Dividing Wall Columns allow the separation of ternary mixtures into the pure components in only one column shell by the application of a partitioning wall inside the columns. Due to considerable reductions in CAPEX and OPEX, these columns are nowadays widely applied in chemical industry and can be considered as a mature technology. By adding additional partitioning walls this concept can be extended to quaternary separations. Further reduction of CAPEX and OPEX becomes likely. However the complexity of these units is highly increased and none of these Multiple Dividing Wall Columns have ever been realized.

Our work focuses on the fundamental understanding of Multiple Dividing Wall Columns based on rigorous modeling, simulation and multi criteria optimization. Moreover, we also work on practical design aspects and aim to built and operate a demonstration plant within our labs.

The project is devided in several sub-projects addressing questions of modeling and simulation, mathematical optimization and practical aspects of design, control and operation of the column.

Funded by: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), Az.: 34815/01; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Az.: 665461

Involved Members: Lena-Marie Ränger, Ulrich Preißinger, Lea Trescher

Key Publications:

  1. Ränger, Lena-Marie; Preißinger, Ulrich; Grützner, Thomas: Robust initialization of Rigorous Process Simulations of Multiple Dividing Walls Columns via Vmin Diagrams ChemEngineering, 2(2):25, 2018; DOI: 10.3390/chemengineering2020025
  2. Ränger, Lena-Marie; Preißinger, Ulrich; Grützner, Thomas: Multiple Dividing Wall Columns - Current Status and Future Prospects, Chem. Ing. Tech., 91 (4), 2019, 420 - 428; DOI: 10.1002/cite.201800080
  3. Preißinger, Ulrich; Ränger, Lena-Marie; Grützner, Thomas: Design Considerations of Simplified Multiple Dividing Wall Pilot Plant, ChemEngineering, 3, 34, 2019; DOI: 10.3390/chemengineering3020034
  4. Ränger, Lena-Marie; v. Kurnatowski, Martin; Bortz, Michael; Grützner, Thomas: Multi-Objective Optimization of Dividing Wall Columns and Visualization of the High-Dimensional Results, Computers & Chemical Engineering , published online, 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.compchemeng.2020.107059

Additive Manufacturing (3D-Printing) allow the generation of structures which cannot be provided by conventional manufacturing processes. This opens the window to entirely new concepts in thermal process engineering. We are aiming to improve the perfomance and scalability of laboratory equipment with special focus on distillation. Dividing Wall Columns are of special interest in this context since they are not available on a benchtop laboratory scale. We are aiming to provide a tailored, scaleable, computer-aided tool-box for laboratory applications. CFD modeling as well as experimental approaches are applied to investigate the  performance of printed structures in terms of seperation efficiency, fluiddynamics and robustness.

Our developments include all relevant components of columns: jacket, structured packings, liquid distributors, sampling trays, side draw trays etc. All components are computer generated and can be adapted quickly. The characterization is done on the basis of CFD simulations and in a self-developed test rig in the laboratory.

In a further subproject we investigate the interaction of liquids on 3D printed surfaces. In this context, static and dynamic contact angles are investigated and the attempt is made to change them by specific manipulation of printing parameters.

Funded by: BASF (Ludwigshafen)

Involved Members: Johannes Neukäufer, Bilal Ahmad

Key Publications:

  1. Neukäufer, Johannes; Hanusch, Florian; Kutscherauer, Martin; Rehfeldt, Sebastian; Klein, Harald; Grützner, Thomas: Methodik zur Entwicklung additiv gefertigter Packungsstrukturen im Bereich der thermischen Trenntechnik, Chemie Ingenieur Technik, (91) 7, 1014 - 1023, 2019, DOI: 10.1002/cite.201800171
  2. Neukäufer, Johannes; Hanusch, Florian; Kutscherauer, Martin; Rehfeldt, Sebastian; Klein, Harald; Grützner, Thomas: Methodology for the Development of Additively Manufactured Packings in Thermal Separation Technology , Chemical Engineering & Technology, (42) 9, 1970 - 1977, 2019, DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201900220
  3. J. Neukäufer, B. Seyfang, T. Grützner: Investigation of Contact Angles and Surface Morphology of 3D-Printed Materials, Industrial & Chemical Engineering Research, 59 (14), 2020, 6761 - 6766, DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.0c00430

Rotating extraction centrifuges are in the focus of this project. These devices allow a very efficient separation of liquid phases due to high g-forces. Within a relatively small volume extraction centrifuges realize one theoretical stage. Our research aims to establish these modules in the context of flexible and modular production facilities as well as the intensification by performing reactive-separations.

Involved Members: Zaid Hamamah

Within an industrial collaboration with BK Giulini GmbH / ICL Food Specialities we are investigating the calcium-alginate reaction to precipitate vegan protein fibers. The experimental project aims to understand and optimize the gelation reaction and establish a robust continuous production process.

Involved Members: Lena-Marie Ränger