FWF - Thermischen Trennen - Development of a novel Method for Thermal Separation

Project: Research project

Project Details


In the proposed work we intend to find a novel method to achieve higher selectivities in thermal separation
processes without chemical reaction, which exceed values of currently available apparatus. Our hypothesis is that
the application of microstructures is the appropriate method. The challenging part will be the fundamental research
of the design and evaluation of the microstructure. We intend to verify our assumption and method by a
demonstrating microstructured device. The prior goals of the proposed project are
(1) to achieve higher selectivities in thermal separation processes without chemical reaction, which exceed values
of currently available apparatus, by means of the development of a novel micro apparatus;
(2) to develop an appropriate analytical or numerical description of the physical process of the method for layout
and evaluation of the novel apparatus.
The approach of Micro Process Engineering (MPE) will be applied to achieve theses goals. Since MPE is
researched for Reaction Technology, the research of physical transport phenomena in thermal separation processes
with a gaseous and a liquid phase in microstructures will be new and exciting and requires a deep scientific study.
The method can be applied for rectification and/or absorption. The project is divided into 4 phases:
Phase 1: The main goal is to find the correlations and analytical formulations of the processes and the calculation
of thermodynamics/phase equilibrium in the separation unit, which consists of microstructures. CFD simulations of
the basic concept design serve to overhaul, revise and optimize the basic concept. Finally the design of the
separation unit of the demonstrating microdevice is available.
Phase 2: Based on the basic design of the separation unit a scale-out will be made in order to make a design of an
apparatus for higher flow rates. For the design of the manifolds for both phases, CFD will be applied. Additionally,
the whole apparatus design of the demonstrating microdevice is available, so that finally the construction of a
prototype can be accomplished.
Phase 3: A laboratory plant for testing is designed and tests of the microdevice are carried out with 3 different
mixtures: 2 Distillation series: Methanol -Water, Cyclohexane - n-Heptan and 1 Absorption serial: Nitrogen-Water.
Phase 4: By means of the laboratory tests, the efficiency of the method will be verified, which include the
verification of the descriptions of the phase equilibrium and transport processes of Phase 1 and the determination of
the actual selectivity.
In summary, we intend to develop a new and more efficient method for thermal separation process without
chemical reaction, which can be applied in fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industry. Since process
intensification is becoming increasingly important, this project will have significant impact and may lead to
significant improvements in the field of thermal separation.
Effective start/end date1/11/0831/10/11