LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas School of Engineering researcher will offer ideas on more efficient, “greener” chemical processes during a lecture next week.
Laurence Weatherley, the Albert P Learned Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, will present “Leading the Charge: Droplets and Interfaces for Intensive Chemical Processing” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Big XII Room of the Kansas Union. The lecture is free and open to the public.
“The chemical industry in the United States contributes about 26 percent of national GDP and is involved in the production of 94 percent of all manufactured goods. Ten percent of all U.S. energy use goes to separation of chemicals by distillation,” Weatherley said. “So one of the major quests for chemical engineers is how can we intensify chemical separation processes and make them more efficient. Are there alternatives to distillation?”
Weatherley’s research focuses on one answer: “process intensification.”
“Process intensification is the development of small, highly efficient methods of processing which take up less space, use smaller amounts of hazardous chemicals and are suited to the application of new ‘green’ chemistry,” he said. “Everyone is familiar with the great improvements in cellphone technology in recent years, where we have seen dramatic reductions in device size accompanied by a huge increase in capability. We are aiming to do the same in chemical and fuels manufacture.”
Weatherley received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge. He has published more than 250 research papers, articles and conference papers and other contributions. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in the United Kingdom and of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand. He also holds a visiting professorship at the Lodz University of Technology, Poland. He was executive co-editor of the Chemical Engineering Journal for 10 years until 2010.
The lecture is part of the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series, which features presentations on KU's four strategic initiative themes by eminent guests and prominent KU talent. Participants in the series meet with the KU community and give a public lecture.