Creating a digital twin of a novel biorefinery process

Updated: 10 months ago
Deadline: 31 Dec 2019

The PhD position is part of the interdisciplinary network project “Future chemical FActories: Sustainability through Smart Digitalisation (FFASSD)” in which 3 PhDs in 3 different research groups will collaborate intensively on the development of a digital twin concept for biorefinery technologies, including mechanical, chemical performance and sustainability aspects. A Digital Twin is a virtual replica of an asset fed with data from the physical set-up, which allows for cost- and time-effective analysis, optimization, up-scaling and virtual scenario assessment. The aim of the FFASSD project is to apply the digital twin concept on biorefinery technology with the objective to optimize the process in an integrated way for performance, energy and resource efficiency, environmental impact and cost. The project focusses on a unique biorefinery technology developed at KU Leuven that converts wood to plastic building blocks and commodity chemicals. To turn such a successful lab-scale process into an industrial one, a series of capital intensive and laborious steps is classically required, which impedes rapid industrialization and, hence innovation. The Digital Twin concept, as currently developed within mechanical engineering department at KU Leuven, is an interesting key enabling technology to tackle this challenge when integrated with chemical performance, resource efficiency, environmental and economic impacts.

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