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HEA Experts

DAVE VAHLSING

vahlsing2012David H. Vahlsing has extensive petroleum industry and consulting experience, with emphasis on process design, technology evaluation, project scoping and oversight of project teams.

Dave developed and applied his professional expertise at various locations within Sunoco, Inc and subsidiaries, including the Toledo refinery, the Central Engineering Department, the Toronto headquarters of Suncor and in R&D, and since with HEA and Becht Engineering. He was the Central Engineering expert in HF Alkylation, Isomerization, treating of crude and refinery projects where he also supervised the Process Design and computer support groups. He has evaluated many licensed technologies for use in Sunoco’s refinery and chemicals businesses. He managed the Synfuels and the Technology sections of Sunoco’s R&D that included support to Sunoco’s coal company, tar sand operation in Alberta, Canada and research projects funded by the federal government and by the corporation. He has served as an expert witness for international arbitration cases. Examples of projects include:

  • Third party review of fired heater performance at a very large refinery.
  • Negotiation of licensed technology terms for performance and fees.
  • Expert witness for an oil recovery company during arbitration for breach of contract.
  • Selection of technology for converting olefins to fuels in a Canadian refinery.
  • Evaluation of a Green Technology fit for a client with a unique feedstock.
  • Assisted client in search for feedstock to supplement dwindling supply.
  • Technology (Pyrolysis) ranking of 5 licensor claims for olefins and aromatics production.
  • Project to improve crude oil ship unloading rates to reduce demurrage fees.
  • Analysis of overall refinery energy use related to refining complexity.
  • Evaluation of ethanol economics and performance as a motor fuel additive.
  • On the Sunoco R&D team that invented superacid catalysts now used commercially in butane isomerization.
  • Cost estimates for refinery process units to determine tax basis.
  • Evaluation of contractor bid proposals made to a major client.
  • Field staffing for startup of new process units in overseas locations.
  • Determination of extent of dispersal of an oil spill.
  • Due diligence reviews of shale oil and coal upgrading projects.
  • Valuation of a shutdown oil terminal.
  • Redesign of a batch still for very heavy oil fractionation.
  • Process design and cost estimate for refinery amine system revamp.
  • Review and report on petroleum industry standards for fired heater design.
  • Assisted client in evaluation of refinery for purchase.

Mr. Vahlsing holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has MS degree credits from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed the Industrial Research Institute program for R&D managers. He is a co-inventor of superacid catalyst technology, and has been issued patents in this field. Dave is a member of AIChE and of the American Chemical Society and is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He is a past chair of the Chemical Consultants Network and served as a director for the MIT club of Delaware Valley.

HARRY A. ADAMS

Harry A. Adams worked for BP Oil (formerly The Standard Oil Co. of Ohio)  in R & D for many years and served as  Process Technology Manager for BP's worldwide petroleum coking operations. Following his retirement from BP, he has been a coking consultant serving many clients throughout the USA as well as in Canada, Indonesia, Kuwait, Brazil, India, Switzerland, and Argentina.

  • Successfully supported a client that does coke cutting on a contract basis in resolving a performance dispute between the client’s customer and the client. An excessively hard coke was unacceptably increasing coke cutting time. The issue was quickly resolved.

  • Harry conducts training programs for all experience levels in coking techniques, problem areas, economics, furnace operation, industry standards and safety.

  • He doubled and tripled coking run lengths at several major refineries

  • He outlined procedures on how to improve coking economics by $10MM/year

  • Improved operations markedly by implementing a change from “sluice-way” to “pit” coke cutting

  • Improved antifoam procedures to reduce carryover and save dollars

  • Worked with operators in the field to improve their knowledge of the coking process and improve coke cutting procedures

  • Helped several refineries increase throughput, improve coke quality and process technology

  • Reduced coke drum hot spots that can cause eruptions during cutting

  • He provided design input for upgrading of furnace operations

  • Published the “Delayed Coking” chapter in Introduction to Carbon Technologies, Marsh, Heintz, Reinoso, Alicante; Universidad, 1997.

Mr. Adams graduated from Hiram College, Hiram. OH, with majors in chemistry and math, and is a Chemical Engineering graduate of Cleveland State University. He has held numerous seminars and has given short courses on the subject of coking.

