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Dr. Thomas Adams

Department of Chemical Engineering

green energy conversion; semicontinuous systems; process design; modeling; simulation and optimization
Areas of Specialization:  
Research Clusters:  
JHE 371
+1 905.525.9140 x 24782


Adams Group 2019 Research Brochure

My primary research interests are in process systems engineering, and particularly in the design, optimization, and control of energy systems.

Sustainable Energy Conversion Technologies and Processes

""The goal here is to develop new technologies and processes for converting raw materials to energy products in an environmentally sustainable way. The conversion of coal, biomass, and natural gas to electricity, liquid fuels, and chemical products with reduced atmospheric emissions, reduced pollution, and CO2 capture capability is of particular interest. Prior work on power generation from coal and natural gas using solid oxide fuel cells to achieve zero atmospheric emissions and 100% CO2 capture has been featured in the popular media including Scientific American, Popular Science, and National Public Radio. Other areas of interest include polygeneration—the synergistic co-production of electricity and liquid fuels—and biomass energy conversion to biofuels such as biomethanol, biobutanol, and bioDME, at scales large and small.

Semicontinuous Chemical Processes
""This research focuses on a novel process intensification technique called Semicontinuous Processing, by which separation steps are combined into one process unit, operating cyclically, but without startup and shutdown stages. Pioneering efforts into the integration of reaction with semicontinuous separation demonstrated economic superiority of the technique at intermediate production rates compared to traditional batch and continuous methods. Current work is in the development of a generalized theory of semicontinuous systems to aid in the design of the process, equipment, and control system.

Videos of Semicontinuous Chemical Processes in Action
See full videos with descriptions on our YouTube Channel.

See full and updated list with links to publications on the researcher’s MACC page.




Books / Book Chapters

  1. Adams TA II. Learn Aspen Plus in 24 Hours. McGraw-HillISBN 978-1-260-11645-8 (2017)
  2. Adams TA IISalkuyeh Khojestah YNease J. “Processes and Simulations for Solvent-based CO2Capture and Syngas Cleanup”, in Reactor and Process Design in Sustainable Energy Technology, Chapter 6 (p163-231), ed: Fan Shi. Elsevier: Amsterdam, ISBN 978-0-444-59566-9 (2014).
  3. Nathanson RB, Adams TA II, Seider WD, “Aspen Icarus Process Evaluator (IPE): Equipment Sizing and Costing Using Aspen Plus to Initiate Evaluation”, May 2008; online textbook section in Product & Process Design Principles, by Seider WD, Seider JD, Lewin DR, and Widago S, 3rd Ed, John Wiley (2008).

