Institute of Chemical Engineering

Vienna, Austria

Institute of Chemical Engineering

Vienna, Austria
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News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: phys.org

The method had already been applied successfully in a test facility with 100 kW fuel power. An international research project has now managed to increase the scale of the technology significantly, thus creating all the necessary conditions to enable a fully functional demonstration facility to be built in the 10 MW range. It is much cleaner to burn natural gas than to burn crude oil or coal. However, natural gas has the huge disadvantage that it generates CO2 during combustion, which has a detrimental effect on the climate. The CO2 is usually part of the flue gas mixture, together with nitrogen, water vapour and other substances. In this mixed form, the CO2 can neither be stored nor feasibly recycled. "In the facilities we are working with, however, the combustion process is fundamentally different," explains Stefan Penthor from the Institute of Chemical Engineering at TU Wien. "With our combustion method, the natural gas does not come into contact with the air at all, because we divide the process into two separate chambers." A granulate made of metal oxide circulates between the two chambers and is responsible for transporting oxygen from air to fuel: "We pump air through one chamber, where the particles take up oxygen. They then move on to the second chamber, which has natural gas flowing through it. Here is where the oxygen is released, and then where flameless combustion takes place, producing CO2 and water vapour," explains Penthor. The separation into two chambers means there are two separate flue gas streams to deal with too: air with a reduced concentration of oxygen is discharged from one chamber, water vapour and CO2 from the other. The water vapour can be separated quite easily, leaving almost pure CO2, which can be stored or used in other technical applications. "The large-scale underground storage of CO2 in former natural gas reservoirs could be very significant in the future," believes Stefan Penthor. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also sees underground CO2 storage as an essential component of any future climate policy. However, CO2 can only be stored if it has been separated as pure as possible – just as it is with the new CLC combustion method. By separating the two flue gas streams, there is no longer any need to scrub the CO2 from the flue gas, thus saving a great deal of energy. Despite all this, electricity is generated in the usual way and the amount of energy released is exactly the same as that produced when burning natural gas in the conventional manner. Several years have passed since TU Wien was first able to demonstrate on a test facility that the CLC combustion method works. Now the big challenge was to redesign the process so it could be transferred to large-scale installations that would also be economically viable. Not only did the entire facility design have to be revised, new production methods for the metal oxide particles had to be developed too. "You need many tonnes of these particles for a large facility, so the economic feasibility of the concept depends significantly on being able to produce them easily and to a sufficiently high degree of quality," says Stefan Penthor. The SUCCESS research project has been working on issues like this one for three and a half years now. TU Wien has coordinated the project, involving 16 partner establishments from across the Europe, and between them, the group has managed to resolve all the important technical questions. The revised facility design was based on two fluidised bed technology patents held by TU Wien. "We've reached our goal: we've developed the technology to such a degree that work on a demonstration facility in the 10 MW range can begin any day now," says Stefan Penthor. However, that next step is not one for the research institutes; what is needed now are private or public investors. The technology's success will also depend on political will and on the prevailing conditions within the energy industry of the future. Additionally, this next step is also important because it is the only way to gain the experience necessary to be able to use the technology on an industrial scale in the long term. In the meantime, the TU Wien research team has already set its sights on its next scientific goal: "We want to develop the method further so it can burn not just natural gas, but biomass too," says Penthor. "If biomass were combusted and the CO2 separated out, not only would that be a CO2-neutral process, it would even reduce the total amount of CO2 in the air. So you could produce energy and do something good for the global climate at the same time." Explore further: Using sulfur to store solar energy