JOHN D. BARRY, PE

JOHN D. BARRY, PE

John D. Barry has over 30 years experience in process design and development in the petroleum refining and chemicals industries. His experience includes full-scale and pilot plant processes, HAZOP analysis, and facility start-up. His skills include P&ID and PFD development, process simulation using ASPEN, HYSIS, and PRO/II, mass and energy balances, equipment sizing, selection, and costing using HTRI, AFT Fathom, and Icarus, hydraulic calculations, physical property and VLE estimation, and relief device sizing and rating.
Petroleum Refining  As Senior Process Engineer (contractual basis) on-site in an east coast refinery, he conducted a detailed study of existing amine systems for gas treatment including P&ID / PFD development; control valve/ relief device sizing; utilities system studies and reports, simulations (using HYSYS and Pro II); heat exchanger ratings (using HTRI).
Crude Unit Turnaround  Valero Paulsboro, NJ. Lead process engineer in a retrofit/upgrade of an existing atmospheric crude unit. Mr. Barry served as primary client contact with the engineering contractor, developed scopes of work, and made P&ID revisions.
FCC Semiworks  Mobil R & D; Paulsboro, NJ. Lead process engineer in the design and construction of semiworks plant using higher operating temperatures (up to 1500°F) and high alloys to crack higher sulfur-content crude feedstocks. Developed P&IDs, PFDs, mechanical design, and overall control strategy.
Water/Hydrocarbon Phase Separation  Sunoco; Marcus Hook, PA: Lead process engineer; provided process and mechanical design for a retrofit project involving the installation of a passive (gravity operation) water/hydrocarbon separator. Developed equipment sizing and mechanical design; revised existing P & IDs.
Petrochemical  Aromatics stream upgrading pilot plant; Mobil R & D; Paulsboro, NJ: Lead process engineer in the design and construction of fixed bed adsorption units for toluene/xylenes disproportionation. Developed P&IDs, PFDs, pressure vessel designs, overall mechanical design and control strategy.
Fine/Specialty Chemicals  Batch polymer process for manufacture of copier and printing toner; debottlenecking an existing agricultural chemicals process; API facility upgrades; conceptual design for a new PTFE plant; numerous distillation simulation projects; titanium dioxide calcinations.
Environmental  Thermal oxidation of waste streams; VOC emission abatement with vent condensers for solvent recovery; hydrogen sulfide scrubber column design

Mr. Barry holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Delaware, and an MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is a registered professional engineer in Delaware and New Jersey and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Chemical Consultants Network. Mr. Barry is a published author, and has a working knowledge of German and French.

JOSEPH C. BELL, PhD

Joseph C. Bell has over ten years experience developing new technologies and transferring results into manufacturing processes. Joe is skilled in researching new products, optimizing and validating process operations, devising solutions to engineering problems and providing customer service. He has led project teams though the entire development cycle beginning with initial concept and lab experiments to engineering design and construction and ultimately to process operation. His experience includes particle technology, processing slurries, solids drying, polymer chemistry developing coatings, supercritical fluid applications, electrochemical processes, surface phenomena designing electrochemical processes, and researching heterogeneous systems.

As a Process Development Team Leader with PPT Research, Inc., Allentown, PA, Mr. Bell:

  • Led the process development and engineering design and construction of a pilot plant to process and recover materials used in the semiconductor and solar cell industries. Achieved all technical and process design objectives in the first run.
  • Evaluated a spray drying technology for processing solar cell industry materials. Modeled the heat transfer in the dryer and tested spray nozzle life on a small lab unit.
  • Specified the technology for processing solar cell materials. Experimentally measured the physical properties and evaluated product performance under processing conditions.
  • Directed commissioning and start up of the solar cell materials plant. Scaled-up the process and designed the equipment, working with the commercial unit vendors. Wrote commissioning plan, supervised the team, trained operating personnel, and reported progress and results to senior management.
  • Managed the operation and technical development of the plant. Led process hazards review (Hazop), overseeing the implementation of all corrective actions. Developed and maintained p iping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) and equipment files and drawings.

As a Senior Product Development Engineer with Quaker Chemical Corp., Conshohocken, PA, Mr. Bell:

  • Installed and commissioned an electrostatic coating system. Redesigned and expanded system to handle full production capacity. Eliminated part rejects and reduced waste disposal over 70%.
  • Developed a supercritical fluid process using a high pressure spray to control particle size and material transfer efficiency. Completed a field trial of the system meeting all customer performance specifications.
  • Formulated products for solubility with supercritical carbon dioxide reducing material usage cost 25% and produced a rapid cure polyurethane compatible with the electrostatic process.
  • Designed processes to reproduce customer operations. Utilized computer controlled machinery and a piezoelectric device to measure cutting force and torque. Reduced product development time by 75%.

