineering. vol. 110, no. 8, pp. 2140–2149, Aug. 2013.

B. Kong, M. G. Olsen, R. O. Fox, and J. C. Hill, ``Predictive capability of Large Eddy Simulation for point-wise and spatial turbulence statistics in a confined rectangular jet", Chemical Engineering Science, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 240-256, Feb. 2012.

B. Kong, M. G. Olsen, R. O. Fox, and J. C. Hill, ``Population, characteristics and kinematics of vortices in a confined rectangular jet with a co-flow", Exp Fluids, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 1473-1493, Jun. 2011.

Extended Abstract: File Uploaded