• Tribute to Horace Whaley

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Horace Whaley was born in 1939 in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom.  He completed his BSc (1960) and Ph. D. (1965) at the University of Sheffield and his Ph. D. supervisor was Professor Meredith Thring Head of Chemical Engineering and Fuel Technology.  His doctoral thesis was titled “A Fundamental Study of Flow Characteristics and Heat Transfer in a Multiple Burner Oilfired Marine Boiler”.

After his graduation he travelled to work as a resident investigator at IFRF in IJmuiden, first in 1962 and then later in 1966.  He worked first with J. M Beér on swirling oil flames and then with K. Hein on coal fired burners.  This collaboration would prove to be beneficial in future collaborations between the Foundation and his Canadian research through the International Energy Agency Coal Combustion Implementing agreement in the 1980’s.

In the late 60’s he moved to Canada with his wife Rita and his son to work for the Canadian Department of Energy Mines and Resources at the Fuels Research Centre in Ottawa.  There he participated in basic combustion research on stoker fired coal boilers and oil fired marine boilers.  The expertise in combustion and measurement techniques developed for his Ph. D. research and at the IFRF research station, helped him in advising on the establishment of the combustion research facilities at the new Canadian Combustion Research Laboratory (CCRL) facilities.  With his help, new research furnaces were built and new measurement systems acquired.  The combustion studies undertaken at these new facilities established the CCRL as one of the premiere combustion laboratories in the world.

In the period between 1970 and 1982, Dr. Whaley embarked on many excursions across Canada to fly through exhaust plumes from power stations and refineries to measure the dispersion of the emissions from their smoke stacks.  He used equipment of his own design, mounted on a helicopter or light airplane.  The data he gathered helped him in establishing the dispersion of exhaust stack plumes from various sources such as power stations, refineries and natural gas sulphur extraction plants over a variety of terrains.  From these measurements he was able to develop the parameters for the modeling of the dispersion of emissions from exhaust stacks under a variety of atmospheric and boundary layer conditions.  He was also involved in developing the Canadian standard for estimating the atmospheric dispersion of combustion source pollution from chimneys.

His work at Energy Mines and Resources Canada (later to become Natural Resources Canada) in the 1980’s involved the study of the combustion properties of suspension fired (or blown) combustion of coals (specifically Canadian coals) in utility boilers and kilns.  These studies were carried out in the pilot-scale boiler and the new axi-symmetric tunnel furnace which allowed the insertion of water cooled probes.  The results of the pilot-scale tests were used to predict the performance of the tested coals in power and industrial boilers with respect to NOx, SOx and particulate emissions and deposition in the boiler.  The tunnel furnace test results were used to characterize burners and to create data packages for computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model evaluation.  During this period he and his team collaborated with Prof. F. C. Lockwood at Imperial College and Prof. G Raithby at the University of Waterloo on the development of combustion modeling using CFD techniques.

At this time and into the 1990’s, Dr. Whaley was also involved as the Canadian representative in the International Energy Agency Coal Combustion (later to become the Clean Coal) Sciences Implementing Agreement.  The IEA CCS began through preliminary meetings at the Sandia Combustion Research Laboratories in California and at the CCRL laboratories in 1983-1984.  The IEA Implementing Agreement for a Programme of Research Development and Demonstration on Coal Combustion Sciences was put into place on March 27, 1985.  The signatories to the Annex I (task shared collaborative research) were the USA DOE Australia Department of Resources and Energy, Canada Energy Mines and Resources, and The Netherlands Stichting Energieonderzook Centrum Nederland.  This agreement was later to extend to 13 participating countries.  Dr. Waley sat on the executive committee for this agreement until his retirement in 1998.  The Annex I resulted in the sharing of data, and expertise for the modeling and measurements in coal flames.  The Annex II (cost shared research) of this agreement included 4 signatory countries: Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom and produced expertise in the understanding of coal combustion and characterization through testing of participant coals.  Low NOx burner technologies were also developed and characterized for coal combustion.

Among the many research papers he wrote, in 1987 Dr. Whaley co-authored with Dr. K. Thambimuthu the chapter entitled “The Combustion of Coal Liquid Mixtures” in the book “Principles of Combustion Engineering for Boilers” (edited by C. J. Lawn).  This chapter covered topics such as fuel preparation, rheology, pumping, atomization, combustion mechanisms, and burner and boiler performance, and has become a universal reference for using coal liquid mixtures.  His reports also included such topics as the thermal destruction of DDT and two volumes on the combustion characteristics of Canadian coals.

Dr. Whaley had a clear understanding that when developing domestic and international experimental research programmes, particularly with government co-funding, it was important to ensure that the potential industrial end users of the research information should be directly involved in the planning and execution of the experiments/trials and the interpretation of the experimental results.  To this end, the results of research undertaken through the IEA and at Canadian facilities were disseminated through reports and seminars reaching audiences across Canada and around the world.  Dr. Waley applied this ethos to Canada’s participation in the IFRF and he encouraged young Canadian investigators to visit IJmuiden and work with the international scientific team. 

Dr. Whaley’s international outlook on scientific research will be missed.

He is survived by his wife, Rita (né Pickering), his son Lynton James, his daughter Johanne Claire (deceased) and grandchildren James Ranger and Liam Lee.