The department deals with a variety of topics in the field of chemical engineering and related fields. The focus is on transformation processes in the chemical, steel, plastics or energy industry with regard to the substitution of fossil fuels by sustainable raw material and energy sources.
For example, starting with catalyst and reactor development, through model-based design to technical demonstration, all essential steps in the development and optimization of process engineering are covered. To this end, the interdisciplinary team draws on experimental studies, various tools for modeling processes, components and flows, and pilot-scale plants.
One research focus is on various solution approaches based on the avoidance (Carbon Direct Avoidance, CDA) and utilization and storage (Carbon Capture and Utilization, CCU) of CO2. These include, for example, high-temperature electrolysis for the production of hydrogen or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis for the manufacture of higher-value products.
Another focus is on chemical recycling processes, such as pyrolysis or gasification. This allows non-recyclable plastics, biomasses or mixed fossil wastes to be converted into intermediates on an industrial scale and reused in the chemical industry. At the same time, the economically competitive production of mass products and high-priced specialty products based on indigenous carbon carriers is being investigated.
In this context, the department also considers the coupling of chemical recycling processes with electrochemical conversion processes such as high-temperature electrolysis or synthesis processes such as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. On the one hand, this enables higher-value products such as synthetic kerosene to be manufactured and, on the other, high efficiencies to be achieved. Only the coupling of material, energy and heat flows in total leads to process concepts that offer significant added value compared to previous approaches and provide new raw material and energy resources for a green industry.