Laboratory of Thermal Process Engineering

Overview

The Laboratory of Thermal Process Engineering was established in November 2017 as a part of the Institute of Chemical Engineering and deals with questions related to new thermal separation processes. Multiple dividing wall columns, rotating separation devices and additive manufacturing are currently the main topics of our research. Within our research approach theoretical and experimental methods are contributing equally to reach our goal of deepened process understanding. The research interests of our group are triggered by the megatrends energy efficiency, modularization and flexibilization of chemical production processes. In this context we are attempting to close the gap between fundamental and application oriented research, keeping an eye on industrial relevance.

Head of Laboratory: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Grützner

Job vacancies

We are looking for a committed student research assistant for stationary and dynamic simulations of multiple dividing wall columns. You should already have some knowledge of Aspen Plus or Aspen HYSYS and enjoy modeling and simulation.
Start: immediately
Duration: 6 months
Effort: 30 hours per month

Contact: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Grützner

Group Members

Head of Group

Name Room Mail Phone
Grützner, Thomas Prof. Dr.-Ing. 47.2.225 thomas.gruetzner@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25702

Scientific Co-Workers (PhD Students)

Name Room Mail Phone
Ahmad, Bilal M.Sc. 47.0.103 bilal.ahmad@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25445
Hamamah, Zaid M.Sc. 47.0.103 zaid.hamamah@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25445
Kügele, Simon M.Sc. (external TH Ulm)   simon.kuegele@thu.de 0731 50-28304
Mathlouthi, Gino M.Eng. (external TH Ulm)   gino.mathlouthi@thu.de 0731 50-16716
Neukäufer, Johannes, M.Sc. 47.0.104 johannes.neukaeufer@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25715
Preißinger, Ulrich M.Eng. 47.0.103 ulrich.preissinger@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25445
Ränger, Lena-Marie M.Sc. 47.0.104 lena.raenger@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25715
Trescher, Lea M.Sc. 47.0.105 lea.trescher@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25719

Technical support

Name Room Mail Phone
Järvinen, Olavi M.Eng. O25/634 olavi.jaervinen@uni-ulm.de 0731 50-25704

Student workers

  • Ashish Vazirani B.Sc.
  • Asjad Lodi B.Sc.
  • Chiara Lukas
  • Fatmaalzahraa Elsayed B.Sc.
  • Franz Braun
  • Yannick Waibel B.Sc.
  • Mohamed Adel B.Sc.

Visitors

  • Prof. Dr. Igor Dejanovic, University of Zagreb (Sept. / Oct. 2019)
  • M.Sc. Goran Lukac, University of Zagreb (Sept. / Oct. 2019)

 

Focus and Methods

Main Topics

  • Dividing wall columns, especially with multiple partitioning walls
  • Rotating devices in thermal process engineering
  • Additive manufacturing related to thermal separation processes
  • Process thermodynamics
  • Modularization and flexibilization of chemical production processes
  • Energy efficient production and separation concepts

 Methods

  • Process simulation with ASPENplus, ASPEN-Custom Modeler and HYSYS
  • CFD simulations with OPEN Foam
  • Matlab
  • Additive manufacturing (3D-printing)
  • Dedicated experimental laboratory setups to determine the pressure drop in packed columns, liquid distribution on packings, multiple dividing wall columns, rotating extractors

Bachelor and Master Theses, Research Internships

We are always offering a wide variety of topics for your Bachelor- and Master-Thesis or for research internships. No matter if you want to focus your work on more experimental or more theoratical questions - do not hesitate to approach us.

