Projects at Eindhoven University of Technology | Projects by Hans Kuipers

All projects by Prof. Hans Kuipers (TU/e):

Droplet and Catalyst Interactions in Atomization of Bio-Oils

Advanced 3D Multiphase CFD Method for Bio-Oil Deoxygenation

MRI Flow Imaging of Trickle Bed Reactors

Experimental and computational study of catalytic conversion in open-cell foam catalytic reactors

Particle Scale Transport Phenomena in Trickle Bed Reactors

Micro structured slurry bubble columns for CO2-to-MeOH

About Hans Kuipers

 


 

Droplet and Catalyst Interactions in Atomization of Bio-Oils
Joint Doctorate
1st supervisor and 1st promotor: Prof. Hans Kuipers (TU/e)
2nd promotor: Prof. Detlef Lohse (UT)
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Maike Baltussen (TU/e)
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Twente
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

New generations of transportation fuels and chemicals involve a partial or complete replacement of fossil resources by renewable ones in response to the depletion of carbon fossil resources and as an effort to mitigate CO2 emissions. Lignocellullosic biomass serves as a preferred feedstock for the generation of transportation fuels and chemical building blocks. After pyrolysis, the resulting biomass-derived oil could be further processed using existing refining catalysts, processes and infrastructure. This route offers the advantage that existing technologies can be utilized requiring relatively little additional capital investments.

However, refining of biomass-derived oils present important challenges that need to be addressed. Bio-oils are multicomponent mixtures consisting of various mostly oxygenated hydrocarbons, water and chars. This makes the energy content of bio-oils mostly lower than conventional transportation oils. In addition, this high oxygen content causes a high acidity or low pH inducing enhanced corrosive behavior and deactivation of the catalyst. In order to deoxygenate the bio-oils, the oil has to interact with acidic zeolite catalysts.

Spray atomization is used for rapid evaporation of the bio-oils to allow for fast interaction with acidic zeolite catalysts. The spray formation and hence evaporation efficiency and catalytic conversion is largely affected by the droplet-droplet and droplet-catalyst interactions. In this sub-project a combined experimental and numerical approach will be incorporated to elucidate the effects of droplet-droplet and droplet-catalyst interactions on spray formation and performance.

Keywords:

  • Biomass conversion
  • Spray Atomization
  • Droplet Catalyst Particle Interaction
  • Regime Maps
  • Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS)

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Advanced 3D Multiphase CFD Method for Bio-Oil Deoxygenation
Joint Doctorate
1st supervisor and 1st promotor: Prof. Hans Kuipers (TU/e)
2nd promotor: Prof. Detlef Lohse (UT)
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Kay Buist (TU/e)
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Twente
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

New generations of transportation fuels and chemicals involve a partial or complete replacement of fossil resources by renewable ones in response to the depletion of carbon fossil resources and as an effort to mitigate CO2 emissions. Lignocellullosic biomass serves as a preferred feedstock for the generation of transportation fuels and chemical building blocks. After pyrolysis, the resulting biomass-derived oil could be further processed using existing refining catalysts, processes and infrastructure. This route offers the advantage that existing technologies can be utilized requiring relatively little additional capital investments.

However, refining of biomass-derived oils present important challenges that need to be addressed. Because of the high oxygen content in biomass derived oils, such as pyrolysis oil, both acidity and heating values are lower than conventional oils derived from fluid catalytic cracking, such as diesel and petrol. Subsequent deoxygenation steps can take place over acid zeolite catalysts. This process typically takes place in so-called riser reactors where the ‘crude’ bio-oil is atomized to achieve large surface area to allow for fast evaporation and extensive contact with the zeolite catalyst.

To model this process, detailed multiphase computational fluid dynamic (MCFD) methods are needed. To create this MCFD model, the currently available DSMC model (Pawar et al., 2014) will be combined with a gas-solid CFD model (Carlos Varas et al., 2017). In addition, combined heat and mass transfer should be included in the MCFD model.

Keywords:

  • Biomass conversion
  • Spray Atomization
  • Spray Catalyst Interaction
  • Riser Reactors
  • Multiphase Computational Fluid Dynamics (MCFD)

 

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MRI Flow Imaging of Trickle Bed Reactors
1st supervisor and 1st promotor: Prof. Hans Kuipers
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Kay Buist
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

Fischer-Tropsch processes are currently performed in bubble slurry reactors or trickle bed reactors. Although trickle bed reactors have a smaller degree of back mixing and as a result higher chemical conversion, this technology was developed much later than bubble slurry column reactors. The main reason is the difficulty to design and scale-up these reactors, because they are governed by the particle-scale phenomena.

In this project, the two-phase flow in a trickle bed reactor will be studied with MRI. The use of MRI will allow visualization of the flow field and obtain quantitative data on the particle-scale phenomena like the liquid and gas distribution. This project will have a close collaboration with the numerical modelling project.

Keywords:

  • Trickle bed reactors
  • Multiphase flow
  • MRI
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Experiments

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Experimental and computational study of catalytic conversion in open-cell foam catalytic reactors
1st promotor: Prof. Hans Kuipers
1st supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Fernanda Neira D’Angelo
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Frank Peters
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

In a typical catalytic reactor reactants enter as a fluid and chemical conversion takes place at catalytic sites that are immobilized on a solid. In conventional packed columns the solids volume fraction is high and, thus, pressure losses are significant. An open-cell foam is an attractive alternative for particle packings. It has a low flow resistance due to its open structure. In a laboratory setting this catalytic carrier has superior properties compared to conventional packings. In the current project we will investigate its potential for industrial scale reactors.

