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An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)

February 8, 2016

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 10.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Six)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2016

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,365

ISSN 2369-6885

Professor Junye Wang

Abstract

An interview with Professor Junye Wang. He discusses: Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems (2012); Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement (2013); utilization of findings for commercial and industrial applications; Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability (2015); most probable future for commercialization and industrialization of fuel cells in Athabasca, Alberta, and Canada; Theory and practice of flow field designs for fuel cell scaling-up: A critical review (2015); inter-relationship of CAIP Research Chair position, the Athabasca River Basin and Alberta, and the commercialization and industrialization of productions such as fuel cells from the laboratory scale of production; environmental impacts of the oil sands; environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing; and top three energy sources for the next 10, 25, and 100 years.

Keywords: Alberta, Athabasca River Basin, Athabasca University, CAIP Research Chair, commercial, fuel cells, industrial, LinkedIn, oil sands, Professor Junye Wang.

An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)[1],[2],[3],[4] 

*Please see the footnotes throughout the interview, and bibliography and citation style listing after the interview.*

24. In Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems (2012), the paper describes the grazed grassland systems and their role in the global carbon cycle in addition to influence on global climate change based in the identical emissions types from Development and application of a detailed inventory framework for estimating nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture (2011) – namely: nitrous oxide and methane.[5] You, and others, note the uncertainty involved in the parameterisation of process-based, or dynamic, models for grazed grassland systems, which emerges out of the enormous biodiversity of flora and fauna in these grassland systems that are grazed. Insofar as the descriptive models are concerned, the dynamic models work in the United Kingdom, the DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) or the “process-based biogeochemistry model” was used there.[6] What did the paper discover about the observations and its correspondence with the model?

The IPCC inventory methodology (Question 19 and 20) is a practical, first-order approach that uses simple default emission factors (EFs) and addresses the anthropogenic effects on sources and sinks of GHGs using a series of default EFs. However, emissions from livestock depend on a range of factors, such as animal type, their weight and age, proportion of time spent grazing, type of animal housing, type of manure and its storage and application, weather and soil type. The variability of all these control EFs, both in time and space, results in very heterogeneous GHG emissions. To contribute towards more reliable estimates of N2O emissions from grazing systems, the process-based model and its corresponding validation technology in the UK were developed to provide a useful tool for integrating our knowledge of key processes and driving variables to estimate N and C trace gas emissions from grazed pastures.

The model generally captured the timing and intensity of N2O pulses following rainfall, N fertilizer application or grazing events. The results imply that the external parameters used as inputs to run UK-DNDC take into account the main factors dominating variations of N2O emissions from the grazed plots. However, discrepancies exist between the modelled results and observations. For example, the model missed some observed high peaks of N2O emissions, especially the high peaks related to the high fertilizer rates and grazing intensity at the Cae Banadl site. Future improvements in the scientific processes of the model could provide opportunities to reduce the uncertainties in modelling N2O emissions from grazing systems. Understanding the uncertainties or challenges is critically important for us to accurately address questions regarding the impact of land-management practices and future climate changes on GHG emissions.

25. Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement (2013) describes miniature hydro-cyclones based on the advantages for increased “separation precision, low cost, easy operation and high stability,” where the single or multiple mini-hydro-cyclones need linkage in parallel for industrial utilization.[7] Of course, the article describes the great difficulty in the development of parallel single and multiple miniature hydro-cyclones for industrial application. The paper provides a general mathematical model for these parallel miniature hydro-cyclones known as the UU–type parallel mini-hydro-cyclone group.[8] What did the results of the research show about the parallelization of the UU-type?

