One of the two major reseach areas of SMR is novel reactor concepts. At present our research focusses on the hydrodynamics in these reactors because it is generally recognized that the lack of understanding of the flow phenomena is one of the central difficulties in the design and scale-up of industrially relevant reactors. Key issues in the development for these novel reactor concepts are the experimental validation and the accurate description by numerical models. In cooperation with our technical staff members all systems are being designed and constructed by ourselves.
Decreasing reserves of fossil fuels and concerns about climate changes due to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide have created a large driving force to develop energy efficient processes. Within our group we are looking for novel reactor concepts with emphasis on integration and intensification of relevant process steps.
As an example we can mention the membrane assisted fluidized bed as depicted in figure 1. This reactor is able to produce ultrapure hydrogen and integrates separation steps using membranes. Due to these membranes air separation is included and pure CO2 is obtained as by-product, which is ready to be captured and sequestrated.
Another area of interest is the development of processes using dynamically operated packed beds. By switching between different cycles, endothermic and exothermic reactions, separations and/or heat integration can be integrated in a single unit as illustrated in figure 2. The concept of dynamically operated packed beds is currently being investigated for chemical looping combustion and cryogenic CO2 capture.
Furthermore we are looking for applications of membrane reactors in oxidation reactions in order to distribute oxygen feed and to integrate air separation. In this field work is going on at the oxidative coupling of methane and the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane.