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Chairholder Profile

Robert Marriott

Robert Marriott

Department of Chemistry
University of Calgary

Chair Title

NSERC ASRL Industrial Research Chair in Applied Sulfur Chemistry

Chair Program

Industrial Research Chairs Program


Associate Industrial Research Chairholder since 2012


Between 2000 and 2010, natural gas has contributed six per cent of Canada's total energy exports, worth $25 billion annually. Despite this large economic contribution, natural gas prices continued to be very volatile, with changing gas sources and production shifting from deep prolific sour gas to shale gas and bitumen sources. The cost of extracting new natural gas is often the limiting factor when increases in production capacity are being considered. Whether from traditional or new sources, gas streams will continue to require a larger variety of low cost, low energy, sustainable and new technologies for the removal of carbon dioxide, water, and hydrogen sulphide (fluid conditioning). In turn, these conditioning challenges for raw wet fluids will require the accurate description of phase behaviour, surface chemistry and chemical equilibria, e.g., dehydration in the presence of hydrogen sulfide. Studies aimed at providing solutions will result in reduced fuel gas consumption, lower production costs, and the reduction of both sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions.

Benefitting from the chair's expertise in sour gas production chemistry and chemical thermodynamics, investigations will involve a blend of experimental high-pressure pVT studies, novel multi-component adsorption experiments and surface chemical techniques. The overall research is aimed at improving the understanding of chemical equilibria involving water vapour and sulfur compounds for the purpose of designing and optimizing the conditioning of industrial fluids which are handled at a wide range of temperature/pressure conditions. Some specific projects include high-pressure adsorption, thermodynamic studies of wet acid gas liquids, selection of room-temperature ionic liquids for gas separation and subsaturated hydrate conditions (water gas compounds without free water phase). The experimental data and models resulting from this research are applicable to the conditioning of traditional sour gases, shale gas, tail gas, coker off-gases, flue gas, compressed carbon dioxide transportation, liquid injectates and acid gas injection.

A necessary outcome of this research is the development of new high-pressure physical chemistry techniques, where capabilities are aimed at measuring the adsorption/desorption and reaction of wet sour gases on high surface area adsorbent materials. These capabilities are highly sought after by industry and academic collaborators who have an interest in desorption within shale gas reservoirs, development of commercial process simulators, the characterization of molecular organic framework materials and sulfur recovery catalysts.


  • ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co.
  • Husky Oil Operations Ltd.
  • Shell Canada Ltd.
  • Suncor Energy Inc.
  • Total E&P Canada Ltd.
  • University of Calgary
  • Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd.

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW Science A 109
Calgary, Alberta
T2N 1N4

Tel.: 403-220-3144
Fax: 403-284-2054

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