PhD Position (5)
- Last application date: 2012-04-30 17:00
- Department: TW12 - Department of Chemical engineering and technical chemistry
- Contract: bepaald
- Degree: MSc in Chemical Engineering or related subject
- Occupancy rate: 100%
- Vacancy Type: wp
Comprehensive kinetic model for gasification of ligno-cellulosic biomass.
In this project it is the objective to develop and validate a detailed kinetic model for gasification of ligno-cellulosic biomass that enables to determine the influence of biomass composition and process conditions on the gasification products.
Gasification of biomass is an important process in the alternative energy realm, due to its ability to provide gaseous fuels or chemicals, e.g. hydrogen or syngas, or liquid fuels after further processing, e.g. by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. This process may prove to be an important part of the world’s future infrastructure, in particular in remote locations where energy is scarce, and biomass or other renewable feedstocks would be beneficial in a carbon-lean world economy.
Biomass gasification includes the following steps: drying, thermal decomposition or pyrolysis, partial combustion of some gases/char, and gasification of decomposition products. Steam, air or oxygen is supplied as an oxidizing agent, and in addition to gaseous products (CO2, water, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and gaseous hydrocarbons), small quantities of char, ash, and condensable compounds (tars and oils) are formed. Tar is a complex mixture, including, among others, oxygen-containing 1-ring to 5-ring aromatics and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. The permissible upper limit of tar in the gas depends on the application and is most stringent for syngas production and gas turbines. Based on the gas/solid contacting mode, gasifiers are broadly divided into three types: fixed or moving bed, fluidized bed, and entrained flow. The fluidized-bed design has proved to be particularly advantageous for gasification of biomass. However, minimization of tar formation is crucial for the proper working of the fluidized bed and the temperature range (800 to 1000°C ) is dictated mainly by the minimization of the agglomeration of ash. Current gasification models cannot predict the product composition at different process conditions. Today even the most advanced kinetic models contain only a limited number of reactions and describe the biomass composition with very limited detail. Accounting adequately for transport limitations during industrial operation also remains a significant challenge.
The research program can be divided in 4 stages:
Advisors: Kevin Van Geem and Guy B. Marin
Funding: Advanced Grant of the European Research Council
PhD Fellowships are available in the following domains:
- Biomass Conversion
- Transient Kinetics
- Metal catalyzed reactions
- Radical Polymerization
- Pyrolyis and Steam cracking
- Computational Fluid Dynamics coupled with kinetics
Typical activities during a 4 year PhD project:
- Experimental acquisition of intrinsic reaction rate data.
- Model construction based on reaction mechanisms and estimation of kinetic parameters by data regression and/or quantum chemical calculations.
- Scale-up of lab data and simulation of industrial processes by developing and implementing reactor models accounting for transport next to reaction. Development and application of Computational Fluid Dynamics models in that context.
- Normal duties will apply, including the preparation of scientific reports and publications and assisting in supervising of MSc students.
Applicants must possess a MSc in Chemical Engineering or related subject and a TOEFL certificate (minimum score of 580(paper)/92(iBT)/237(computer)) or equivalent. Relevant experience in the area of reactor engineering, kinetics, and/or computational chemistry is strongly recommended. Candidates must have a strong mathematical background and be willing to focus on obtaining quantitative rather than qualitative results. Excellent candidates with a PhD in the above domains and willing to spend between 1 and 3 years at LCT can also apply for a postdoctoral fellowship.
Any additional information can be obtained by contacting Guy B. Marin. Any application should enclose a C.V., a one page justification of your interest and at least two references.
09 264 45 17
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