Journal Articles

  1. Martín M, Adams TA II. Future directions in process and product synthesis and design.  Chem. Eng., in press, DOI:10.1016/j.compchemeng.2019.06.022 (2019)
  2. Nease JAdams TA II. BLACKOUT: Teaching Students about the Power Grid through Experiential Workshops and Video Gaming. Chemical Engineering Education53:3:167-177 (2019).
  3. Hoseinzade LAdams TA II. Techno-economic and environmental analyses of a novel, sustainable process for production of liquid fuels. Applied Energy 236:850-866 (2019). LAPSE:2019.0609
  4. Subramanian ASR, Truls Gundersen, Adams TA II. Modeling and simulation of energy systems: A Review. Processes6:12:238 (2018).
  5. Madabhushi PAdams TA II. Side stream control in semicontinuous distillation. Comput Chem Eng119:450-464 (2018). LAPSE:2018.0738
  6. Nezammahalleh H, Adams TA II,Ghanati F, Nosrati M, Shojaosadati SA. Techno-economic and environmental assessment of conceptually designed in situ lipid extraction process from microalgae. Algal Res 35:547-560 (2018).
  7. Deng LAdams TA II. Optimization of coke oven gas desulfurization and combined cycle power plant electricity generation. Ind Eng Chem Res, 57:38:12816-12828 (2018). LAPSE:2018.0443
  8. Okeke IJAdams TA II. Combining petroleum coke and natural gas for efficient liquid fuels production. Energy 163:426-442 (2018). LAPSE:2018.0439
  9. Scott JAAdams TA II.Biomass-gas-and-nuclear-to-liquids (BGNTL) processes Part I: Model development and simulation. Canadian J Chem Eng 96:1853-1871 (2018). LAPSE:2018.0393. Canadian J Chem Eng Lectureship Award Publication
  10. Hoseinzade LAdams TA II. Dynamic modeling of integrated mixed reforming and carbonless heat systems. Ind Eng Chem Res 57:17:6013-6023 (2018). Most Influential Researchers of 2018 Award Publication
  11. Adams TA IIThatho TLe Feuvre MC, Swartz CLE. The optimal design of a distillation system for the flexible polygeneration of dimethyl ether and methanol under uncertainty. Frontiers Energy Res 6:41 (2018). LAPSE:2018.0128
  12. Lai HAdams TA II. A direct steam generation concentrated solar power plant with decalin/naphthalene thermochemical storage system. Chem Eng Res Des 131:584-599 (2018). LAPSE: 2018.0131
  13. Dalle Ave GAdams TA II. Techno-economic comparison of acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation using various extractants. Energy Conversion Manage 156:288-300 (2018).
  14. Hoseinzade LAdams TA II. Modeling and simulation of an integrated steam reforming and nuclear heat system. Int J Hydrogen Energy, 42:25048-25062 (2017). LAPSE:2018.0133
  15. Adams TA IIHoseinzade LMadabhushi PMOkeke IJ. Comparison of CO2capture approaches for fossil-based power generation: Review and meta-study. Processes 5:44 (2017). LAPSE:2018.0134
  16. Ballinger SAdams TA II. Space-constrained purification of dimethyl ether through process intensification using semicontinuous dividing wall columns. Comput Chem Eng 105:197-211 (2017). LAPSE:2018.0135
  17. Ghouse J, Seepersad D, Adams TA II. Dynamic analysis and open-loop start-up of an integrated radiant syngas cooler and steam methane reformer. AIChE J 63:1602-1619(2017).
  18. Harun NF, Tucker D, Adams TA II. Open Loop and Closed Loop Performance of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Turbine Hybrid Systems during Fuel Composition Changes. J Eng Gas Turbines Power139:061702 (2017).
  19. Okoli CAdams TA II. Design and assessment of advanced thermochemical plants for second generation biobutanol production considering mixed alcohols synthesis kinetics. Ind Eng Chem Res56:1543-1558 (2017).
  20. Meidanshahi V, Corbett B, Adams TA II, Mhaskar P. Subspace Model Identification and Model Predictive Control Based Cost Analysis of a Semicontinuous Distillation Process. Comput Chem Eng 103:39-57 (2017).
  21. Harun NF, Tucker D, Adams TA II.Technical challenges in operating an SOFC in fuel flexible gas turbine hybrid systems: Coupling effects of cathode air mass flow. Applied Energy190:852-867 (2017). LAPSE:2018.0140
  22. Hoseinzade LAdams TA II. Supply chain optimization of flare-gas-to-butanol processes in Alberta. Canadian J Chem Eng94:2336-2354 (2016).
  23. Nease J, Monteiro N, Adams TA II. Application of a two-level rolling horizon optimization scheme to a solid-oxide fuel cell and compressed air energy storage plant for the optimal supply of zero-emissions peaking power. Comp Chem Eng 94:235-249 (2016).