Hydrocyclone separation technology has been widely applied in petroleum refining, petrochemical industry, coal liquefaction, coal separation, natural gas purification, methanol-to-olefin conversion, mineral processing, textile and pulp, and other environmental industries. Miniature hydrocyclones have received increasing attention due to their advantages of higher separation precision, low cost, easy operation, and high stability. However, because of small treatment capacity of a single mini-hydrocyclone, numerous mini-hydrocyclones need to be connected in parallel to meet the requirements of industrial scale treatments. Such a system of numerous mini-hydrocyclones in parallel connection can meet the requirement of large scale of industrial applications and at the same time achieve its maximum efficiency of separation. This is another example of repeated units that the performance of a successful hydrocyclone is repeated by all other hydrocyclones in the system. Under the ideal operating conditions, every mini-hydrocyclone separation efficiency is similar as other hydrocyclones and the efficiency of the system is the highest. This paper extended the theory of flow distribution in manifolds into the more complex system of parallel miniature hydro-cyclones known as the UU–type parallel mini-hydro-cyclone group. The results demonstrate the capability of the present model to improve the separation efficiency and to meet treatment capacity for large-scale industrial applications.

26. How might this become utilized for commercial and industrial applications?[9]

The UU-type hydrocyclone group has been used successfully for many fields, such as wastewater treatment of delayed coking, washing soil contaminated by a variety of heavy metals and radioactive contaminants, separation of animal and microbial cells, and the recycling of sewage slurry with alkali and sulfur in many industrial projects in China.

27. Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability (2015) describes the foundation of the fuel cell from 170 years ago in addition to its present status, industrially, as “fledgling,” and the mainstream nature of the technology is, apparently, nil.[10]The article poses some problems with respect to the commercialization and industrialization of fuels cells:

Why has scaling-up of fuel cells failed so often when many researchers have stated their successes in the small scale? Why do fuel cell stacks have lower durability, reliability and robustness than their individual cells? Could investments of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure stimulate advancements in the key issues of durability, reliability and robustness and substantially reduce fuel cell costs?[11]

How did the paper answer each query?

The immediate aim of this paper was to stimulate debate on the open issues of fuel cell technology, and to propose changes for improvement. Unless one understands the challenges of commercialization, there is little chance of meeting them. In this paper, I analyzed and confronted these critical questions to address the challenges of scaling-up technologies and identify key barriers.  Further, root causes for the challenges of durability, reliability and robustness of fuel cells were analyzed.  I elaborated on why durability and reliability of fuel cells are the biggest technical barriers to commercialization rather than establishing hydrogen fueling infrastructures. Future opportunities for the commercialization of fuel cells have been discussed with recommendations for change of priorities. An integrated approach is required for the fuel cell technology to substantially improve the durability and reliability of fuel cells and reduce their costs. I examine options and suggest a procedure for change to ensure that scaling-up targets for durability and reliability are met.

28. What seems like the most probable future for commercialization and industrialization of fuel cells in Athabasca, Alberta, and Canada?

Fuel cell technologies have clear advantages of high efficiency, low emission and low noise over conventional engines, such as internal combustion (IC) engines and gas turbines. High efficiency means a low bill and low emissions. If the reliability and durability of fuel cells are comparable to IC engines or boilers, many end-users will choose the low bill engines even if a little bit of high capital. Particularly, if consider environmental-friendly, more and more end-users will choose the new technologies. Therefore, as a core technology of future engine and energy, fuel cells will play a pivotal role in revolutionizing the way we power our world; offering cleaner, more-efficient alternatives to the IC engine in vehicles and gas turbines or coal fired boilers and steam turbines at distributed power generating stations.

29. Finally, Theory and practice of flow field designs for fuel cell scaling-up: A critical review(2015) demarcates the laboratory and industrial scale fuels cells, akin to some problems involved with the commercialization and industrialization described in the earlier articles, and the scaling upwards of the “throughput, operating lifetime, cost, reliability and efficiency.”[12] How does this article tackle these issues?

