Pahola Thathiana Benavides


Address:
111 West Maple St. Apt 1406
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (773) 690-1538
email:thathiana@vri-custom.org thathiana@vri-custom.org

Ph.D. Research Topic:

Title: Optimal control of batch production of biodiesel fuel under uncertainty. My research topic consisted on the improvement of biodiesel production by finding optimal production strategies and operating policies under deterministic and uncertain conditions. In this research, I focused on the design and control of batch processes for biodiesel production under uncertainty, application of innovative numerical methods, some of them originated from finance literature, to model time-dependent uncertainty and formulation of stochastic optimal control policies. I used mathematical techniques that imply deterministic and stochastic approached such as maximum principle and stochastic calculus for the solution of the optimal control problem of biodiesel production.


Research Project at VRI:
  • Algorithms, methods and tools
  • Energy and environment
  • Manufacturing, planning and management
  • Controllability of complex networks for sustainable system dynamics
  • Group contribution methods (GCM)
  • Adsorption of NORM from produce water in natural gas extraction

Research Interests:
  • Sustainability and sustainable management
  • Optimization, simulation and optimal control of bioprocess
  • Application of advanced control
  • Adsorption of NORM

Academic History:
  • Ph.D.: Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago UIC, Chicago, 2010-2013.
  • B.S.: Chemical Engineering, National University of Colombia. Manizales, Colombia. 2002-2007.

Awards:
  • Honorable mention recipient for the 2013 Sustainable Engineering Forum Student Paper Award. AIChE: November 2013.
  • Graduate Sustainability Award. UIC Student Research Forum. University of Illinois at Chicago: April 2013.
  • Student Travel Award. Graduate College at University of Illinois at Chicago: February 2013.
  • The Chicago Consular Corps Scholarship. University of Illinois at Chicago: November 2012.

Publications:
  1. Benavides, P.; Salazar, J.; Diwekar, U. Economic comparison of continuous and batch biodiesel production using soybean oil. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy 32 (2013) 11-24.
  2. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U. Studying various optimal control problems in biodiesel production in a batch reactor under uncertainty. Fuel 103 (2013) 585-592.
  3. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U. Optimal control of biodiesel production in a batch reactor part I: deterministic control. Fuel 94 (2012) 211-217.
  4. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U. Optimal control of biodiesel production in a batch reactor part II: stochastic control. Fuel 94 (2012) 218226.
  5. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.; Cabezas, H. Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics. Submitted for review.

Presentations:
  1. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.; and Cabezas, H.: Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics. AIChE Annual Meeting, November 2013, San Francisco, CA.
  2. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.; and Cabezas, H.: Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics. INFORMS Annual Meeting, October 2013, Minneapolis, MN.
  3. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.; and Cabezas, H.: Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics. UIC Student Research Forum, April 2013, Chicago, IL.
  4. Benavides, P.; Salazar, J.; and Diwekar, U.: Economic Comparison of Continuous and Batch Biodiesel Production using soybean oil. AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, January 2013, Chicago, IL.
  5. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.; and Cabezas, H.: Role of Controllability for Long Term Sustainability. AIChE Annual Meeting, November, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA.
  6. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.: Studying Various Optimal Control Problems in Biodiesel Production in a Batch Reactor under Uncertainty. AIChE Annual Meeting, November, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA.
  7. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.: Studying Various Optimal Control Problems in Biodiesel Production in a Batch Reactor under Uncertainty. INFORMS Annual Meeting, November, 2012, Phoenix, AR.
  8. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.: Studying Various Optimal Control Problems in Biodiesel Production in a Batch Reactor. UIC Student Research Forum, April, 2012. Chicago, IL.
  9. Benavides, P.; Salazar, J.; and Diwekar, U.: Comparing Continuous and Batch Process Design under Uncertainty for Biodiesel Production. AIChE Annual Meeting, October, 2011, Minneapolis, MN.
  10. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.: Studying Various Optimal Control Problems in Biodiesel production in Batch Reactor. AIChE Annual Meeting, October, 2011, Minneapolis, MN.
  11. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U.: Optimal control of Biodiesel production in a batch reactor in the face of Feed variability. AIChE Annual Meeting, November, 2010, Salt Lake City, UT.
  12. Benavides, P.; Diwekar, U: Optimal control of Biodiesel production in a batch reactor in the face of Feed variability. AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, September 2010. Chicago, IL.

Invited Talks:
  • Optimal Control Problems in Biodiesel Production under Uncertainty. At Biocore Research group, May, 2012, Sophia-Antipolis, France.

  • Work Experience:
    • VRI-CUSTOM
      September 2013 Present             Research Engineer/ Post-Doctoral Fellow
      • Develop group contribution methods (GCM) to predict specific properties of adsorbent required for removal of NORMS from produce water in natural gas extraction
      • Characterize uncertainties in the GCM
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      August 2009 December 2009             Visitor Scholar at Bioengineering Department
    • Jabonerias Hada S.A. (soap factory). Manizales, Colombia.
      August 2007 May 2008             Production coordinator
      • Coordination of soap production
      • Maintained production performance
      • Coordinate personnel resources and controlled production variables
      • Developed organizational skills, resourcefulness and ability to simultaneously handle multiple tasks under time and resource constraints
    • Industria Licorera de Caldas (Liquor factory). Manizales, Colombia.
      February 2007 July 2007             Intern Research project: Formulating a treatment for the liquid waste coming into the development of rum.
      • Research survey regarding the final disposal of liquid waste material coming from the preparation of rum
      • Evaluation of the best alternative for the disposal of the liquid waste
      • Characterization of some properties of rum
      • Jar testing to determine the optimal dose of coagulant for treating sediments of rum
    Teaching Experience:

    Teaching assistant, University of Illinois at Chicago, Bioengineering Department:

    • Introduction to Applied Optimization (Core class for graduate Industrial and Bioengineering students) Spring 2012
      Assisted primary instructor: grading assignments and exams, conducted review sessions, and worked individually with 14 students.

    Teaching assistant, National University of Colombia, Chemical Engineering Department, Manizales, Colombia:

    • Water treatment Laboratory (Core class for undergraduate chemical engineering students) Spring 2006
      Assisted primary instructor: developed homework assignments, conducted review sessions, and worked individually with approximately 45 students.
    Computer Skills:
    • Programming skills: MATLAB, GAMS, FORTRAN, ASPEN, NETLOGO, MultiBatchDS
    • Operating systems: Windows 2000/XP/7/8
    Professional Societies:
    • Member of America Institute of Chemical Engineering AIChE (April 2010 present)
    • Member of INFORMS Computer Society ICS (July 2012 present)
    Activities:
    • Volunteer at Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation MLMIF (December 2009 present)
    • Summer Institute on Sustainable Energy (SISE) Alumni Council (co-chair) (February 2013 - present)
    Languages:
    • Spanish (native)
    • English