  24. Nezammahalleh H, Ghanati F, Adams TA II, Nosrati M, Shojaosadati SA. Effect of moderate static electric field on the growth and metabolism of Chlorella vulgaris. Bioresource Technol218:700-711 (2016).
  25. Okoli CAdams TA II, Brigljević BLiu JJDesign and economic analysis of a macroalgae-to-butanol process via a thermochemical route. Energy Convers Manage123:410-422 (2016).
  26. Meidanshahi VAdams TA II. Integrated Design and Control of Semicontinuous Distillation Systems Utilizing Mixed Integer Dynamic Optimization. Comp Chem Eng89:172-183 (2016).
  27. Harun NF, Tucker D, Adams TA II. Impact of Fuel Composition Transients on SOFC Performance in Gas Turbine Hybrid Systems. Applied Energy164:446-461 (2016)
  28. Wijesekera KNAdams TA II. Semicontinuous distillation of quintenary and N-ary mixtures. Ind Eng Chem Res 54:12877-12890(2015)
  29. Adams TA II, Ghouse JH. Polygeneration of fuels and chemicals. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 10:87-93 (2015).
  30. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. Integrated petroleum coke and natural gas polygeneration process with zero carbon emissions. Energy 91:479-490 (2015).
  31. Seepersad D,Ghouse JH, Adams TA IIDynamic Simulation and Control of an Integrated Gasifier/Reformer System. Part I: Agile Case Design and Control. Chem Eng Res Des, 100:481-496 (2015).
  32. Seepersad DGhouse JH,Adams TA IIDynamic Simulation and Control of an Integrated Gasifier/Reformer System. Part II: Discrete and Model Predictive Control. Chem Eng Res Des, 100:497-508 (2015).
  33. Adams TA, II. Future opportunities and challenges in the design of new energy conversion systems. Comp Chem Eng, 81:94-103 (2015).
  34. Okoli CAdams TA II. Design of Dividing Wall Columns for butanol recovery in a thermochemical biomass to butanol process. Chem Eng Processing: Process Intensification, 95:302-316(2015)
  35. Ghouse JHSeepersad DAdams TA II. Modelling, simulation, and design of an integrated radiant syngas cooler and steam methane reformer for use with coal gasification. Fuel Processing Technology, 138:378-389(2015)
  36. Nease JAdams TA II. Life Cycle Analyses of Bulk-Scale Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Plants and Comparisons to the Natural Gas Combined Cycle. Canadian J Chem Eng, 93:1349-1363(2015).
  37. Wijesekera KN, Adams TA II. Semicontinuous distillation of quaternary mixtures using one distillation column and two integrated middle vessels. Ind Eng Chem Res 54:5294-5306(2015). Chosen by editor for special virtual issue in 2016 on Process Intensification.
  38. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. Co-production of olefins, fuels, and electricity from conventional pipeline gas and shale gas with near-zero CO2emissions; Part I: Process development and technical performance. Energies, 8:3739-3761 (2015)
  39. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. Co-production of olefins, fuels, and electricity from conventional pipeline gas and shale gas with near-zero CO2emissions; Part II: Economic performance. Energies, 8:3762-3774 (2015)
  40. Nease JAdams TA II.Comparative Life Cycle Analyses of Bulk-Scale Coal-Fueled Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Plants. Applied Energy, 150:161-175 (2015).
  41. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. A novel polygeneration process to co-produce ethylene and electricity from shale gas with zero CO2emissions via methane oxidative coupling. Energy Convers Manage 92:406-420 (2015)
  42. Meidanshahi VAdams TA II. A new process for ternary separations: Semicontinuous distillation without a middle vessel. Chem Eng Res Design, 93:100-112 (2015).
  43. Harun NF, Tucker D, Adams TA II.Fuel composition transients in fuel cell turbine hybrid for polygeneration applications. J Fuel Cell Science Technol, 11:061001 (2014).
  44. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. A new power, methanol, and DME polygeneration process using integrated chemical looping systems. Energy Convers Manage88:411-425 (2014).
  45. Okoli CAdams TA II. Design and economic analysis of a thermochemical lignocellulosic biomass to butanol process. Ind Eng Chem Res, 53:11427-11441(2014).
  46. Nease JAdams TA II. Application of rolling-Horizon Optimization to an Integrated Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell and Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant for Zero-Emissions Peaking Power Under Uncertainty. Comp Chem Eng 64:203-219 (2014)
