Eric Suuberg C.V. Starr Professor of Technology Entrepreneurship, Professor of Engineering

Professor Suuberg has been at Brown since 1981, when he was one of the founding members of Brown's Chemical Engineering program. His research interests have been in the areas of energy and environmental engineering. He has served as Associate Dean of the Faculty (2002-2005), as Chair of the Psychology Department (2004-5) and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Division of Engineering. He is currently Co-Director of the Superfund Basic Research Program, and a co-founder of the COE concentration as well as a co-founder of the new masters Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME). He is a principal editor of the journal Fuel.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

E.M. Suuberg and I. Aarna, "Kinetics of tire derived fuel (TDF) char oxidation and accompanying changes in surface area." Fuel, 88, 179-186, 2009.

R.M. Burgess, M.M. Perron, C.L. Friedman, E.M. Suuberg, K. G. Pennell, M.G. Cantwell, M.C. Pelletier, K.T. Ho, J.R. Serbst, S.A. Ryba. "Evaluation of the Effects of Coal Fly Ash Amendments on the Toxicity of a Contaminated Marine Sediment", Env. Toxicology and Chemistry, 28, 26-35, 2009.

J.L. Goldfarb and E.M. Suuberg "Vapor Pressures and Enthalpies of Sublimation of Ten Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Determined via the Knudsen Effusion Method", Jl. Chem. and Eng. Data, 33, 670-676, 2008.

J.L. Goldfarb and E.M. Suuberg, "The Effects of Halogen Hetero-atoms on the Vapor Pressures and Thermodynamics of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds Measured via the Knudsen Effusion Technique." Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics. 40, 460-466, 2008.

J.L. Goldfarb and E.M. Suuberg. "Vapor Pressures and Thermodynamics of Oxygen-Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Measured via Knudsen Effusion." Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 27, 1244-1249, 2008

E.M. Suuberg and I. Aarna, "Porosity Development in Carbons derived from Scrap Automobile Tires", Carbon, 45, 1719-1726, 2007.

I. Külaots, A. Hsu, E.M. Suuberg, "The Role of Porosity in Char Combustion", Proc. Comb. Inst., 31, 1897-1903, 2007.

C. Hamilton, G. Crawford and E.M. Suuberg, "A Technology-Based Entrepreneurship Course", Int. Jl. Engineering Education, 21(2), 239-256, 2005.

V. Oja and E.M. Suuberg "Vapor Liquid Equilibrium in Polycyclic Aromatic Compound Mixtures and in Coal Tars" in Heavy Hydrocarbon Resources:Characterization, Upgrading and Utilization, M. Nomura, Ed., pp 113-122, American Chemical Society 2005.

I. Külaots, R.H. Hurt and E.M. Suuberg, "Size Distribution of Unburned Carbon in Coal Fly Ash and its Implications", Fuel, 83, 223-230, 2004.

I. Külaots, A. Hsu, R.H. Hurt, and E.M. Suuberg, "Adsorption of Surfactants on Unburned Carbon in Fly Ash and Development of a Standardized Foam Index Test", Cement and Concrete Research, 33,2091, 2003.

I. Külaots, I. Aarna, M. Callejo, R. H. Hurt and E. M. Suuberg "Development of Porosity During Coal Char Combustion" , Proc. Combustion Institute, 29, 495-501, 2002.

C.J. Creed, E.M. Suuberg, G.P. Crawford, "Engineering Entrepreneurship: An Example of a Paradigm Shift in Engineering Education", Jl. of Engineering Education, pp 185-195, April, 2002.

Y.M. Gao, X. Chen, G. Fujisaki, A. Mehta, E.M. Suuberg and R.H. Hurt, "Dry and Semi-Dry Methods for Removal of Ammonia from Pulverized Fuel Combustion Fly Ash" Energy and Fuels, 16, 1398-1404, 2002.

V. Oja and E.M. Suuberg, "Vapor Pressures and Enthalpies of Sublimation of D-Glucose, D-Xylose, Cellobiose and Levoglucosan", Jl. of Chem. and Eng. Data, 44, 26-29, 1999.

I. Aarna and E.M. Suuberg "The Reaction Order of the NO-Carbon Reaction", Proc. Combustion Institute, 27, pp. 3061-3068, 1998.

V. Oja and E.M. Suuberg, "Vapor Pressures and Enthalpies of Sublimation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and their Derivatives", Jl. Chemical and Engineering Data, 43, 486-492, 1998.

V. Oja and E.M. Suuberg, "Measurements of the Vapor Pressures of Coal Tars Using the Nonisothermal Knudsen Effusion Method", Energy and Fuels, 12, 1313-1321, 1998.

Y. Otake and E.M. Suuberg, "Temperature Dependence of Solvent Swelling and Diffusion Processes in Coals", Energy and Fuels, 11, 1155-1164, 1997.

