Laboratory of Chemical Reaction Engineering

Research Focus and Overview

The research focus of the group is on controlling the transport trajectories in chemical reactors by structuring at different length and time scales. Therefore, porous catalysts and multiphase reactors are structured and systematically studied under dynamic operation conditions. The inherent interplay between transport properties and structure is evaluated by combination of physical as well as numerical experiments with emphasis on syngas reactions for chemical energy conversion and storage.

The expertise in the group covers synthesis and characterization of porous, solid catalysts, experimental evaluation of chemical reactors, modeling and simulation of multiphase reactors as well as unsteady-state process operation.

Head of Laboratory: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Güttel

Structured Catalysts and Reactors

The project aims at the development of nanostructured core-shell catalysts for syngas reactions (Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, CO/CO2 methanation), which are robust under the harsh reaction conditions and thus stable for long operation periods. Furthermore, these materials are proven to allow tuning the product selectivity for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In order to transfer the promising features into application, the project also covers the continuous synthesis as well as the immobilization on support structures, such as honeycombs.

Key Publications:

  1. Sánchez, A., Milt, V.G., Miró, E.E., Güttel, R. (2020). Ceramic fiber-based structures as catalyst supports: a study on mass and heat transport behavior applied to CO2 methanation. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 59 (38) 16539-16552. doi: 10.1021/acs.iecr.0c01997
  2. Kirchner, J., Zambrzycki, C., Baysal, Z., Kureti, S., Güttel, R. (2020). Fe based core-shell model catalysts for the reaction of CO2 with H2. Reaction Kinetics, Mechanisms and Catalysis, 131 (1) 119-128. doi:10.1007/s11144-020-01859-9
  3. Ilsemann, J., Straß-Eifert, A., Friedland, J., Kiewidt, L., Thöming, J., Bäumer, M., Güttel, R. (2019). Cobalt@Silica core-shell catalysts for hydrogenation of CO/CO2 mixtures to methane. ChemCatChem 11, 4884-4893. doi:10.1002/cctc.201900916
  4. Güttel, R., Turek, T. (2016). Improvement of Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis through Structuring on Different Scales. Energy Technology 4 (1) 44-54. doi:10.1002/ente.201500257
  5. Kruse, N., Machoke, A. G., Schwieger, W., Güttel, R. (2015). Nanostructured Encapsulated Catalysts for Combination of Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis and Hydroprocessing. ChemCatChem 7 (6) 1018-1022. doi:10.1002/cctc.201403004

Unsteady-State Reactor Operation

Unsteady-state reactor operation is one of the main challenges for the efficient utilization of renewable ressources in the chemical value chain, since it requires a deep understanding of the involved processes at multiple time and length scales. From scientific viewpoint the systematic analysis of reactor dynamics provides a high information density, which can only be evaluated by sophisticated combination of physical and numerical experimentation. The project aims at developing such methods in order to allow for application in Power-to-X processes.

Key Publications:

  1. Theurich, S., Rönsch, S., Güttel, R. (2019). Transient Flow Rate Ramps for Methanation of Carbon Dioxide in an Adiabatic Fixed-Bed Recycle Reactor. Energy Technology, in press. doi:10.1002/ente.201901116
  2. Matthischke, S., Rönsch, S., Güttel, R. (2018). Start-up time and load range for the methanation of carbon dioxide in a fixed-bed recycle reactor. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 57 (18) 6391–6400. doi:10.1021/acs.iecr.8b00755
  3. Meyer, D., Friedland, J., Kohn, T., Güttel, R. (2017). Transfer Functions for Periodic Reactor Operation: Fundamental Methodology for Simple Reaction Networks. Chemical Engineering & Technology 40 (11) 2096-2103. doi:10.1002/ceat.201700122
  4. Güttel, R. (2013). Study of Unsteady-State Operation of Methanation by Modeling and Simulation. Chemical Engineering & Technology 36 (10) 1675-1682. doi:10.1002/ceat.201300223

Multiphase Reactions and Reactors

Gas-liquid reactions for stoichiometric conversion and heterogeneously catalysed reactions are of great importance in the chemical industry. For very fast kinetics and highly exothermic reactions the design of suitable reactors with superior efficiency is highly demanding, as convective and conductive heat and mass transfer depend on often chaotic hydrodynamics. The aim is the development of experimental equipment and simulation models to gather reliable kinetic data for reactor design and scale up.

Key Publications:

  1. Meyer, D., Schumacher, J., Friedland, J., Güttel, R (2020). Hydrogenation of CO/CO2 Mixtures on Nickel Catalysts: Kinetics and Flexibility for Nickel Catalysts. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 59 (33) 14668-14678. doi:10.1021/acs.iecr.0c02072
  2. Lechner, M., Kastner, K., Chan, C. J., Güttel, R., Streb, C. (2018). Aerobic Oxidation Catalysis by a Molecular Barium Vanadium Oxide. Chemistry - A European Journal 24 (19) 4952-4956. doi:10.1002/chem.201706046
  3. Lechner, M., Güttel, R., Streb, C. (2016). Challenges in polyoxometalate-mediated aerobic oxidation catalysis: catalyst development meets reactor design. Dalton Transactions 45, 16716-16726. doi:10.1039/C6DT03051C


Paper on Catalyst Characterization

Our paper on catalyst characterization via chemisorption is published (see 10.1002/cctc.202000278). It introduces a new methodology using an example for methanation. Importantly, we also provide additional data and the evaluation procedure implemented to Excel and Python ready to use.

On Television

Cleaning water from micro plastics with magnetic nanoparticles even brought us on TV (in German). Great cooperation with Carsten Streb and Scott Mitchell.

Crazy October

Two papers have been accepted short after one another: One describes cleaning waste water with magnetic particles from micro plastics, heavy metals and microbes (see 10.1002/anie.201912111). The other one deals with the dynamic behavior of a fixed-bed loop reactor for methanation (see 10.1002/ente.201901116). Both very different, but not less interesting.

DFG grants project

The "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" grants a project to investigate bi-functional nano reactors for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The aim is to control the product distribution, which is usually very broad. The project continues our previous work.

Successful cooperation

The beneficial effect of a confined reaction locus for the COx methanation is demonstrated by comparing a cobalt containing core‐shell catalyst‐ Co@mSiO2‐with a supported Co/mSiO2 reference catalyst possessing the same Co particle size distribution as well as surface chemistry as the core‐shell catalyst. Further, simultaneous CO/CO2 methanation experiments prove the catalyst's ability to react flexibly to changing feeds. In fact, a process intensification can be achieved under nearly balanced feed conditions.

Ilsemann, Straß-Eifert, Friedland, Kiewidt, Thöming, Bäumer, Güttel, ChemCatChem 11 (2019) 4884. (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Vector project granted

The Vector foundation granted our proposal on light enhanced methanation of CO2. This joint project, together with Dirk and Sven, allows us to strengthen our expertise photo-chemistry and chemical engineering.