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Faculty - David Ollis

David Ollis photo
bullet Distinguished University Professor

B.S. Chemical Engineering,Caltech (1963)
M.S. Chemical Engineering, Northwestern (1964)
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering,Stanford (1969)
ollis (@ncsu.edu)
919-515-2329 (phone)
919-515-3465 (fax)
Engineering Building I (EB1) - 2016 (office)
bullet Honors & Awards
bullet Publications
bullet Research Website

Focus Areas
Photochemical Engineering. Biochemical Engineering.

Current Projects
Photocatalytic remediation involves the use of light-activated semiconductor oxide catalysts for the treatment and purification of lightly contaminated water and air. Applications for such photocatalysts include organic contaminant mineralization, detoxification, and dehalogenation, oxidation of inorganics such as ammonia, oxidative/reductive removal and recovery of metals, microbial cell killing and viral deactivation for water disinfection, total carbon analyzers, and self-cleaning glass and tile surfaces. Projects underway include fundamental models of photon utilization efficiencies in light-activated semiconductor oxides, enhancement of photocatalyst activity through chemical pretreatments and periodic regenerations, and transient kinetic model development for deactivation and surface inventory effects.

Both (photo)chemical and biological oxidation are applicable to treatment, remediation and purification of contaminated water and air streams. For recalcitrant contaminants, the least costly treatment schemes may involve an integration of both oxidation technologies. Example application procedures include: (1) use of (photo)chemical oxidation to attack and partially oxidize non-biodegradable water contaminants, then feed the biodegradable intermediates to a bioreactor; (2) air strip volatile, non-biodegradable contaminants from water into an air stream which is then (photo)chemically treated; and (3) treat a multiply contaminated air stream via biofiltration (biodegradables removal) followed by (photo)catalytic removal of recalcitrants. We are creating reaction kinetic models and reactor designs from which the approporiate integrated sequences may be selected and sized.

Biofiltration has typically involved the use of mixed microbial communities on natural supports such as soil or peat moss which serve as fixed oxidation beds for air deodorization and purification. The typical one-meter bed depths result in substantial pressure drops, even at characteristic low flow rates, providing residence times of 30-60 secs. We are examining use of ceramic and other monolith configurations in order to: (i) achieve lower pressure drops at all velocities; and (ii) avoid bed compaction, pressure drop increase, and performance deterioration associated with use of natural supports. The monolith also allows periodic, uniform nutrient additions, as well as water washes, to uniformly restore desired bed pH when processing acid generating contaminants such as H
2S and mercaptans.

Honors & Awards
bullet 2013 ASEE Chemical Engineering Division Joseph J. Martin Award for Best Paper in the Division (with L. Bullard, M. Cooper, and S. Peretti)
bullet 2008 Honorary Doctorate, Technical University of Crete
bullet 2007 RJ Reynolds Tobacco Award for Excellence in Teachiing, Research, and Extension
bullet 2004 NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars
bullet 2004 UNC Board of Governors Award: Teaching & Scholarship
bullet 2003 NC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching
bullet 2002 Sterling Olmsted Award, Liberal Education Division, ASEE
bullet 2001 International TiO2 Award (J. Adv. Oxidation Technology)
bullet 1999 Sigma Iota Rho