Mr. Bell holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

MANOJ V. BHINDE


Senior Technical Advisor – Catalyst Formulation and Performance

Manoj V. Bhinde has over 30 years experience in Refining and Petrochemicals Processes. His experience includes research, development, conceptual process design, licensing, evaluation, technology transfer, due diligence, and intellectual property management. He has an extensive background in refining/chemical processes involving catalysts, adsorbents, trace contaminants, reactors, complex chemical reactions, challenging process conditions, demonstrations at laboratory and pilot plant scale, scale-up, and process economics. He is an expert in Catalysts for and Reaction Engineering of a variety of processes involving Hydrogenation, Oxidation, Alkylation, Isomerization, Hydroprocessing, Condensation and Fluorination reactions. Technology Specialist/Principal Engineer, Sunoco, Inc., Marcus Hook, PA

  • Developed and patented processing options to utilize novel solid acid catalyst for an alkane isomerization process. The work led to further developments and eventual licensing of the technology.
  • Provided design input and 24/7 field support to a pilot unit operating on refinery feed for several months to demonstrate solid superacid catalyst performance and life.
  • Provided technical and economic analyses, and participated in a team involved in licensing novel solid acid catalysts and related process technology. Led the technology transfer activity. Uncovered an important step, missed by a dozen other team members for 2 years in the catalyst preparation process.
  • Sunoco received up-front payments and sales royalties for this technology totaling ~$3MM over past 10 years.
  • Conducted technology assessments and developed manufacturing economics and investment return analyses to support "Due Diligence" efforts for potential business acquisitions and Joint Venture partner selection.
  • Supervised laboratory and pilot scale process development and conceptual process design.
  • Manager of Process Technology and Licensing, Sunoco, Inc., Marcus Hook, PA
  • Managed licensing of and technical support for Sunoco’s phenol process technology to overseas licensees, with annual licensing revenues of $2 MM.
  • Developed commercial performance targets, setting criteria for “go/no go” decisions.
  • Managed interfaces with multiple technology licensors while maintaining appropriate confidentiality relationships concerning complex intellectual properties.
  • Proposed and led technical evaluations of process technology options for acetone recycle process using technology from US and overseas licensors.

Dr. Bhinde holds a B.ChE. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India, and a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE. He is the inventor of 14 U.S. patents (and associated foreign patents) in catalyst compositions and catalytic processes. Dr. Bhinde has presented numerous technical publications and presentations at national meetings.

FREDERICK W. CAMP

Frederick W. Camp, a founding principal of HEA, has technical, operations, and management experience in chemical engineering. A seasoned generalist, Dr. Camp's forte is application of engineering theory and principles to solving practical development and operational problems. His special areas of expertise include process development, design, and scaleup; oil sands extraction and processing; economic analysis; design and analysis of experiments; mathematical modeling; and strategic technology planning.

He joined the R&D Department of Sunoco, Inc. in 1962 and advanced through positions of increasing managerial and technical responsibility over the succeeding 30 years, retiring in 1991. During 1964-5, he was appointed group leader for experimental design and data analysis on field assignment developing the design basis for Sun's pioneering Athabasca Tar Sands hot water extraction process. This $300MM project started up successfully in 1967 and continues as a major commercial producer of synthetic crude oil.

In 1985, he was requested to conduct a technology audit of Suncor's oil sands extraction plant, then producing about 40 thousand barrels per day, at 86% recovery. His recommendations were largely implemented by Suncor's management. Production as of '91 had improved to 60,000 B/D, and recovery to 90%. Currently, Suncor Energy produces about 250,000 B/D and is the second largest producer of synthetic crude oil in Canada. Total syncrude production in Canada now exceeds that of conventional oil.

In April 1991, Dr. Camp was awarded the prestigious Karl A Clark Distinguished Service Award given occasionally by the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Administration (AOSTRA) in recognition of outstanding service in commercialization of the oil sands.

