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Fluor Corporation's Henry Kister Honored by Chemical Engineering Magazine


A Fluor Corporation technology expert has been honored with a top industry award. Henry Kister, Fluor's director of Fractionation Technology and a company fellow, recently was presented with Chemical Engineering Magazine's 2002 Award for Personal Achievement in Chemical Engineering.

The award, presented biennially since 1968, honors individuals with distinguished careers related to the practice of chemical engineering. Winners, representing a wide array of industries and job functions, are selected by a board of judges comprised of chemical engineering professors.

Hailed as one of the world's foremost authorities on distillation and absorption troubleshooting, Kister has been called "The Tower Doctor" by Richard Darton, professor of engineering at Oxford University and chair of a European Distillation network.

"When a tower is not well people call Henry to diagnose the illness and find a remedy. He arrives with his doctor's bag, examines the patient-tower, measures its temperature and pulse, and gets radiography to provide an inside look. Then comes his diagnosis and cure. Towers treated by Henry mostly get better very quickly," said Darton.

"My father was a medical doctor whose diagnosis ability was phenomenal, and who, at the age of 95, was the oldest practicing general physician in New South Wales when he retired. My mother was a psychiatrist who never failed to identify the correct root cause of a patient's problem, and who worked to her last day," said Kister. "I am grateful that the Almighty blessed me with some of my parents' diagnostic abilities."

With more than 28 years of experience in all phases of distillation, Kister has served the last four years with Fluor; where he troubleshoots, designs, revamps and advises Fluor's clients within the chemical, petrochemical and oil industries on the best solutions for their distillation designs and problems.

Kister is Fluor's representative on the Fractionation Research Inc. (FRI) Technical Advisory Committee and serves on the FRI Design Practices Committee.

Prior to joining Fluor in 1999, Kister served 17 years with C.F. Braun as a staff consultant on fractionation. He has worked for FRI, specializing in fractionation and absorption, and ICI Australia, as a process engineer and start-up superintendent.

He has uncovered and mapped the unexplored phenomena of vapor cross flow channeling and downcomer unsealing on trays, developed new troubleshooting techniques to identify maldistribution on trays and is the namesake of "Kistergrams," which transform gamma scans into vapor and liquid flow profiles.

He also has authored two books, "Distillation Operation" and "Distillation Design," which are highly regarded in the field.

In addition to two books, Kister has authored 70 technical articles on distillation and absorption and has developed the foremost published calculation procedures for tray and packing capacity, many of which are recommended in Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook and in other leading texts.

For the last 20 years, Kister has led a three-day continuing education course sponsored by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). This course, titled "Practical Distillation Technology," has been presented 240 times in 15 countries. Kister received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. A Chartered Engineer and Chartered Fuel Technologist (UK), he is listed in the "Who's Who in Science and Engineering." He is a Fellow of IChemE, and a member of AIChE and the Institute of Energy (UK).

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