This project will develop a new paradigm in spinning disc process intensification technology: the spinning mesh disc reactor (SMDR). The SMDR uses a high surface area rotating mesh supporting a catalyst to create process intensification. A liquid is centrifugally forced and accelerated into the mesh creating rapid mixing and increased heat and mass transfer rates compared to conventional reactors, accelerating reaction rates. It is superior to conventional spinning disc reactors as the mesh keeps all of the catalyst in the intensified (spinning) reaction zone and helps to protect these catalysts from deactivation from excessive hydrodynamic forces, allowing fragile nanostructured catalysts and enzymes to be used. Therefore the aim of this research is to fully characterise the SMDR for two important reaction systems: (1) nanostructured photocatalytic systems for the degradation of harmful trace pharmaceuticals in wastewater, (2) enzymatic biochemical transformations of waste oils (in particular to biodiesel). Reaction rates and mechanism, mass transfer effects, catalyst reusability and durability, all compared to conventional reactors, will be evaluated both experimentally and mathematically. Residence time distributions, high speed camera analysis of mesh flows and computational fluid dynamics will be used to evaluate reactor hydrodynamics and operation. This project will enable Dr Patterson to successfully integrate into the EU by providing him with a secure basis from which to transfer, build and extend his existing research base from New Zealand to the University of Bath. It will provide him and his research group with the funds to access the analysis and characterisation equipment needed to produce high impact research. Ultimately this grant will provide the foundation from which Dr Patterson will build a world leading group in the EU in the area of Nanostructured and Tuneable Materials for sustainable applications in Separation and Reaction Engineering.
Fields of science
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