As an assembly of repeated units, the maximum power output of a stack should ideally be a linear sum of all cells in the stack and the lifetime, reliability and durability of a stack are determined by its worst individual cell. Although there are various outward appearances of scaling-up failures, such as water, heat and material issues, the failure of scaling-up is because of poor designs, leading to uneven gas intake of each cell in the stack due to uneven flow distribution. The performance degradation or failure of scaling-up is essentially due to some channels in a cell or some cells in a stack deviating from their design conditions due to an uneven gas intake distribution. As long as uneven flow distribution and pressure drop exceeds its operating windows, there will be a series of deteriorations, leading to an uneven chemical reaction. The uneven chemical reaction is the main cause of uneven water, heat, and current productions. An uneven heat production leads also to a heterogeneous distribution of temperature and thermal stress, an important indicator of duration and life of the cell. This deviation can significantly exceed the capacity of water removal and heat diffusion in a channel or a cell, leading eventually to larger issues, such as flooding, drying, and hotspots. This review addresses two key barriers facing engineers in flow field designs of fuel cells. One is how to find an optimal combination with high performance (high uniformity and low pressure drop) from thousands upon thousands of combinations among configurations, channel and header shapes, and flow conditions (pressure, flow rate, temperature and humidity). Another is to assess how far a fuel cell is from its optimal/given operating conditions and how a flow field design can be improved to meet specific operating ranges. Flow field designs are a strategic solution and provide a major opportunity to improve the durability and reliability of large scale stacks. To this end, remarkable progresses in the theory and tool of flow field designs have been achieved to establish a direct and explicit relationship of configurations, structures, flow conditions and performance that can be used to evaluate different design alternatives regarding the various structural and flow conditions with respect to performance and predictive capability. All these studies demonstrate the possibility of designs for fuel cell configurations to achieve an optimal performance, reliability, and durability of fuel cell scaling-up in terms of good flow distribution, low pressure drop and transient response through the four characteristic parameters.

30. What appears to inter-relate the CAIP Research Chair position, the Athabasca River Basin and Alberta, and the commercialization and industrialization of productions such as fuel cells from the laboratory scale of production?

A river basin such as the Athabasca River Basin (ARB) is a complex system which consists of terrestrial and aquatic systems. All processes of physics, chemistry, biology and society interact at different scales but such a system is artificially separated into different components according to their disciplines. This artificial separation is not due to the essence of the system but the limitation of our knowledge and understanding. In fact, a river basin has no clear boundaries of different disciplines. It is clear that such an analysis of the real system requires the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and integration. However, it is unclear which discipline should be included or which discipline could definitely not be related to the complex system. This may be called their scientific identity crisis. Knowledge from other disciplines may make an important contribution to a river basin research. As you may know, engineering has provided research instruments and equipment for the development of many disciplines, such as chemistry, biology and society. Fuel cells are a type of energy devices but they can be developed for a specific instrumentation. Here, the biogeochemical processes in soil architecture are at the micro-scale. Soil pores permit the coexistence of air, chemicals such as nutrients, and water essential to soil microbial activities. Pore and channel structures determine how easily microbes can extract water and nutrients, and the rate of diffusion of nutrients and water into and out of the soil architecture. However, it is difficult to measure the pore-scale processes in the below ground using the conventional laboratory and field experiments because that requires very high resolution. Therefore, a specially designed microreactor has potentials to enable systematical tests for complex interactions of microbial and nutrients in porous media. For example, microbial fuel cells are commonly used for wastewater treatment or biosensors. Fuel cells are a special type of microreactor. Their theory can be fundamental to design special microreactors or microbial fuel cells for measurement of pore scale processes. This technology may deepen our understanding of soil processes; findings and knowledge at the micro-scale will be used to develop and improve the large-scale CAIP modelling framework of integrated terrestrial and aquatic systems. The goals and the evolution of this CAIP program have led to a growing integration of our research with that which is being undertaken by other researchers, while at the same time providing a stimulus for, and a new perspective on, the work on current issues in watershed management which is being carried out in the program.

31. What remain the environmental impacts of the oil sands?

Extraction of oil and gas from oil sands, are often associated with industrial processes.  Wastewater and tailings can be generated in large quantities that contain constituents that are potentially harmful to human health and the environment. Cumulative effects can last hundreds of years if without appreciate remediation and reclamation.

32. What remain the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing?

Development of hydraulic fracking, from seismic and core hole exploration, production well pads, roads and pipelines, can create significant disturbance to the forest and grassland, which can negatively impact biodiversity of animals and plants. A growing number of active wells and inactive and abandoned wells are incurring significant environmental impacts because of the potential dangers of well leaching and spill from flow-back, such as contamination of groundwater, methane pollution and its impact on climate change and air pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals, blowouts due to gas explosion, waste disposal and large volume water use in water-deficient regions. This potentially harmful wastewater and gas creates a need for appropriate wastewater management infrastructure and practices. There are also major knowledge gaps in how the flow-back and leaching pollutants will degrade and diffuse through the biogeochemical and hydrological processes above and below ground once they are inputted to a site or a watershed.

