Fluid Process Engineering

  Droplet-droplet coalescence in a sieve tray extraction column. Copyright: © AVT

Research Topics

  • Low-Energy-Separation Processes
  • Purification Strategies for Biotechnological Processes
  • Intensification of Extraction Processes

The chair of fluid process engineering (AVT.FVT) - headed by Prof. Andreas Jupke since October 2014 - investigates separation and purification of components in fluid mixtures. The focus of research is the further development of low-energy-separation processes. The chair works on the understanding of fundamental phenomena, application oriented optimization and equipment design for well-established but also for new thermal separation techniques.

Research Topics

Biotechnological production of chemicals by fermentation or biocatalysis is one of the key aspects for the replacement of petrochemical derived building blocks for products like polymers or fuels. A major challenge of these processes is the efficient purification of chemicals from bioprocesses. The utilization of aqueous systems and low product concentrations as well as the presence of biomass and various media components lead to a complex and energy-intensive purification. Consequently purification has a significant impact on the operating costs and thus is of high importance for the economic profitability of the products.

Therefore, research at the chair of fluid process engineering focusses on the further development of the low-energy-separation processes extraction, crystallization, adsorption and chromatography, particularly investigating applications for biomass utilization. In the new research building "Next Generation Processes and Products – NGP²" a technical lab-scale bio-refinery will be build, where biomass disintegration and processing will be explored in cooperation with other AVT chairs and external partners.

Further Key research topics in the field of extraction are model based apparatus-design and natural plant extraction which enables the purification of valuable components from plants. Furthermore, innovative approaches for process intensification such as the separation in centrifugal fields, reactive multiphase systems and the influence of particles at liquid-liquid interfaces are investigated.

We offer student and final theses concerning the following topics:

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (e.g. CFD) of Process engineering devices and investigation of coalescence and breakage phenomena in extraction devices (Jan Kampwerth):

Simulativ projects analyzing the fluiddynamic in processes engineering devices to accomplish better operation. Additionally, there are theoretical projects concerning the fluiddynamic and the population behavior of droplets in extraction devices.

  • Innovative concepts for extraction processes by using microgels (Moritz Becker):

Experimental projects on mass transfer, coalescence and sedimentation in microgel-stabilized two phase systems. Theoretical projects dealing with the simulation (CFD) of phenomena at the liquid-liquid interface and the effect of microgels on the interface.

Experimental and simulative work for the extraction of high-value compounds out of plant material. Experimental work for the purification of natural plant extracts. Theoretical investigations for the characterization of plant ingredients.

  • Extraction in Biorefinery processes ( Christian Meyer ):

    Practical and theoretical works for current separation issues in Biorefinery processes. From feedstock fractionation to specific product removal. Integration and coupling of extraction in the overall downstream process.

  • Liquid/Liquid-Separation / phase separation in increased gravitational force fields ( Christian Meyer ):

    Practical and theoretical works to predict phase separation of immiscible liquids (sedimentation and coalescence) by applying higher gravitational forces. Development of innovative lab scale equipment to quantify model parameters for liquid/liquid-phase-separation in centrifugal equipment.

Experimental work for the determination of mass transfer processes at high pressures and temperatures using spectroscopic in - situ analysis, commissioning of a new reaction cell for the measurement of reaction kinetics in catalytic multiphase systems , modeling of mass transfer and reaction kinetics (MatLab , gPROMS ) as the basis for a model-based equipment design.

Publications of Fluid Process Engineering