Currently we offer theses from the following topics:

  • Liquid / Solid interfacial interactions
    Static and dynamic contact angle measurements on 3D printed surfaces
  • Additive manufacturing
    CFD simulation studies, development of a lab unit for measuring separation efficiencies, equipment design, experimental investigation of maldistribution
  • Multiple Dividing Wall column
    Simulations studies for steady-state operation points, development of dynamic models, design of a pilot-scale unit, investigation of control structures, pareto-optimization
     
     
     
     
     

How to find us

We are located at "Uni West"

Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany, Building 47, Room 47.2.225

 

Highlights

Successful application to the Carl Zeiss Foundation

The Carl Zeiss Foundation supports our activities in the field of investigating the interaction of liquids on additively manufactured solid surfaces. The funded project represents basic research and is intended to help us answer the question of whether surfaces can be functionalised in a targeted manner by adjusting specific printing parameters.
 

"Major Research Instrumentation" application successful

Our application for funding for a multiple dividing wall column was positively reviewed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The plant planned at Ulm University will be built in a specially equipped technical centre and is the first of its kind in the world. [June 2020]

Awarded!

We had exciting and interesting days at the "Fachausschuss Fluidverfahrenstechnik" in Berchtesgaden. The best came at the end: Lena won the poster prize for her contribution "Mehrkriterielle Optimierung ternärer Destillationen: Gesamter Lösungsraum". Congratulations! (Feb 2020)

BASF supports our research

We are glad to receive financial support from BASF on our work related to additive manufacturing of distillation columns. In a joint project (BASF, Ulm University, TU Munich) we are developing solutions for 3D-printed laboratory applications. (January 2020)

DFG is granting project funding

The "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" DFG is funding our work on multi criteria pareto optimization of multiple dividing wall columns. The project is a collaboration between our group and the Fraunhofer Institute of Industial Mathematics (ITWM) in Kaiserslautern. (January 2020)

New Co-Worker

On December 2019 Lea Marie Trescher started her work in our group. She holds a B.Sc. in "Sustainable Energy- and Environmental Technology" and a M.Sc. in "Process Engineering and Energy Technology" both from Hochschule Bremerhaven. Her work in our group focuses distillation and multiple dividing wall columns. Welcome! (Dec. 2019)

New Co-Worker

Bilal Ahmad started his PhD in our group. Bilal holds a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering of Ulm University. His work focuses additive manufacturing of laboratory scale separation units. Welcome! (October 2019)

Awarded!

We had a very successful visit on the 23rd ICHIP Conference in Warsaw, Poland. Our group contributed four oral presentations and Uli has been awarded for his presentation "Considerations on the design of a pilot-plant-scale simplified multiple dividing wall column". Congratulations! (June 2019)

New Co-Worker

On April Zaid Hamamah started his work in our group. Zaid holds a M.Sc. in Process Engineering and will work on rotating devices to intensify thermal separation processes. Welcome in our group! (April 2019)

DBU grants project

The "Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt" (DBU) grants financial support of our activities in the field of the practical design and operation of a 4-product multiple dividing wall column. Mainly constructive design and control questions are addressed within this project. (Jan 2019)

Industrial research project launched

In collaboration with BK Giulini GmbH / ICL Food Specialities we are investigating the calcium-aginate reaction to precipitate vegan protein fibers. The experimental project aims to understand and optimize the gelation reaction and establish a robust continuous production process. (Nov 2018)

Special Issue of ChemEngineering

Thomas is guest editor of the special issue "Progress in Thermal Process Engineering" of the MDPI open source journal ChemEngineering. The special issue is now open for contributions. http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ChemEngineering/special_issues/Thermal_Process_Engineering (June 2018)

First Paper Publication

A few months after starting their work Lena and Uli published their first research paper in ChemEngineering: L. Ränger, U. Preißinger, T. Grützner: Robust initialization of rigorous process simulations of multiple dividing wall columns via Vmin diagrams, ChemEngineering, 2 (25), 2018, doi.org/10.3390/chemengineering2020025. (May 2018)

New Co-Worker

On April Johannes Neukäufer started his work in our group. Johannes holds a M.Sc. from Technical University Munich and will work on additive manufacturing in thermal process technology. Welcome in our group! (April 2018)