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Robert M. (Pete) Counce



Professor Counce is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  He was awarded the Charles Edward Ferris Faculty Award (2008), and the Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award (2000) (both awards are from the Tickle College of Engineering). He was Visiting Professor, Sabine River Works of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company during 1984.  

Perhaps his major educational accomplishment is the development of an industrially-supported capstone design course, ChE 488; this approach to process design was first attempted in 1989 and has developed over several years. Sponsors for this activity have included DuPont, Dow Chemicals, Tennessee Eastman Company, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In this design activity each student team has an authentic project. Capstone design course has proved to be a win-win-win situation, educating students through experience, exposing faculty to authentic industrial needs and constraints and providing useful solutions to industrial needs. Over 300 chemical engineering students have participated in that experience here at UT. This capstone design activity is described in several publications, including International Journal of Engineering Education, “University Partnerships with Industry and Government,” published in 2008 and two Chemical Engineering Education articles, “A Quality-Driven Process Design Internship,” published in 1997, and “DuPont Design Internship in Pollution Prevention,” published in 1994.


Professor Counce is an industrial separation specialist. He has authored or co-authored over 100 technical papers and reports. He is especially active in applying green engineering approaches to design and modification of industrial processes. His research typically involves advancing fundamental knowledge while focusing on providing solutions to industrial needs. He has been involved in radio-chemical separations throughout his career. He is involved in a wide variety of activities in the green engineering area and in industrial separations, including and recovery and reuse of various process materials.

  • Green Engineering
  • Industrial-Scale Mass Transfer Operations
  • Radio-Chemical Engineering


PhD, University of Tennessee

BS and MS, University of Tennessee

Professional Service

  • Fellow, American Institute of Chemical Engineering
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Advances in Environmental Research, Allison L Gill (Ed.).
  • Counseled and mentored undergraduate and graduate students for over 30 years.
  • Guided approximately 50 students to their MS or PhD degrees.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2008 Charles Edward Ferris Faculty Award (UT College of Engineering)
  • 2001/2002/2003 Advisor of student teams winning 1st place, 2nd place, and 1st place in AIChE Green Engineering Student Poster Contest at Fall National Meetings (Reno, Nevada; Indianapolis, Indiana; and San Francisco, California)
  • 2000 Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award (UT College of Engineering)


For a complete list of publications, visit Counce's Google Scholar page.

  • D. DeSimone, N. Ghezawi, T. Gaetjens, Robert Counce and J. Watson, “Modeling the Extraction Rate Coefficient for the Extraction of Yttrium by DEHPA Using Organic-Phase Recycle,” Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, DOI: 10.1080/07366299.2019.1665243 (2019)
  • T. Gaetjens, H. Liang, P. Zhang, R. Moser, H. Thomasson, H. Dylewski, R. Counce and J. Watson, “Economic Optimization of Rare Earth Element Leaching Kinetics from Phosphogypsum with Sulfuric Acid,” International J. of Chemical Reactor Engineering, DOI: 10.1515/ijcre-2019-0061 (2019)
  • Gordy, R. M. Counce, P. Zhang, R. Nimkar and J.S. Watson, “H3PO4 Production Process Utilizing Phosphatic Clay as Feed Material,” J. of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, (on line) (2019)

  • A. Moore, J.S. Watson, R.M. Counce and H.L. Hall, “The Performance of Two Silica Based Ion Exchange Resins in the Separation of 213BI from Its Parent Solution of 225AC,International J. of Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 141, 68-72, (2018)

  • A. Moore, J.S. Watson, R.M. Counce and H.L. Hall, “Ion Exchange of Alkali Metal Cations with an Inorganic Resin,” J. of Separation Science and Technology, (2018)

  • L. Lehmann, R.W. Counce, R. M. Counce, J. S. Watson, N. Labbé, J. Tao, “Recovery of Phenolic Compounds from Switchgrass Extract,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 6(1), 374-379, doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b02639 (2018)

  • M. Moore, R. M. Counce, J. S. Watson, T. A. Zawodzinski, and C.-N. Sun, “An Analysis of the Contributions of Current Density and Voltage Efficiency to the Capital Costs of an All Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery,” J. of Chem. Eng. Process Technol. 7:288, doi: 10.4172/2157-7048.1000288 (2016)

  • M. Zhang, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, and T.A. Zawodzinski, "A Hybrid Electrochemical Adsorption/Desorption Super-Capacitor Using AlCl3/1-Ethyl-3-Methylimidazolium Chloride Ionic Liquid," in preparation

  • Mark Moore, Bonnie Herrell, Robert Counce and Jack Watson, "A Hierarchical Procedure for Synthesis of a Base Case Solid Oxide Fuel Cell System in Aspen HYSYS," J. of Adv. Chem. Eng. 5:129. doi:10.4172/2090-4568.1000129 (2015)

  • M. Moore, R. M. Counce, J. S. Watson, and T. A. Zawodzinski, “A Comparison of the Capital Costs of a Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery and a Regenerative Hydrogen-Vanadium Fuel Cell,” J. of Adv. Chem. Eng. 5, 140, doi: 10.4172/2090-4568.1000140 (2015)

  • M. Zhang, R. Groves, T.A. Zawodzinski, Jr., J.S. Watson, R.M. Counce, “Melting/ Freezing Points of High Concentrations of AlCl3 in a Saturated Chloroaluminate Ionic Liquid,” J. of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, (2015)

  • M. Zhang, J.S. Watson, R.M. Counce, P.C. Trulove, and T. A. Zawodzinski, "Electrochemistry and Morphology Studies of Aluminum Plating/Stripping in a Chloroaluminate Ionic Liquid on Porous Carbon Materials,” J. of the Electrochem. Soc. 161(4), D163–D167. doi:10.1149/2.048404jes (2014)

  • T.R. Russell, J.R. Garrison, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, B.B. Spencer and G.D Del Cul, “Water content of Organic Solvents and Their Relationship to Extraction of Nitric and Acetic Acid from UREX+ Streams,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech., 48(14), 2164-2169 (2013)

  • M. Zhang, M. Moore, J.S. Watson, T.A. Zawodzinski and R.M. Counce, “Sensitivity Analysis of Design Variables for an All-Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery,” J. of Electrochem. Soc. 159(8), A1183-A1188 (2012)

  • T.R. Russell, J.R. Garrison, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, B.B. Spencer and G.D Del Cul, “Extraction of Acetic Acid from UREX+ Streams using Annular Centrifugal Contactors,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech. 47(10), 1485-1491 (2012)

  • M. Moore, J.S. Watson, T.A. Zawodzinski, R.M. Counce, and H. Kamath, “A Step by Step Design Methodology for an All-Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery,” Chemical Engineering Education, 46 (4), 239–250 (2012)

  • Christina M. Karni, William O Rains, Robert M. Counce, Jack S. Watson, Barry B. Spencer, G. D. Del Cul, “Water and Mean Ionic Activities of Aqueous HNO3 Solutions Calculated from the Modified Adsorption Isotherm Model,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech., 45 (12), 1894-1900 (2010)

  • J.A. Mitchell, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, B.B. Spencer and G.D Del Cul, “Placing the Acetic Acid Step into the UREX+ Process,” Nuclear Technology, 170(3) 422-429 (2010)

  • J.A. Mitchell, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, B.B. Spencer and G.D Del Cul, “Removing Acetic Acid from a UREX+ Waste Stream: A Review of Technologies,” Nuclear Technology, 165(3) , 360-369 (2009)

  • S.J. Ray, R.M. Counce, S.A. Morton III, “Effects of Electrolyte Concentration on Surfactant Adsorption to a QCM Immersed in Surfactant-Electrolyte Solutions,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech, 43 (9-10), 2489-2502 (2008)

  • J.A. Mitchell, J.A. Johnson,, R.M. Counce, J.S. Watson, B.B. Spencer and G.D Del Cul., “Extracting Acetic Acid from Acidic Solutions,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech, 43 (9-10), 2537-2547 (2008)

  • S. A. Morton, III, D. J. Keffer, R. M. Counce, “Effect of Low Concentration Salt on Organic Contact Angle in Ionic Surfactant Solutions: Insight from Theory and Experiment,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech, 43 (2), pp 310-330 (2008)

  • R. M. Counce, L. C. Markel, P. R. Bienkowski, S. P. Singh, J. D. Randolph, R. T. Jubin, B. E. Lewis, B. E. Murphree, R. A. Reimer, R. A. Heckrotte, B. W. Alderson, "University Partnerships with Industry and Government," International J. of Engr. Education, 24(3) (2008).

  • R.T. Jubin, B. Spencer and R.M. Counce, "Review of Off-Gas Technology Relevant to Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing," paper presented at Global 2007: Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Systems, Boise Idaho, Sept 9-13, 2007

  • W. O. Rains and R. M. Counce, “Liquidus Curves of LiNO3 (aq) Calculated from the Modified Adsorption Isotherm Model for Aqueous Electrolytes,” J. of Separation Sci. & Tech. 42(2), 253-259 (2007).

  • J. M. Santiago, K. J. Keffer and R. M. Counce, "Surfactant and Electric Field Strength Effects on Surface Tensions at Liquid/Liquid Solid Interface," Langmuir, 22(12) 5358-5365 (2006)

  • N. Davis, S. A. Morton, R. M. Counce, D. W. DePaoli, and M.Z. Hu, "Effect of Ionic Strength on Oil Removal from Stainless Steel in the Presence of Ionic Surfactant," J. of Separation Sci. & Tech. 41(15), 3313-3328 (2006).

  • B.Bagchi, J.Rawlston, R. M. Counce, J.M. Holmes and P. R. Bienkowski, "Green Production of Hydrogen from Excess Biosolids Originating from Municipal Waste Water Treatment," J. of Separation Sci. & Tech. 41(10/11), 2613-2628 (2006).

  • R. M. Counce and S.A. Morton III, "Utilizing Green Engineering Concepts in Industrial Process Synthesis," Chapter in Sustainability Science and Engineering, Defining Principles (Editor: M. A. Abraham), Elsevier (2006)

Photo of Robert Counce

Contact Information

  • 424 Dougherty Engineering Building
  • Phone: (865) 974-5318
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