Following the first oil price shock in '73, he recruited and organized an 8-person multi-disciplinary support group which oversaw and managed Sun's participation in joint multi-company synfuels development projects including the $80MM White River Shale Project. He planned, started, and managed a coal research lab in support of Sun's Cordero Mine. The lab produced a coal analytical methods handbook which became the standard for the Powder River Basin, supplementing ASTM methods for sub-bituminous coal.

As the synfuels boom ended, Dr. Camp joined Sun's corporate technology staff, defining the role of technology in support of Sun's strategic business directions. He interacted with senior managers within Sun's line organizations to encourage and facilitate planning for the future technology needs of the business. In addition, he conceived and supported long-range in-house R&D projects one of which led to discovery of Sun's newly patented sulfated Zirconia solid superacid catalyst. Rejoining Sun's R&D Department, he prepared scaleup, process design, and economic analyses to evaluate new processes under development.

Dr. Camp has an AB degree from Columbia college, and a BS from Columbia University, and MSE and PhD degrees from Princeton University, all but the first in chemical Engineering. He has led courses in oil sands technology, and has a number of publications and patents.   He is a member of the American Chemical Society.

GEORGE A. CATANESE, PE

George A. Catanese is skilled in the engineering and installation of rotating equipment. His principal areas of expertise include examining applications and operating conditions, writing specifications, evaluating vendor proposals, witnessing shop tests, preparing operating instructions, and providing assistance during installation and startup. His background also includes project management and trouble shooting/problem solving in the area of machinery.

George joined the Central Engineering Department of Sunoco, Inc., following engineering positions with Rohm & Haas Company, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, and Westinghouse Steam Turbine Division. Selected projects include:

Supervised Mechanical Engineering Group responsible for engineering and installation of rotating equipment for all major projects from 1976 through 1991.    Equipment included compressors, pumps, turbines, gears, rotating disc contactors, turbo-expanders, scraped-surface heat exchangers, HVAC equipment, power plant equipment, and auxiliary equipment such as oil systems and pulsation dampeners.

  • Rotating equipment consultant for 12000 BPD MTBE plant completed in Houston in 1994, and propylene expansion completed in Marcus Hook in 1996.
  • Lead machinery engineer for a grass roots 85000 BPD refinery completed in Puerto Rico in 1972.
  • Project Manager of proposed 25 MW cogeneration facility.

George is past chairman of Sunoco's Mechanical Standards Committee, and past chairman of the API Subcommittee on Mechanical Equipment. His accomplishments on the API Subcommittee (prior to being named Subcommittee Chairman in 1993) include serving as task force chairman for API Standards 611 (General Purpose Steam Turbines), 613 (Special-Purpose Gears), 618 (Reciprocating Compressors), and 672 (Centrifugal Plant & Instrument Air Compressors). George has extensive industry contacts with manufacturers and suppliers of new rotating equipment, as well as counterparts in other oil and chemical companies.

George holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

CHARLES K. GILBERT

Charles K. Gilbert, Associate of HEA, has over 30 years experience in energy generation and usage in the petroleum refining and power generation industries. His experience includes application, operation, maintenance, and design of process industry equipment. Selected positions and accomplishments:

Energy Program Coordinator, Sunoco, Inc.

  • Developed plan to reduce Energy Intensity Index (EII) for Sunoco’s five domestic refineries.
  • Participated in facility energy audits at five refineries and two chemical plants which identified $100MM/year in energy conservation ideas
  • Consulted with refinery Process Engineers on increased fired heater combustion efficiency Identified $10MM/year of potential fuel reduction.

Principal Engineer, El Paso Energy

  • Served as refinery project engineer during design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and operation of $150MM project for replacement of four 900 psig 250Klb/hr power boilers.

Senior Staff Engineer, The Coastal Corporation 

  • Designed, engineered, and executed several refinery energy conservation and profit improvement capital projects.
  • Managed general care of rotating equipment including
  • Centrifugal pumps in hydrocarbon and aqueous service (mechanical seal and coupling retrofits, vibration analysis and correction, lubrication problem-solving)
  • Steam turbines from 5 to 15,000 BHP (vibration analysis, steam path leak correction, governor/control modification)
  • Compressors and fans (vibration analysis and correction)
  • Combustion turbines (GE frame 7 start-up, commissioning, and operational debugging)
  • Managed major maintenance and capital projects in refinery powerplant
  • Supervised all engineering aspects of operation and maintenance of refinery utility generation and distribution systems.

