How to win the snooker game? Alternative energy forms for intensification and control of chemical reactions

Andrzej Stankiewicz (Intensified Reaction and Separation Systems, TU Delft Process Technology Institute, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

Location: Sala de Graus, ETSEQ
Start time: April 30, 2013, 12 p.m.


The control of chemical reaction pathways at molecular level presents undoubtedly the most important scientific challenge on the way to fully sustainable, thermodynamically-efficient chemical processes. Minimization or elimination of waste, reduction of separation operations which are responsible for circa 40% of energy consumption in chemical and related industries and possibility for tailored manufacturing of new, advanced products —these are the most obvious advantages of a better molecular reaction control.

Despite several Nobel prizes awarded for fundamental works in the area of the reaction dynamics and molecular reaction control (Herschbach, Lee and Polanyi, 1986), chemical reactors developed and used thus far offer a very limited degree of control of molecular events. In those reactors improvement of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution in order to bring more molecules at the energy levels exceeding the activation energy threshold occurs conventionally via conductive heating. However, conductive heating offers only a macroscopic control upon the process and is thermodynamically inefficient.

It is clear that in order to meet the future needs of sustainable world, a new generation of chemical reactors, which I call “perfect reactors”, must emerge. A groundbreaking solution in those reactors will consist in creating a reaction environment, in which the geometry of molecular collisions is controlled while energy is transferred selectively from the source to the required molecules in the required form, in the required amount, at the required moment, and at the required position.

The lecture is illustrated with examples of various paths towards “perfect chemical reactors” explored within the Chair of Intensified Reaction and Separation Systems at Delft University of Technology. Those paths include the use of lasers and electric fields to control molecular alignment/orientation
and the local use of electromagnetic irradiation for molecular activation. New concepts of chemical and catalytic reactors based on the above alternative energy forms are presented.

Email announcement

About Andrzej Stankiewicz

Institution: Intensified Reaction and Separation Systems, TU Delft Process Technology Institute, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Andrzej Stankiewicz is Professor of Process Intensification at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. With more than 30 years of industrial and academic research experience, he is author or co-author of ca. 100 publications on chemical reaction engineering, industrial catalysis and process intensification, and holds several patents in the field. He is co-author and editor of the world’s first book on Process Intensification: “Re-Engineering the Chemical Processing Plant”. Andrzej Stankiewicz is also Editor of Elsevier’s journal “Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification” and Series Editor of the Green Chemistry Books Series (RCS). He was founder and the first Chairman of the Working Party on Process Intensification at the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He currently chairs the Board of the European Process Intensification Centre (EUROPIC). Andrzej Stankiewicz received his M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from Warsaw University of Technology and a Ph.D. degree from the Industrial Chemistry Research Institute in Warsaw. Professor Stankiewicz has recently been awarded the prestigious Advanced Investigator Grant by the European Research Council, for carrying out research on “perfect chemical reactors”.

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