"This project aims at a significant increase in the ecological and economic efficiency of today’s chemical processes by means of rational reactor design. Increasing economic pressure of European speciality chemicals producers from competitors of emerging economies requires the implementation of the latest progress in model-based reactor design and optimization into industrial practice. For this, the proposed project entangles a leading European speciality chemicals producer, LONZA, Switzerland, with a prime research site in Chemical Reaction Engineering and Reactor Design, FAU Erlangen, Germany.
Current industrial production processes for speciality chemicals are commonly improved incrementally in an iterative trial-and-error approach. In order to pave the way for real breakthroughs in chemical reactor technology, a novel model-based design approach is required, which enables the design of innovative tailor-made reactors. As examples of high industrial relevance, three processes from LONZA are chosen for a thorough evaluation and optimization.
Based on fundamental thermodynamic and kinetic data, the ESRs will apply a rigorous optimization strategy to define the optimal reaction conditions and to derive the best suited reactor design for each of the selected processes. Innovative additive manufacturing techniques such as Selective Electron Beam Melting enable the manufacturing of the reactor components, even with complex geometries. The identified reactor concepts are then experimentally evaluated and optimized at the laboratory scale in order to demonstrate the optimization potential for the application on the industrial level.
With the optimized processes and the methods and tools at hand the European speciality chemicals industry is strengthened and excellently prepared for future competition. Moreover, the ESRs are trained in a highly interdisciplinary environment which will qualify them in a unique way for the needs of the European speciality chemical industry."
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