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Robert M. (Pete) Counce

Robert Counce.

Robert M. (Pete) Counce

Professor Emeritus

Contact Information

Robert Counce.

  • Office Address: 424 Dougherty Engineering Building
  • Phone: 865-974-5318
  • E-mail:


  • PhD, University of Tennessee
  • BS and MS, University of Tennessee


Robert 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.

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)

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.


Robert Counce.

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
Google Scholar


  • DeSimone, D., Counce, R., & Watson, J. (2020). Predicting the loading ratio and optimum extractant concentration for solvent extraction. Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 161, 271-278. doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2020.07.017
  • Bennett, B., Counce, R. M., Zhang, P., Nimkar, R., & Watson, J. S. (2020). Conceptual Process to Produce ThO2 from Monazite. Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, 37(4), 1317-1327. doi:10.1007/s42461-020-00203-y
  • Counce, R. (2020). Provisional Patent Filed, 62/994,708; UTRF PD 16085 and 19061; Legal 1306/140 PROV, Continuous Membrane Based System for Separating Ions of Metals.
  • DeSimone, D., Ghezawi, N., Gaetjens, T., Counce, R., & Watson, J. (2019). Modeling the Extraction Rate Coefficient for the Extraction of Yttrium by DEHPA Using Organic-Phase Recycle. Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 37(6), 422-434. doi:10.1080/07366299.2019.1665243
  • Gaetjens, T., Liang, H., Zhang, P., Moser, R., Thomasson, H., Dylewski, H., . . . Watson, J. (2019). Economic Optimization of Rare Earth Element Leaching Kinetics from Phosphogypsum with Sulfuric Acid. International Journal of Chemical Reactor Engineering, 17(10). doi:10.1515/ijcre-2019-0061
  • DeSimone, D., Ghezawi, N., Counce, R., Gaitjens, T., & Watson, J. (2019). Modeling the Extraction Rate Coefficient for the Extraction of Yttrium by DEHPA Using Organic-Phase Recycle. doi:10.1080/07366299.2019.1665243
  • Gordy, M., Counce, R. M., Zhang, P., Nimkar, R., & Watson, J. S. (2019). H3PO4 Production Process Utilizing Phosphatic Clay as Feed Material. Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, 36(5), 941-948. doi:10.1007/s42461-019-0074-6
  • Counce, R. (2019). UTRF Disclosure 19083-03, An Invention for Continuous Electro-Chromatography.
  • Moore, M. A., Counce, R. M., Watson, J. S., & Hall, H. (2018). The Performance of two silica based ion exchange resins in the separation of 213Bi from its parent solution of 225Ac. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 141, 68-72. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2018.08.020
  • Moore, M., Counce, R., Watson, J., & Hall, H. (2019). Ion exchange of alkali metal cations with an inorganic resin. Separation Science and Technology (Philadelphia), 54(4), 615-619. doi:10.1080/01496395.2018.1495233
  • Lehmann, M. L., Counce, R. M., Counce, R. W., Watson, J. S., Labbé, N., & Tao, J. (2018). Recovery of Phenolic Compounds from Switchgrass Extract. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 6(1), 374-379. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b02639
  • Ghezawi, N., DeSimone, D., Counce, R., & Watson, J. (2018). Thermodynamics of Yttrium Equilibria in Water-HCl-DEHP-Dodecane System. In The 20th Symposium on Separation Science and Technology for Energy Applications. Gatlinburg TN.
  • Counce, R., Gaetjens, T. K., DeSimone, D. A., & Ghezawi, N. B. (2018). Monte Carlo Modeling of Neodymium Chloride Solvent Extraction with DEHP. In 20th Symposium on Separation Science and Technology for Energy Applications. Gatlinburg, TN.
  • DeSimone, D. A., Ghezaei, N., Gaetjens, T., Counce, R., & Watson, J. (2018). Modeling the Rate Constant for Yttrium Extraction - A Designed Experiment Employing Internal Recycle. In The 20th Symposium on Separation Science and Technology for Energy Applications,. Gatlinburg, TN.
  • Counce, R. (2018). UTRF Disclosure 19061-03, Electrically Driven Countercurrent Fraction in a Packed Bed.
  • Counce, R., Erivan, E., Foster, S., Toan, M., Elgammal, R., Counce, R., & Zawodzinski, T. (2017). Catalyzed Oxidation of Chlorine and Bromine in Room Temperature Chloroaluminate and Bromoaluminate Melts. In The 232nd Electrochemical Society Meeting. National Harbor MD.