33. What seem like the top three energy sources for the next 10, 25, and 100 years?

In the next 10 years, fossil and nuclear energy will still be dominant. In next 25 years, renewable energy will increase gradually their share with fossil and nuclear energy. Finally, renewable energy will replace fossil and nuclear energy in the future.

Thank you for your time, Professor Wang.

Bibliography

  1. Huang, C., Wang, J., Wang, J., Chen, C., & Wang, H. (2013). Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement.Separation & Purification Technology103139-150. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2012.10.030
  2. Junye, W., & Geoffrey H., P. (2009). Flow simulation in a complex fluidics using three turbulence models and unstructured grids.International Journal Of Numerical Methods For Heat & Fluid Flow19(3/4), 484-500.
  3. LinkedIn. (2015). LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/.
  4. Wang, J. (2015). Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability.Energy80509-521. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2014.12.007.
  5. Wang, J. (2011). Theory of flow distribution in manifolds.Chemical Engineering Journal168(3), 1331-1345. doi:10.1016/j.cej.2011.02.050
  6. Wang, J., Cardenas, L. M., Misselbrook, T. H., & Gilhespy, S. (2011). Development and application of a detailed inventory framework for estimating nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture.Atmospheric Environment45(7), 1454-1463. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.12.014
  7. Wang, J., Cardenas, L. M., Misselbrook, T. H., Cuttle, S., Thorman, R. E., & Li, C. (2012). Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems.Environmental Pollution162223-233. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.11.027
  8. Wang, J., & Wang, H. (2012). Discrete approach for flow field designs of parallel channel configurations in fuel cells.International Journal Of Hydrogen Energy37(14), 10881-10897. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.04.034
  9. Wang, J., Zhang, X., Bengough, A. G., & Crawford, J. W. (2005). Domain-decomposition method for parallel lattice Boltzmann simulation of incompressible flow in porous media.Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, And Soft Matter Physics72(1 Pt 2), 016706.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor and CAIP Chair, Science and Technology, Athabasca University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

[3] Ph.D. (1993 – 1996), Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology; M.Sc. (1986 – 1989), Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Harbin Shipbuilding Engineering Institute.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Professor Junye Wang.

[5] Please see Wang, J., Cardenas, L. M., Misselbrook, T. H., Cuttle, S., Thorman, R. E., & Li, C. (2012). Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems. Environmental Pollution162223-233. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.11.027

[6] Please see Wang, J., Cardenas, L. M., Misselbrook, T. H., Cuttle, S., Thorman, R. E., & Li, C. (2012). Modelling nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland systems. Environmental Pollution162223-233. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.11.027

[7] Please see Huang, C., Wang, J., Wang, J., Chen, C., & Wang, H. (2013). Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement. Separation & Purification Technology103139-150. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2012.10.030

[8] Please see Huang, C., Wang, J., Wang, J., Chen, C., & Wang, H. (2013). Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement. Separation & Purification Technology103139-150. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2012.10.030

[9] Please see Huang, C., Wang, J., Wang, J., Chen, C., & Wang, H. (2013). Pressure drop and flow distribution in a mini-hydrocyclone group: UU-type parallel arrangement. Separation & Purification Technology103139-150. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2012.10.030

[10] Please see Wang, J. (2015). Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability. Energy80509-521. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2014.12.007.

[11] Please see Wang, J. (2015). Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability. Energy80509-521. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2014.12.007.

[12] Please see Wang, J. (2015). Theory and practice of flow field designs for fuel cell scaling-up: A critical review. Applied Energy,157: 640-663. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.01.032

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Online]. February 2016; 10(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, February 8). An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three). Retrieved from https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A, February. 2016. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A.https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A (February 2016). https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 10.A. Available from: <https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 10.A., https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 10.A (2016):February. 2016. Web. <https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Junye Wang (Part Three) [Internet]. (2016, February); 10(A). Available from: https://in-sightjournal.com/2016/02/08/an-interview-with-professor-junye-wang-part-three/.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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