Robinson, Dr. Donald B.

1994 Winner: Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Technology

Revolutionizing Hydrocarbon Understanding with Novel Equation

In 1981, Dr. Robinson founded Edmonton-based DB Robinson & Associates, a university spin-off company established to apply commercially the experience and expertise he had accumulated from his research and teaching. He recruited a group of capable associates, and in the ensuing years the firm developed world-wide expertise in a variety of specialties of interest to energy industry companies. As well, the company designs, manufactures, markets and services a specialized line of scientific instrumentation to petroleum research laboratories worldwide.

Donald B. Robinson is Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at the University of Alberta. He has been an educator, researcher, entrepreneur and international authority on the phase behaviour of hydrocarbon gases and liquids, particularly in the context of thermodynamic applications. Born in Calgary, he joined the University of Alberta in 1948 as Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, and retained his ties to the University over the next 36 years. Dr. Robinson was regarded as an outstanding teacher, and earned the respect and affection of his many students for his enthusiasm for his subject matter. As a researcher, he and one of his graduate students developed the Peng-Robinson equation of state, a unique, relatively simple mathematical equation which predicts the effects of pressure, volume and temperature on the behaviour of hydrocarbon-based fluids.

This equation is considered superior to all other previously developed equations and is now the industry standard compositional model for use in oil and gas reservoir, hydrocarbon processing, and pipeline flow simulators, and is a standard reference in textbooks and software in their calculation routines. Dr. Robinson holds many awards, including the RS Jane Memorial Award (Chemical Institute of Canada), the Centennial Award (APEGGA), the DL Katz Award (United States Gas Processors Association), and the Sir Frederick Haultain Award in Science (Province of Alberta). Tonight, he adds another honor, the ASTech Award for Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology, 1994.