  47. Pascall AAdams TA II.  Semicontinuous separation of bio-dimethyl ether from a vapor-liquid mixture. Ind Eng Chem Res, 53:5081-5102 (2014).
  48. Nease JAdams TA II. Coal-fuelled systems for peaking power with 100% CO2 capture through integration of solid oxide fuel cells with compressed air energy storage. J Power Sources, 251:92-107 (2014).
  49. Niesbach A, Adams TA II, Lutze P. Semicontinuous distillation of impurities for the production of butyl acrylate from bio-butanol and bio-acrylic acid. Chem Eng Processing: Process Intensification, 74:165-177(2013) <Fifth most downloaded article from this journal as of March 2015!>
  50. Khojestah Salkuyeh YAdams TA II. Combining coal gasification, natural gas reforming, and external carbonless heat for efficient production of gasoline and diesel with CO2capture and sequestration. Energy Convers Manage, 74:492-504 (2013)
  51. Ghouse JAdams TA II. A multi-scale dynamic two-dimensional heterogeneous model for catalytic steam methane reforming reactors. Int J Hydrogen Energy, 38:9984-9999(2013)
  52. Pascall AAdams TA II.Semicontinuous separation of dimethyl ether (DME) produced from biomass. Canadian J Chem Eng 91:6:1001-1021 (2013)
  53. Nease JAdams TA II. Systems for peaking power with 100% CO2capture by integration of solid oxide fuel cells with compressed air energy storage. J Power Sources, 228:281-293 (2013)
  54. Adams TA IINease J, Tucker D, Barton PI. Energy conversion with solid oxide fuel cell systems: a review of concepts and outlooks for the short and long term.Ind Eng Chem Res,52:3089-3111 (2013)
  55. Adams TA II,Pascall A. Semicontinuous thermal separation systems. Chem Eng Techol, 35:1153-1170 (2012).
  56. Chen Y, Li X, Adams TA II, Barton PI. Decomposition strategy for the global optimization of flexible energy polygeneration systems. AIChE J,58:10:3080-3095 (2012)
  57. Adams TA II,Barton PI. Combining coal gasification, natural gas reforming, and solid oxide fuel cells for efficient polygeneration with CO2 capture and sequestration. Fuel Process Technol, 92:2105-2115 (2011)
  58. Adams TA II,Barton PI. Combining coal gasification and natural gas reforming for efficient polygeneration. Fuel Process Technol, 92:639-655 (2011)
  59. Chen YAdams TA II, Barton PI. Optimal design and operation of flexible energy polygeneration systems. Ind Eng Chem Res, 50:4553-4566 (2011)
  60. Chen YAdams TA II, Barton PI. Optimal design and operation of static energy polygeneration systems. Ind Eng Chem Res, 50:5099-5113 (2011)
  61. Adams TA II, Barton PI. High efficiency power production from coal with carbon capture. AIChE J, 56:12:3120-3136 (2010) TOP 25 CITED PAPER IN 2010
  62. Adams TA II, Barton PI. Re: Support for the high efficiency, carbon separation and internal reforming capabilities of solid oxide fuel cell systems. J Power Sources, 195:15:5152-5153 (2010)
  63. Adams TA II, Barton PI. High-efficiency power production from natural gas with carbon capture. J Power Sources, 195:7:1971-1983 (2010)
  64. Adams TA II, Barton PI. A dynamic two-dimensional heterogeneous model for water gas shift reactors. Int J Hydrogen Energy, 34:21:8877-8891 (2009)
  65. Adams TA II, Seider WD. Design heuristics for semicontinuous chemical processes. Chem Eng Res Des, 87:3:263-270 (2009)
  66. Adams TA II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous reactive extraction and reactive distillation. Chem Eng Res Des, 87:3:245-262 (2009)
  67. Adams TA II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous distillation for ethyl lactate production. AIChE J,54:10:2539-2552 (2008)
  68. Adams TA II, Seider WD. Practical optimization of complex chemical processes with tight constraints. Comp Chem Eng, 32:9:2099-2112 (2008)
  69. Adams TA II, Seider WD. Semicontinuous distillation with chemical reaction in a middle vessel. Ind Eng Chem Res, 45:5548-5560 (2006)



  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University (2003)
  • B.S. Computer Science, Michigan State University (2003)
  • Ph.D. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (2008)
  • Post-Doctoral Associate, Process Systems Engineering Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008-2010)
  • AIChE, CSChE


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