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

How can we burn natural gas without releasing CO into the air? This feat is achieved using a special combustion method that TU Wien has been researching for years: chemical looping combustion (CLC). In this process, CO can be isolated during combustion without having to use any additional energy, which means it can then go on to be stored. This prevents it from being released into the atmosphere. The method had already been applied successfully in a test facility with 100 kW fuel power. An international research project has now managed to increase the scale of the technology significantly, thus creating all the necessary conditions to enable a fully functional demonstration facility to be built in the 10 MW range. Isolating CO from other flue gases It is much cleaner to burn natural gas than to burn crude oil or coal. However, natural gas has the huge disadvantage that it generates CO during combustion, which has a detrimental effect on the climate. The CO is usually part of the flue gas mixture, together with nitrogen, water vapour and other substances. In this mixed form, the CO can neither be stored nor feasibly recycled. "In the facilities we are working with, however, the combustion process is fundamentally different," explains Stefan Penthor from the Institute of Chemical Engineering at TU Wien. "With our combustion method, the natural gas does not come into contact with the air at all, because we divide the process into two separate chambers." A granulate made of metal oxide circulates between the two chambers and is responsible for transporting oxygen from air to fuel: "We pump air through one chamber, where the particles take up oxygen. They then move on to the second chamber, which has natural gas flowing through it. Here is where the oxygen is released, and then where flameless combustion takes place, producing CO and water vapour," explains Penthor. The separation into two chambers means there are two separate flue gas streams to deal with too: air with a reduced concentration of oxygen is discharged from one chamber, water vapour and CO from the other. The water vapour can be separated quite easily, leaving almost pure CO , which can be stored or used in other technical applications. "The large-scale underground storage of CO in former natural gas reservoirs could be very significant in the future," believes Stefan Penthor. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also sees underground CO storage as an essential component of any future climate policy. However, CO can only be stored if it has been separated as pure as possible -- just as it is with the new CLC combustion method. By separating the two flue gas streams, there is no longer any need to scrub the CO from the flue gas, thus saving a great deal of energy. Despite all this, electricity is generated in the usual way and the amount of energy released is exactly the same as that produced when burning natural gas in the conventional manner. Several years have passed since TU Wien was first able to demonstrate on a test facility that the CLC combustion method works. Now the big challenge was to redesign the process so it could be transferred to large-scale installations that would also be economically viable. Not only did the entire facility design have to be revised, new production methods for the metal oxide particles had to be developed too. "You need many tonnes of these particles for a large facility, so the economic feasibility of the concept depends significantly on being able to produce them easily and to a sufficiently high degree of quality," says Stefan Penthor. The SUCCESS research project has been working on issues like this one for three and a half years now. TU Wien has coordinated the project, involving 16 partner establishments from across the Europe, and between them, the group has managed to resolve all the important technical questions. The revised facility design was based on two fluidised bed technology patents held by TU Wien. "We've reached our goal: we've developed the technology to such a degree that work on a demonstration facility in the 10 MW range can begin any day now," says Stefan Penthor. However, that next step is not one for the research institutes; what is needed now are private or public investors. The technology's success will also depend on political will and on the prevailing conditions within the energy industry of the future. Additionally, this next step is also important because it is the only way to gain the experience necessary to be able to use the technology on an industrial scale in the long term. In the meantime, the TU Wien research team has already set its sights on its next scientific goal: "We want to develop the method further so it can burn not just natural gas, but biomass too," says Penthor. "If biomass were combusted and the CO separated out, not only would that be a CO -neutral process, it would even reduce the total amount of CO in the air. So you could produce energy and do something good for the global climate at the same time."


Papadia K.,University of Patras | Markoutsa E.,University of Patras | Antimisiaris S.G.,University of Patras | Antimisiaris S.G.,Institute of Chemical Engineering
International Journal of Pharmaceutics | Year: 2016

Nanosized liposomes composed of 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphatidylcholine (DSPC), cholesterol and polyethylene glycol-conjugated phospholipid (PEG), incorporating FITC-dextran (FITC) and in some cases also Rhodamine-conjugated phospholipid (RHO) (as labels) were constructed by the thin film hydration method, followed by extrusion; membranes with pore diameters from 50 to 400 nm were used, while charged vesicles were produced by partially replacing DSPC with 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1′-rac-glycerol) (DSPG). The uptake of liposomes by hCMED/D3 cells was evaluated by measuring FITC in cells, and their permeability across cell monolayers was evaluated, by measuring the FI of liposome associated-FITC and RHO in the receiving side of a monolayer-transwell system. Results prove that liposome size has a significant effect on their uptake and permeability (for both charged and non-charged vesicles). The effect of liposome charge on cell uptake was slight (but significant), however charge (in the range from -2 to -16 mV) did not significantly affect vesicle permeability; a significant decrease was only demonstrated for the liposome with the highest charge. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Vunduk J.,University of Belgrade | Klaus A.,University of Belgrade | Kozarski M.,University of Belgrade | Petrovic P.,Institute of Chemical Engineering | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms | Year: 2015