To assess this we will perform an upscaling study. A lab-scale setup will be used to characterize the performance of open-cell foam for a model reaction. Within a multi-scale framework the measurements will also be used to validate a computational model that is used to develop closure relations for momentum, mass and heat transfer. Second, the preparation of coated open-cell foams for large scale reactors will be studied. A mid-scale reactor will be build and characterized. Simultaneously a large scale reactor model, using the closure relations will be developed, validated and deployed. The final aim is to assess the applicability of open-cell foams for industrial scale processes such as biomass conversion.

Keywords:

  • Open-cell foam
  • Catalytic reactor
  • Upscaling
  • Reactor performance
  • Multi-scale modelling

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Particle Scale Transport Phenomena in Trickle Bed Reactors
1st supervisor and 1st promotor: Prof. Hans Kuipers (TU/e)
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Maike Baltussen (TU/e)
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

Currently both trickle bed reactors and bubble slurry columns are used to perform Fischer-Tropsch processes. The advantages of processing three phase flows with a trickle bed reactor are the low degree of back mixing and the co-current operation of the reactor. However, the trickle bed reactor technology is relatively difficult to design and scale-up, because the operation is fully governed by the particle-scale phenomena.

In close collaboration with the project Flow MRI of trickle bed reactors, this project will focus on the modelling of these particle-scale phenomena using Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS). To obtain a model for three phase flows, a gas-liquid DNS method, Volume-of-Fluid, is coupled with a fluid-solid DNS method, Immersed Boundary method. The obtained method will be validated with well-defined (MRI) measurements. In addition, the three-phase method will be extended to include coupled heat and mass transfer.

Keywords:

  • Trickle bed reactors
  • Multiphase flow
  • VOF-IB method
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Direct numerical Simulations

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Micro structured slurry bubble columns for CO2-to-MeOH
1st supervisor and 1st promotor: Prof. Niels Deen
2nd supervisor and co-promotor: Assistant Prof. Yali Tang
Affiliation: Eindhoven University of Technology
Research theme: Smart Biomass Conversion

There is a large need for new options to use (future) cheap electricity to convert CO2 into value-added products, such as methanol. There are three important enablers in the development of these so-called CO2-to-MeOH processes: suitable catalyst materials, reaction mechanisms and chemical reactors.

In this project we will investigate the merits of a micro-structured slurry bubble column reactor as the preferred process for MeOH production (similar to LPMEOH processes for liquid phase methanol production from syngas). In slurry bubble columns the reactant gases are bubbled through an inert liquid that is used to carry the catalyst and to act as a heat sink. The contact between the phases will be intensified by using wire meshes that cut bubbles into smaller pieces, thereby increasing the surface area and enhancing the mass transfer.

The PhD student will first compare the slurry bubble column process with conventional reactor types using simple empirical reactor models. The empirical modeling study should provide direction for optimal process design, which we will study in much more detail in terms of flow phenomena, heat and mass transfer characteristics, and conversion/selectivity, via detailed CFD simulation studies.

Keywords:

  • CO2-to-MeOH
  • Slurry bubble column
  • CFD
  • Reactor design
  • Transport phenomena

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About Hans Kuipers

Professor Hans Kuipers is Full Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands).

He graduated in 1985 at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the former Technical University of Twente (The Netherlands). In the same year he started his PhD at the Reaction Engineering group of the University of Twente on detailed microbalance modeling of gas-fluidized beds. In 1990 he received his PhD degree and was appointed in the same year as assistant professor in the Reaction Engineering group headed by Professor van Swaaij. In 1994 he became associate professor in the same group. In 1999 he was appointed full professor in Fundamentals of Chemical Reaction Engineering at the University of Twente. He moved in 2010 to Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) as full professor Multiscale modeling of Multiphase Flows. Kuipers (co-) authored ~ 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals with an average number of citations per paper of ~ 22 and a Hirsch index of 47. Furthermore, Kuipers is the (co-) author of 180 conference proceedings publications, 2 national journal publications, 4 book chapters and 2 patents/patent applications.

The Multiscale Modeling of Multi-phase Flows group, headed by Professor Hans Kuipers, has made over the years seminal contributions on the fundamentals of chemical reaction engineering. During the last 5 years the focus has been mainly on: (a) a fundamental understanding of multiphase flows; and (b) the development of novel reactors. The key aspect of this research is the integration of fundamental research with applied engineering science. Within these two topics computational fluid dynamics and various experimental techniques play a pivotal role. His group is internationally recognized as one of the leading research groups on Dispersed Multiphase Flow and Novel Reactor Concepts.

He serves/served on the editorial boards of Particuology, International Journal of Multiphase Flow and Acta Mechanica. Kuipers obtained a prestigious TOP CW NWO (2005) grant from The Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO) and an Advanced ERC grant (2010) from the European Research Council. Kuipers has been involved in the organization of several international congresses, including the International Conferences on Multiphase Flow, the International Conferences on the Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics in the Process Industries, the 3rd Conference on Computational Fluid Dynamics in Chemical Reaction Engineering, the 22nd International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering and the 14th International Conference on Fluidization. Kuipers has been Scientific Director of the Institute of Mechanics, Processes and Control (IMPACT) of the University of Twente (2006-2010) and serves/served on several boards and panels for research, including the Strategic Council of the University of Twente.

Profile page (MCEC)
Profile page (TU/e)

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