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Our Team


Image of Debangsu. Debangsu Bhattacharyya
Research Associate Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
West Virginia University

Professor Bhattacharyya has been actively involved in the development of the AVESTAR Center at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University (WVU).  His research interests are in steady-state and dynamic simulation, techno-economic optimization, reduced order modeling, advanced process control, state estimation, fault diagnosis, and sensor placement.  He is currently focused on various energy generating and associated processes such as integrated gasification combined cycles (IGCC), sub-critical and super-critical pulverized coal (PC) plants, bio-gasification, pre-combustion and post-combustion CO2 capture, fuel cells (PEMFC and SOFC, in particular), and fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid systems.

Dr. Bhattacharyya received B. E. degree from National Institute of Technology (NIT), Durgapur, India in 1993 and joined a petroleum refinery in India.  He spent more than 11 years in the refinery in various capacities before moving to academia in 2005. He graduated with Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY in 2008 and joined WVU. Professor Bhattacharyya has authored and co-authored over 15 peer reviewed publications and over 40 conference presentations.

Image of Fernando Lima Fernando V. Lima
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
West Virginia University

Dr. Lima joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at West Virginia University in 2013. His AVESTAR research interests are in the areas of process design and optimization, model-based control and state estimation, emerging energy systems and sustainable processes, and smart manufacturing and smart plants. His current research focuses on modeling, optimization and control of membrane reactors for carbon capture and hydrogen production and addresses the integration of these reactors into IGCC plants.

He received his B.S. degree from the University of São Paulo in 2003 and his Ph.D. from Tufts University in 2007, both in Chemical Engineering. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he was a Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lima has authored and co-authored numerous publications and presentations in energy and process systems engineering.


Image of Stephen E. Zitney Stephen E. Zitney
U.S. Department of Energy
National Energy Technology Laboratory

Dr. Stephen E. Zitney has more than 25 years of research and development (R&D) experience in process systems engineering for chemical and energy applications and the environment. At NETL, he currently leads dynamics, control, and optimization research focused on the safe, clean, efficient, and flexible operation of advanced energy systems, with emphasis on power plant cycling and load-following; supercritical CO2-based power cycles under the NETL Advanced Turbines Program; and post-combustion CO2 capture under the DOE’s Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI). Dr. Zitney previously led the planning, development, testing, and deployment of NETL’s award-winning, real-time dynamic simulator and 3D virtual plant for an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) with CO2 capture. He also directed R&D on the award-winning, Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS) software for multiscale integration of process simulation and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Dr. Zitney currently serves as a research advisor for both graduate and post-graduate investigators from regional universities, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. He also serves as Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Trustee of the Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering (CACHE) Corporation, Board Member of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, and Board Member of the Vishwamitra Research Institute. In addition, Dr. Zitney is the recipient of numerous awards including four prestigious R&D100 Awards and seven Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

Before joining NETL in 2004, Dr. Zitney held senior consulting and R&D management positions at Fluent, a leading provider of CFD software, Aspen Technology, a major supplier of process simulation software, and Cray Research, a leading provider of supercomputing tools to the process industries.  He received M.S./Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Image of Eric Liese Eric Liese
National Energy Technology Laboratory

Mr. Liese participated in design review and factory acceptance testing activities on the IGCC dynamic simulator with emphasis on the combined cycle operations. He is currently leading efforts to develop a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) dynamic simulator. His previous research has focused on the steady-state and dynamic modeling of fuel cell and gas turbine hybrid systems, including real-time hardware-in-the-loop simulations.  Mr. Liese received his BS. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University and M.S. degree from West Virginia University in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked at NETL since 1991.

Image of Priyadarshi. Priyadarshi Mahapatra
Research Engineer, 
Global Management & Operations Services Group
URS Corporation

Dr. Mahapatra has five years of research experience in areas of process control, modeling & simulation of process engineering involved systems. Over the years he has gained expertise in dynamic modeling of various Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) process units including coal-gasification technologies, heat-exchanger networks, air-separation, power generation and energy-integrated systems. He has extensive control engineering and design experience including model predictive control (MPC), system identification, dynamic optimization, plantwide control and multiscale systems.

He received Ph.D. degree in Chemical & Biological Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY; an M.Tech. degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India and a B.Tech. degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. He has authored numerous conferences/publications in the areas of dynamic modeling, design and advanced process control of IGCC power plants and its sub-processes. He is an active member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) including the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division.