The birch polypore Piptoporus betulinus was among two mushrooms that were found in the Iceman’s bag. Recent studies indicated that P. betulinus was probably used as a religious and medicinal item. In order to examine the medicinal potential of P. betulinus, hot water (HW), partially purified (PP), and alkali extract (HA) were prepared and tested for antioxidant, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and angiotensin I–converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity. All tested samples exhibited moderate cytotoxic activity, and HW appeared as the most effective (IC50 = 0.8 ± 0.1 mg/ml for HeLa cells). HA proved to be a good 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenger and exhibited the strongest ferric-reducing power (EC50 = 0.07 ± 0.3 mg/ml). The same extract (HA) also expressed the strongest ferric-reducing power (EC50 = 0.99 ± 0.1 mg/ml). Hot alkali extraction contributed significantly to ACE inhibitory activity (EC50 = 0.06 ± 0.00 mg/ml) and to antimicrobial activity, especially against highly resistant Enterococcus faecalis (minimum inhibitory concentration: 0.156 ± 0.000 mg/ml; and minimum bactericidal concentration: 1.25 ± 0.00 mg/ml). © 2015 Begell House, Inc.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Dr. Israel E. Wachs, the G. Whitney Snyder Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Lehigh University, has been named as recipient of the AIChE's top award in chemical reaction engineering. Wachs will be formally recognized with the R. H. Wilhelm Award at the 2016 AIChE Annual Meeting, November 13-18 in San Francisco, CA. AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries. Its Annual Meeting is the premier forum for chemical engineers interested in cutting edge research, new technologies, and emerging growth areas in chemical engineering. The director of Lehigh's Operando Molecular Spectroscopy and Catalysis Laboratory, Wachs' contributions over three decades have been integral to the development of cutting edge research, new technologies and emerging growth areas in chemical reaction engineering. "There can be nothing more central to our profession than reaction engineering," says Mayuresh Kothare, chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Lehigh. "Winning the Wilhelm Award is, therefore, a very special moment for our department, and a fitting way to celebrate Israel's 30 years of pioneering accomplishments in this core area of our discipline." In particular, Dr. Wachs was recognized for "seminal contributions towards development of innovative concepts for molecular chemical reaction engineering of mixed oxide catalyzed reactions by establishing fundamental catalyst molecular structure-activity kinetic relationships." In one project, Wachs leads a team of researchers from Lehigh and the Stevens Institute of Technology that recently announced major advances in the fundamental understanding of a catalytic reaction that directly converts natural gas into valuable liquid fuels (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel). Natural gas, the researchers say, is abundant and inexpensive--but terribly underutilized. More than half the world's known reserves are classified as stranded due to high cost of transport or lack of efficient remote processing technologies. Moreover, when an oil well is drilled, natural gas is often flared--burned off--or vented into the atmosphere, where it contributes significantly to global warming. Worldwide, more than 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas are flared or vented every year due to this practice, roughly equivalent to 20% of all the natural gas consumed annually in the United States. And methane, the main component of natural gas, traps about 86 times more heat over a 20-year period than carbon dioxide. To leverage 'stranded' gas while protecting the environment, new technologies for natural gas conversion are under development. Wachs' team explores the direct conversion of natural gas into liquid aromatic hydrocarbons in a single step without oxidizing reagents. This 'dehydroaromatization' of methane is achieved using catalysts with molybdenum nanostructures supported on shape-selective zeolites. This technology, say the researchers, offers unique advantages over other methane activation chemistries because it does not require the transportation of reagents to remote locations. The Lehigh-Stevens team believes their published results could help overcome one of the biggest technical obstacles--the rapid deactivation of the molybdenum catalyst. The new technologies will address not only the economic issue of natural gas conversion into liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks but also a significant environmental issue. If the current venting and flaring of natural gas can be eliminated, such a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will by itself more than meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for all the participating countries combined. Dr. Wachs' research focuses on the catalysis science of mixed metal oxides (supported metal oxides , bulk metal oxides, polyoxometalates, zeolites and molecular sieves) for numerous catalytic applications (selective oxidation for manufacture of value-added chemicals, environmental catalysis (selective catalytic reduction of NOx and SOx), hydrocarbon conversion by solid acid catalysts for increased fuel energy content, olefin metathesis for on demand production of scarce propylene, olefin polymerization, conversion of methane to liquid aromatic fuels, oxidative coupling of methane to ethylene (the most important intermediate for the chemical industry), biomass pyrolysis for production of liquid fuels, conversion of bioethanol to butadiene for manufacture of green tires (biomass-to-tires), water-gas shift for production of hydrogen and photocatalytic splitting of water for clean hydrogen. His research aims to identify the catalytic active sites present on the heterogeneous catalyst surface to allow establishment of fundamental structure-activity/selectivity relationships that will guide the rational design of advanced catalysts. The research approach taken by the Wachs group is to simultaneously monitor the surface of the catalyst with spectroscopy under reaction conditions and online analysis of reactant conversion and product selectivity with online GC/mass spectrometer analysis. This new methodology has been termed operando spectroscopy and is allowing for the unprecedented development of molecular level structure-activity/selectivity relationships for catalysts. The spectroscopic techniques employed by the Wachs group for determination of the catalytic active sites and surface reaction intermediates are Raman, infrared (IR), ultraviolet- visible (UV-vis), X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XANES/EXAFS), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and Temperature Programmed Surface Reaction (TPSR). Isotopic labeling of Deuterium (heavy Hydrogen-2), Oxygen-18, Nitrogen-15 and Carbon-13 is also used to track reaction pathways, ascertain rate-determining-steps, and distinguish between spectator species and actual surface reaction intermediates. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has previously honored Wachs with a Clean Air Excellence Award for his catalytic process that converts paper-mill pollutants into a usable, valuable product--formaldehyde--for manufacture of resins used in particle board. The American Chemical Society (ACS) has granted Wachs its George A. Olah Award for achievements in hydrocarbon and petroleum chemistry, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) has previously honored Wachs with the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Practice Award. He is also recipient of multiple awards from local catalysis societies in Michigan, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the highest honor bestowed by the society. In 2012, he was recognized with a Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation of Germany, and the Vanadis Award from the International Vanadium Chemistry Organization. Wachs has published more than 300 highly cited technical articles (H index of >90) and holds more than three dozen patents.


Carbon dioxide can be a valuable resource for industry. It can, for example, be used as a fertilizer in greenhouses to improve plant growth. But for reasons of climate protection, it would be problematic to produce CO2 for this purpose, using fossil fuels. Filtering CO2 out of the exhaust gases from industrial processes and turning it into something useful would be much more environmentally friendly. TU Wien is working with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Shell and other partners to develop a new kind of carbon-dioxide separation technique that is both cost and energy efficient. First separation tests in the laboratories at TU Wien have already proven that the technique works. Within the "ViennaGreenCO2" project, supported by the Austrian Climate and Energy Funds, the separation process will now be further developed and the practical viability of the new concept will be demonstrated at pilot scale at Wien Energie's Simmering power plant. "To selectively capture carbon dioxide from exhaust gases, one would usually use aqueous amine solutions as a liquid solvent," says Gerhard Schöny (Institute of Chemical Engineering, TU Wien). However, these amine solvents have significant disadvantages. One major drawback is that a lot of energy is required to remove the CO2 from the solvent after it has been captured. Furthermore, tall absorption towers are needed so that the amine solvent has enough time to come into contact with the flue gas and to absorb the desired amount of CO2. At TU Wien, a different approach for separating CO2 is being followed. "We are also working with amines," explains Schöny. "But not in liquid form." At TU Wien, a fluidised-bed system is being used, in which solid particles come into contact with the flue gas. The amines – which play an important role when separating the CO2 – are applied to the surface of highly porous particles. Schöny is confident that the disadvantages of separation techniques using aqueous amine solutions can largely be overcome that way. Furthermore, the use of fluidised-bed systems may also result in small sizes of the CO2 separation plant itself, which may lead to further reductions of the CO2 capture costs as compared to current separation techniques. The new CO2 separation process has been in development by TU Wien together with Shell since 2011. It is crucial that the flue gas and the flow of active particles move in opposite directions. "With this basic idea in mind, we designed a reactor consisting of multi-stage fluidized bed columns," says Gerhard Schöny. The flue gas moves from the bottom to the top, whereas the particles adsorb more and more CO2 as they move downwards through the adsorber column. The particles are then directed to the regenerator column. There, they are heated up, thereby releasing the CO2 again. The regenerated particles are then sent back to the adsorber to perform another CO2 separation cycle. A bench scale unit has already been built and is being operated at TU Wien, and the concept now needs to be upscaled to pre-industrial levels. "Our bench scale unit can separate around 50 kg of CO2 every day, but now we want to build a pilot plant that can separate 5 tonnes per day," says Schöny. The bench scale unit has already proven that the principle is sound, as it was possible to capture more than 90% of carbon dioxide. One day, it may be possible to combine these CO2 separation reactors with biomass power plants. This would mean that electricity can be produced in a carbon-neutral way while the released "green" CO2 can be captured and used (CCU). Together with the ViennaGreenCO2 consortium partners, TU Wien wants to clarify the last few technical details over the coming years The pilot plant should be operational by 2018.The carbon dioxide that is separated by the pilot unit will be further processed and used as fertiliser in a test greenhouse run by LGV Frischgemüse.


Wu X.,Institute of Chemical Engineering | Wu X.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Zhang B.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Hu Z.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology
Materials Letters | Year: 2013

In this study, we successfully established an additive-free microwave hydrothermal (M-H) route by only using Al2(SO4) 3 aqueous solution and urea as raw materials. Core-shell structured boehmite was synthesized at 180°C for the first time via a M-H route. The final product was characterized by techniques of X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). On account of the fact that less reaction time usually means less energy consumption or more eco-friendly design, the M-H reaction time was successfully reduced to only 40 min by utilizing full microwave heating power and appropriate dosage of urea. To investigate the possible mechanism and influencing factors associated with the morphology and crystal form evolution process, samples subjected to different reaction durations were prepared and characterized. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Wu X.,Institute of Chemical Engineering | Wu X.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Zhang B.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Wang D.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Hu Z.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology
Materials Letters | Year: 2012

Boehmite (γ-AlOOH) hollow microspheres were synthesized via a convenient hydrothermal route. To investigate its crystal form and morphology formation process, samples subjected to different reaction durations from 1 to 24 h were prepared and characterized by techniques of X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). A spontaneous morphology evolution mechanism driven by Ostwald ripening and dissolution-renucleation was proposed based on the experimental facts. We think that systematically understanding and hereby manipulating the morphology evolution process will contribute to fabricate novel morphologies of the materials. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Wu X.,Institute of Chemical Engineering | Wu X.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Zhang B.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology | Hu Z.,Qingdao University of Science and Technology
Materials Letters | Year: 2012

The boehmite (γ-AlOOH) hollow microspheres were synthesized after 120 min reaction time at 150°C for the first time via a microwave hydrothermal route, using Al 2(SO 4) 3 aqueous solution and urea as raw materials and amphiphilic copolymer of P(St)-b-P(HEA) as structure-directing agent. The final product was characterized by techniques of X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The microscope analysis revealed that the boehmite (γ-AlOOH) hollow microspheres were around 1-2 μm in diameter and a shell thickness of approximately 200 nm. To investigate the influencing factors and formation mechanism of the as-obtained boehmite hollow microspheres ultra-fine powders, samples subjected to different reaction durations were also studied by SEM. A self-assembly morphology evolution mechanism was proposed based on the experimental facts. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kubicek C.P.,Austrian Institute of Industrial Biotechnology | Kubicek C.P.,Institute of Chemical Engineering
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2013

Recent progress and improvement in "-omics" technologies has made it possible to study the physiology of organisms by integrated and genome-wide approaches. This bears the advantage that the global response, rather than isolated pathways and circuits within an organism, can be investigated (" systems biology"). The sequencing of the genome of Trichoderma reesei (teleomorph Hypocrea jecorina), a fungus that serves as a major producer of biomass-degrading enzymes for the use of renewable lignocellulosic material towards production of biofuels and biorefineries, has offered the possibility to study this organism and its enzyme production on a genome wide scale. In this review, I will highlight the use of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics towards an improved and novel understanding of the biochemical processes that involve in the massive overproduction of secreted proteins. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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