Particle Technology Forum Recognizes Two Chemical Engineering Alums

Two alumni from the UF Department of Chemical Engineering were recognized at the recent Particle Technology Forum (PTF), which is part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The purpose of the forum is to “promote information exchange, scholarship, research and education in the field of particle technology” 

Kevin Buetttner, Ph.D.

Kevin E. Buettner, Ph.D., (Ph.D. ChE ’18)  

Buettner was awarded the SABIC Young Professional Award for outstanding contributions in experimentation, CFD and DEM modeling, and industrial scale-up of fluid-particle processes. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UF in 2018. After graduating, he joined the ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Co. in a computational role. Currently, he is a lead pilot plant engineer within the Process Innovation and Scale-Up department and oversees a team of over 30 people.   

Since joining the company, he has made significant contributions to the process development and scale-up of “new-to-the-world” process technologies focused on complex fluidization systems. This has required the development and expansion of fluidization modeling capabilities to impact reactor design, and the operation of a new pilot plant to validate the reaction and hydrodynamic models required for novel process scale-up.  

He currently serves as the co-chair for the PTF’s Area 3B, has over 10 peer-reviewed journal publications, and is an active referee for the AIChE Journal, Chemical Engineering Science and the Powder Technology Forum. Buettner recently presented a seminar at UF titled, “An Industrial Perspective on Lab Safety,” where he discussed strategies ExxonMobil uses in building a safety culture to provide information that is relatable and applicable to current students.  

Ray Cocco
Ray Cocco, Ph.D.

Raymond Cocco, Ph.D., (BS ChE ’82)  

Cocco was honored with the Elsevier Lifetime Achievement Award for “his innovative technology development focusing on multiphase fluid dynamics and for his outstanding mentorship and service to Particle Technology Forum.”  

Cocco gave a talk during the forum titled, “Evolution and Prospects of Scale-Up Tools for Fluidized Bed Technology,” that explored the history and future of fluidized bed technology, which has gained attention for its versatility, efficient heat transfer, and ability to move particles in place. He discussed the evolution of tools for scaling up fluidized bed applications, covering advancements and challenges, as well as tracing their expansion into the chemical, energy, pharmaceutical and materials industries. Finally, he examined the development of scale-up methods, from basic to advanced computational and artificial intelligence approaches. 

Cocco earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida in 1982 and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Auburn University in 1989. After graduating, he worked at the Dow Chemical Co. for 17 years, where he led research and development efforts in numerous particle technology platforms. That was followed by 16 years as president and CEO of Particulate Solid Research Inc. (PSRI), an international consortium of companies focused on the advancement of technology in multiphase flows with granular and granular-fluid systems. 

Cocco is currently the president of Particles in Motion LLC, a consulting company that focuses on complex granular-fluid hydrodynamics in commercial applications such as fluidized catalytic cracking, biomass gasification, methane and biomass pyrolysis, chemical looping combustion and chemistry, oxychlorination and more. 

Cocco has served on several advisory and editorial boards, has been active in AIChE, and served as the chairman of the World Congress in Particle Technology VIII in 2018. He has over 80 publications, three book chapters, several patents, numerous invited presentations, and regularly consults with industry, national laboratories and universities.  

By: Ada Lang, ChemE Marketing & Communications Specialist