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Henry Kister

The Tower Doctor

Henry Z. Kister, nicknamed "the tower doctor" because of his vast expertise at diagnosing distillation tower issues, is a highly recognized specialist with over 30 years of expertise in all phases of distillation, including troubleshooting, operation, design, start-up, and control. As a senior fellow and director of fractionation technology at Fluor, he designs, revamps and advises on distillation processes, equipment, and controls for the chemical, petrochemical and oil industries. He is also extensively involved in troubleshooting, field consulting, start-up and debottlenecks. He is Fluor’s representative on the Fractionation Research Inc. (FRI) Technical Advisory Committee, serves on FRI’s Design Practices Committee, and is a member of the US National Engineering Academy (NAE).

Henry Kister Headshot

Before joining Fluor in 1999, he was Brown & Root’s staff consultant on fractionation, providing clients with designs, debottlenecks, troubleshooting and control expertise and field assistance on fractionation and absorption technology. Before that, he was with FRI, where he specialized in fractionator hydraulics. Prior to that, he was with ICI Australia Ltd., where his duties included start-up supervision, operation, debottlenecking, process and hydraulic design, troubleshooting, and commissioning of several distillation systems.


He is the author of over 140 published technical articles on distillation, and two textbooks titled, Distillation Operation and Distillation Design, both published by McGraw-Hill. He is also the author of the textbook, Distillation Troubleshooting, published by Wiley, the Distillation Equipment section of Perry’s Handbook, and the chapter on Distillation in the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. Many of his articles as well as significant sections of his books address distillation controls troubleshooting.


Henry Kister has conducted over 550 “Practical Distillation Technology” programs for major corporations in the U.S., Canada and 24 other countries on all six continents.

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