I. Aarna and E.M. Suuberg, " A Review of the Nitric Oxide-Carbon Reaction", Fuel, 76, 475-491, 1997.

I. Milosavljevic, V. Oja and E.M. Suuberg, "Thermal Effects in Cellulose Pyrolysis- Relationship to Char Formation Processes", I&EC Research, 35, 653-662 1996.

Y. Yun and E.M. Suuberg, "New Applications of Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Solvent Swelling for Studies of Coal Structure," Fuel, 72, 1245, 1993.

H. Teng and E.M. Suuberg, "The Chemisorption of Nitric Oxide on Char: I. Reversible Nitric Oxide Sorption," J. Phys. Chem., 97, 478, 1993.

research overview

Professor Suuberg's research interests center on
energy and environmental ares, involving study of fuel chemistry (coal, oil shale, biomass), activated carbons (production and properties), materials reuse (automobile tires, coal fly ash), fire safety and, most recently, the characterization and cleanup of lands and sediments contaminated with mixed pollutants with a focus on thermodynamics of mixtures of high molecular weight organic compounds and the related problem of vapor intrusion, in particular the modeling of the vapor intrusion problem. 

research statement

Professor Suuberg's research interests revolve around the chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, particularly in relation to the fields of energy and environmental technology. At the present time, his group is exploring the thermodynamics of mixtures of high molecular weight organic compounds (including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH, and other polycyclic aromatic compounds, PAC). Few data exist on vapor pressures of these materials, which constitute an important class of compounds of environmental concern. In addition to addressing the need for more data on this topic, the Suuberg group is looking at what sorts of mixing models will adequately describe the thermodynamics of mixtures of these compounds. Because many of these compounds are present as contaminants on Superfund sites or brownfields, the work extends to examination of how these materials interact with soils and water, including any adsorption interactions. This group is also using their understanding of soil contamination to develop new ways of characterizing the vapor intrusion problem. The latter problem of infiltration of contaminant vapors into structures is of greatly increasing national concern when it comes to reuse of contaminated lands.
In addition to the latter area, the Suuberg group has been involved in applications including combustion of coal, production of alternative (green) fuels, fire safety and pollution prevention. Recently the work led to examination of novel sources of carbon materials (coal fly ash, automobile tires) for environmental applications, with implications for resource recycling. Gas-solid reactions of combustion and gasification interest are another major focus of Professor Suuberg's research interests. The kinetics of the annealing process in carbons, characterized by their loss of gasification reactivity, is related to the distributed activation energy kinetics of pyrolysis. The origin of the fractional order in such gas-solid reactions, the nature of active site distributions and their implications for kinetic modeling of the reaction processes are all questions of current interest in the field. Also, the development of porosity in ""activation"" of carbon is of interest. This work looks at the combustion reaction itself, as well as the environmentally important NO reduction process.

funded research

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program Grants, $11.5 Million, 2005-2009.
$15 million, 2009-2014 (Co-Director of multi-investigator award).

Draper Laboratories- Online Real-time Diagnostics for Combustion Performance in Coal-Fired Power Plants- $85,000, 2009-2010.

Eesti Eneergia- Beneficial Reuse Options for Estonian Circulating Fluidized Bed Oil Shale Ash. $28,000, 2009.

NIEHS- Brown University and EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Collaboration on Comparison of Passive Samplers for Monitoring Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Narragansett Bay Waters and Sediment, (Pending) $150,000, 2009-2011.

NIEHS- Boston University and Brown University Collaboration on Assessment of Vapor Intrusion Exposure and Risk (Pending) $140,000, 2009-2011.

National Collegiate Inventors and Innovator's Alliance (NCIIA) Seed Grant on Entrepreneurship Education and the local medical community $35,000, 2005-2009.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Study of Activation of Coal Chars $190,000, 1999-2004

U.S. Department of Energy/REI supported contract on "Mitigation of Ammonia Contamination on Fly Ash" ($100,000, 2000-2002.

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) contract on Improved Utilization of Low-NOx Fly Ash in Concrete, $360,000, 1997-2002

Nationlal Science Foundation (NSF) education grant - Entrepreneurial Engineering Program: Innovative Incubator Sequence $270,000, 2000-2003.

National Aeronautics ans Space Adminstration (NASA)/AFR contract on Pyrolysis Processing for Solid Waste Resource Recovery in Space", $50,000, 2000-2002.

U.S. Department of Energy grant on A Fundamental Study of Various New Technologies for the Utilization of Ash from Low-NOx Combustion $400,000, 1996-2003.

Nationlal Science Foundation (NSF) grant on " Activated Carbons from Tire Pyrolysis $190,000, 1997-2000.