DOE Pulse
  • Number 299  |
  • November 9, 2009

Researcher’s award-winning work garners commercial interest

Evan J. Granite

Evan J. Granite

Evan J. Granite believes in keeping busy, and luckily, his role as a
chemical engineer and research group leader at DOE's National Energy
Technology Laboratory
allows him to do so.  Specifically, he
investigates the best way to remove mercury, arsenic, selenium, and
carbon dioxide from flue and fuel gases in a cost-effective manner,
thereby creating a cleaner environment.

Three of Granite’s award-winning techniques for mercury capture are
in the early stages of commercial development.  They include the Thief
Process, PG Trace Metal Sorbents, and the GP-254 Process. The Thief
Process extracts partially burned coal from a pulverized coal-fired
combustor using a suction pipe, or "thief," and injects the resulting
sorbent into the flue gas to capture the mercury. Nalco-Mobotec
purchased licensing rights in 2005 and began marketing the process in
December 2008. The PG Sorbents, licensed to Johnson Matthey in March
2007 and recipient of the R&D 100 award in 2008, are currently being
successfully demonstrated for the removal of mercury, arsenic, and
selenium from fuel gases at pilot-scale. In 2010, the Canadian
Government is tentatively planning a pilot demonstration of the GP-254
Process, which enhances mercury removal using ultraviolet light.

Granite’s hard work has produced multiple achievements. In 2009 alone, he received the NETL Director’s (Hugh Guthrie) Award for Innovation, followed in November by an R&D 100 Award for the Thief Process. In April, he was the co-chair and co-organizer of the Mercury and Trace Elements Sessions for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National Meeting, and in May, Granite received a National Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer prize. He also was the Technical Program Co-Chair for the September International Pittsburgh Coal Conference.

Granite received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester and completed his postdoctoral research at the Department of Energy. Recognizing the value of encouraging students in the field of science, Granite embraced the role of mentor and currently serves on the PhD thesis committees for students at Stanford and West Virginia University. He also has accepted a voluntary position as an Adjunct Research Associate Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Granite plans to remain just as productive in the future.  His current list of tasks include developing a simple standard test for sorbent capacity for mercury, reviewing a United Nations report on mercury control in developing countries, and formulating strategies for carbon dioxide capture and utilization. Having recently completed a stint as guest editor of the current issue of Main Group Chemistry, Granite will also be guest co-editor of an upcoming issue of Fuel to be published this fall.  He will chair and organize the Mercury and Trace Elements and Carbon Dioxide Utilization Sessions for the AIChE National Meeting in San Antonio, Tex., in March 2010, and will continue to co-chair the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference through 2011.

Submitted by DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory