Liquid-Liquid Columns

  Columns in the Pilot Plant labratory of AVT Copyright: © AVT.FVT



Lukas Polte

Scientific Staff


+49 241 80 96758



The development of energy-efficient downstream processes in the chemical industry and biotechnology offers the potential to not only reduce production costs, but also to reduce global CO2 emissions by several million tons [1]. One such process alternative is liquid-liquid extraction, which not only enables the separation of various components, but can also positively influence yield if directly coupled with a reaction. This process is often implemented in counter-current columns. To ensure an optimal extraction or extractive reaction process, the extractant as well as the column dimensions, internals geometries and energy input must be attuned to each other.

The goal of the "Liquid-Liquid Columns" team at AVT.FVT is to design industrial scale columns. For this purpose we develop models which we parameterize and validate based on technical scale experiments.

Therefore, intensive research on the development of models for the simulation of extraction and reactive extraction columns is conducted. In particular, the complex interaction of fluiddynamic phenomena, mass transport and, where applicable, reaction kinetics in the column must be taken into consideration. Depending on the application, the level of detail ranges from simple rate models to complex CFD-based models. To develop new submodels for various phenomena and to validate the overall models, experiments are carried out on technical scale columns. Special attention is paid to the integration of the column into the overall process, both by simulative analysis of the overall process and by experimental integration of the different process steps in the inhouse biorefinery.

Current research priorities are:

  • Model-based solvent screening and apparatus design for extraction and extractive reaction processes.
  • Data-driven and hybrid modeling
  • Experimental investigation on (high pressure) extraction columns and tubular reactors
  • Online diagnostics of liquid-liquid extraction columns (Industry 4.0)

Experimental and simulative student research projects as well as bachelor and master theses are regularly available in the areas mentioned above. Feel free to get in touch with the respective Phd student or have a look at the advertised theses at AVT.FVT.