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Semih  Eser

Semih Eser

Office Address: 
114A Hosler Building
Professor of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate Program Chair of Energy and Fuels Engineering Option
  • Carbon materials from petroleum and coal
  • Undesirable carbon deposition in engine fuel and lubrication systems and in process units Preparation of activated carbons
  • Preparation of activated carbons
  • Upgrading petroleum residua
  • Catalytic oxidation of solid carbons
  • Ph.D. (Fuel Science), The Pennsylvania State University, 1986
  • M.S. (Chemical Engineering), Middle East Technical University, 1978
  • B.S. (Chemical Engineering), Middle East Technical University, 1976
John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering


Semih Eser is a Professor of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering. Eser received his B.S. (1976) and M.S. (1978) degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and his Ph.D. (1986) in Fuel Science from Penn State University. From 1987 to 1988, he worked as a research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. He returned to Penn State in 1988 and was appointed as an assistant professor of Fuel Science in 1989. He served the Department of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering as Associate Head (2001-2006) and Acting Head (2004). At the EMS Energy Institute, Eser served as the associate director and director of the Laboratory for Hydrocarbon Process Chemistry (1995-2000). Currently, he teaches at the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and serves as the Director of Carbon Materials Program at the EMS Energy Institute. His professional activities include serving as Program Chair (2004) and Executive Committee Chair (2006), and Councilor (2010-2012) of the Fuel Chemistry Division, and Councilor (2013-2015) of the Energy and Fuels Division of American Chemical Society. He has been inducted as an ACS Fellow in 2014.  Professor Eser is currently serving on the editorial boards of the Journal of ASTM International, Journal of Oil, Gas, and Coal Technology, Journal of New Carbon Materials, and as section editor of Energy and Fuels in the Chemistry Central Journal.  Eser's research interests include the reactivity and microscopic characterization of cokes and carbons, coke/carbon formation and deposition mechanisms, inhibition of undesired carbon deposition, and molecular analysis and processing of petroleum feedstocks. In 2014, Professor Eser has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at Izmir Technology Institute in Turkey.

Research Projects: 

Active research projects involve the desirable and undesirable coke/carbon formation in petroleum refining processes and internal combustion engines. Common themes and tools used in these projects include microscopic characterization of the solid carbons (polarized-light microscopy, SEM, and TEM, as necessary) along with X-ray diffraction (XRD), spectroscopic (EDX, XPS, etc.), and reactivity (temperature-programmed oxidation) analyses to understand the formation/deposition pathways. A careful synthesis of data from microscopic and spectroscopic analyses provides means of promoting desirable reactions (e.g., carbonaceous mesophase formation for manufacturing graphitizable cokes) and inhibiting undesirable reactions (e.g., solid deposition in engine fuel and lubrication systems).

  • M. Martin-Martinez, A. Álvarez-Montero, L.M. Gómez-Sainero, R.T.Baker, J. Palomar, S. Omar, S. Eser, J.J. Rodriguez, “Deactivation Behavior of Pd/C and Pt/C Catalysts in the Gas-Phase Hydrodechlorination of Chloromethanes: Structure–Reactivity Relationship,” Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 162, 532-543, 2014.
  • N. Alonso-Morales, M. A. Gilarranz, F. Heras, J. J. Rodriguez, and S. Eser, “Oxidation Reactivity and Structure of LDPE-Derived Solid Carbons: A Temperature-Programmed Oxidation Study,” Energy Fuels 27, 1151-1161, 2013.
  • N. Alonso-Morales, M. A. Gilarranz, F. Heras, J. J. Rodriguez, S. Eser (3), “Effects of Heat Treatment on the Structure of LDPE-Derived Solid Carbons,” Chem. Eng. J. 172, 1126-1136, 2011.
  • A. Ram Mohan, S. Eser, “Effectiveness of Low-Pressure Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition Coatings on Metal Surfaces for the Mitigation of Fouling from Heated Jet Fuel,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 50, 7290-7304, 2011.
  • R. Venkataraman and S. Eser, "Characterization of Solid Deposits Formed from Jet Fuel Degradation under Pyrolytic Conditions: Metal Sulfides," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 47, 9351-9360, 2008.
  • G. Wang and S. Eser, "Molecular Composition of the High-Boiling Components of Needle Coke Feedstocks and Mesophase Development," Energy Fuels 21, 3563-3572, 2007.
  • O. Altin and S. Eser, "Pre-oxidation of Inconel Alloys for Inhibition of Carbon Deposition from Heated Jet Fuel," Oxid. Met. 65, 75-99, 2006.
  • S. Eser, R. Venkataraman, and O. Altin, "Utility of Temperature-Programmed Oxidation for Characterization of Carbonaceous Deposits from Heated Jet Fuel," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 45(26), 8956-8962, 2006.
  • H. Groenzin, O. C. Mullins, S. Eser, J. Mathews, M. G. Yang, D, Jones, "Molecular Size of Asphaltene Solubility Fractions," Energy Fuels 17, 498-503, 2003.
  • S.A.Carabineiro, I.F. Silva, M. Klimkiewicz, and S. Eser, "In-Situ Techniques for Studying Deterioration of C/C Composite Aircraft Brakes by Catalytic Oxidation," Mater. Corros. 50, 1-7, 1999.
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Service Award, 1996
  • ACS, Fuel Chemistry Division, Outstanding Service Award, 1997, 2000, 2004
  • ACS 1999 ChemLuminary award on behalf of the Fuel Chemistry Division in the ACS Division Membership Contest, 218th ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 1999
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2001
  • ACS Innovative Projects Fund for Divisional Enhancement Award for "Attracting Graduate and Undergraduate Students to Divisional Activities at ACS National Meetings," 2005.
  • ACS Innovative Projects Fund for Divisional Enhancement Award for "Public Education and Outreach for Basic Literacy on Energy and Fuel Issues," 2006.
  • ACS 2007 ChemLuminary Award on behalf of the Fuel Chemistry Division for "Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division," 2007.
  • 2014 ACS Fellow, 2014
  • Fulbright Scholarship to teach at Izmir Technology Institute, Turkey, 2014