Plant Manager, Eagle Point Cogeneration Partnership 

  • Operated and maintained 225 MW gas fired combined cycle cogeneration power plant, overseeing a 30 person staff. This facility supplied electrical and thermal energy to a 120MBPD petroleum refinery.
  • Managed activities of the Operations Department during completion of construction, testing, start-up, and commissioning of the facility.

Mr. Gilbert holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

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  • David H. Vahlsing has extensive petroleum industry and consulting experience, with emphasis on process design, technology evaluation, project scoping and oversight of project teams. Dave developed and applied his professional expertise at various locations within Sunoco, Inc and subsidiaries, including the Toledo refinery, the Central Engineering Department, the Toronto headquarters of Suncor and in R&D, and since with HEA and Becht Engineering. He was the Central Engineering expert in HF Alkylation, Isomerization, treating of crude and refinery projects where he also supervised the Process Design and computer support groups. He has evaluated many licensed technologies for use in Sunoco’s refinery
    Read More
    • Petro&Lubes
    • ProcessDesign
    • R&DTech
    • Refining&Coke
  • Harry A. Adams worked for BP Oil (formerly The Standard Oil Co. of Ohio)  in R & D for many years and served as  Process Technology Manager for BP's worldwide petroleum coking operations. Following his retirement from BP, he has been a coking consultant serving many clients throughout the USA as well as in Canada, Indonesia, Kuwait, Brazil, India, Switzerland, and Argentina. Successfully supported a client that does coke cutting on a contract basis in resolving a performance dispute between the client’s customer and the client. An excessively hard coke was unacceptably increasing coke cutting time. The issue was quickly
    Read More
    • Petro&Lubes
  • JOHN D. BARRY, PE John D. Barry has over 30 years experience in process design and development in the petroleum refining and chemicals industries. His experience includes full-scale and pilot plant processes, HAZOP analysis, and facility start-up. His skills include P&ID and PFD development, process simulation using ASPEN, HYSIS, and PRO/II, mass and energy balances, equipment sizing, selection, and costing using HTRI, AFT Fathom, and Icarus, hydraulic calculations, physical property and VLE estimation, and relief device sizing and rating. Petroleum Refining  As Senior Process Engineer (contractual basis) on-site in an east coast refinery, he conducted a detailed study of existing amine
    Read More
    • ProcessDesign
    • R&DTech
  • Joseph C. Bell has over ten years experience developing new technologies and transferring results into manufacturing processes. Joe is skilled in researching new products, optimizing and validating process operations, devising solutions to engineering problems and providing customer service. He has led project teams though the entire development cycle beginning with initial concept and lab experiments to engineering design and construction and ultimately to process operation. His experience includes particle technology, processing slurries, solids drying, polymer chemistry developing coatings, supercritical fluid applications, electrochemical processes, surface phenomena designing electrochemical processes, and researching heterogeneous systems. As a Process Development Team Leader with PPT
    Read More
    • Ops&StartUp
    • R&DTech
  • Senior Technical Advisor – Catalyst Formulation and PerformanceManoj V. Bhinde has over 30 years experience in Refining and Petrochemicals Processes. His experience includes research, development, conceptual process design, licensing, evaluation, technology transfer, due diligence, and intellectual property management. He has an extensive background in refining/chemical processes involving catalysts, adsorbents, trace contaminants, reactors, complex chemical reactions, challenging process conditions, demonstrations at laboratory and pilot plant scale, scale-up, and process economics. He is an expert in Catalysts for and Reaction Engineering of a variety of processes involving Hydrogenation, Oxidation, Alkylation, Isomerization, Hydroprocessing, Condensation and Fluorination reactions. Technology Specialist/Principal Engineer, Sunoco, Inc., Marcus Hook, PA Developed and patented processing options to
    Read More
  • Frederick W. Camp, a founding principal of HEA, has technical, operations, and management experience in chemical engineering. A seasoned generalist, Dr. Camp's forte is application of engineering theory and principles to solving practical development and operational problems. His special areas of expertise include process development, design, and scaleup; oil sands extraction and processing; economic analysis; design and analysis of experiments; mathematical modeling; and strategic technology planning. He joined the R&D Department of Sunoco, Inc. in 1962 and advanced through positions of increasing managerial and technical responsibility over the succeeding 30 years, retiring in 1991. During 1964-5, he was appointed group
    Read More
    • Chem&BioFuels
    • Petro&Lubes
    • R&DTech
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