The Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) invites applications for the position of
Design of a fluidized-bed based plasma catalytic reactor
Project: Surface-COnfined fast-modulated Plasma for process and Energy intensification in small molecules conversion (SCOPE)
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
The Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry provides academic education and research at the highest international standards. Staff develop technology and scientific knowledge, thereby meeting long-term societal needs. Scientific curiosity and new insights in the department’s field are the points of departure for constant improvement of its areas of expertise in the two thematic clusters Molecular Systems & Materials Chemistry and Chemical & Process Technology. The department was founded in 1957, and has some 500 staff members, 14 full-time professors, 470 Bachelor’s and Master’s students, 50 Post-Master’s students and 190 doctoral candidates.
TU/e is a leading international university of technology specializing in Engineering Science & Technology. Through excellent teaching and research we contribute to progress in the technical sciences, to the development of technological innovations, and as a result to the growth of prosperity and welfare in the region and beyond. TU/e maintains close links with industry, healthcare and the building and logistics sectors.
The aim of this research project is to develop a plasma-assisted methane coupling process using fluidized bed catalysts in the plasma zone. Ethylene will be produced as the main product through non-thermal plasma, and the efficiency of process will be optimized. Tailor made catalytic reactors will be made to increase the plasma-catalyst interaction.
The research tasks of this PhD candidate include:
(1) Design of a plasma fluidized bed reactor
Recently non thermal plasma technology and plasma-catalysis interaction have gained much attention from the chemical industry. Currently, the energy consumption of plasma-catalytic reactor is generally high for chemical conversions such as CH4 coupling and CO2 utilization. A novel catalytic plasma reactor will be developed where catalyst particles will be present in the plasma zone for very short residence time. Several reactor concepts will be investigated. The best configuration will be chosen, a reactor prototype will be built, and it will be used in kinetic studies.
(2) Investigation of methane coupling by non-thermal plasma.
Investigation on the plasma-catalysts interaction in the chosen reactor will be conducted in the methane coupling reaction with or without CO2 addition to the feed. The mechanism, i.e. the discharge characteristics, hydrodynamics, heat transfer and mass transfer will be analyzed to offer a further insight of plasma fluidized beds. The main goal of this task is to improve the energy efficiency of the plasma reactor by achieving better plasma-catalysts interactions. Various plasma discharge types will be explored including Gliding arc discharge, microplasma and dielectric barrier discharges. A conventional micro packed-bed plasma reactor will also be investigated as a benchmark. Diagnostics and characterization of plasma in the developed reactor/system will be performed. The catalyst characterization will be performed before and after reaction.
CH4 valorization to produce longer C-chain hydrocarbons, and especially ethylene and propylene, which are the building blocks of current petrochemistry (over 200 Mt/y production). Their current production from methane requires a multistep and energy-intensive process: syngas production, methanol synthesis and methanol-to-olefin conversion. Direct conversion of CH4 to these olefins using non-thermal plasma can decrease the carbon footprint by over 60% and thus realize a breakthrough novel process, suitable for example to exploit the large current reserves of stranded gas or shale gas. This project will investigate how new kinds of plasma and their symbiotic interaction with proprietary catalysts can be harnessed to transform the production of longer C-chain hydrocarbons. The plasma process could be powered by renewable energy and working without greenhouse gas emission or waste production, making the process environment-friendly.
This is a multi-disciplinary project and the PhD student will work in close cooperation with other students and a post-doc working on the process design and CFD modelling of reaction kinetics.
The ideal candidate has an M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering or related discipline. A sound background in physical transport phenomena, chemical reactor design and/or applied catalysis is required. Other requirements are excellent analytic and communicative skills. You are fluent in English and you like to work in a multidisciplinary team.
We offer a challenging job for four years in a highly motivated team at a dynamic and ambitious University. You will work with innovative analytic equipment and you will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together. The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world en part of the European technology hotspot ‘Brainport Eindhoven’; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists! The gross monthly salary in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), starts with € 2.266,- in the first year to € 2.897,- in the fourth year. Besides this the TU/e has holiday- and end-of the year allowances, an excellent package of attractive benefits for employees and a modern sports complex. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. Especially for PhD students the TU/e also offers opportunities for personal development. We do this by offering every PhD student a series of courses that are part of the Proof program as an excellent addition to your scientific education.
More information about the project can be obtained from Prof.dr. Evgeny Rebrov (e-mail: E.Rebrov(at)tue.nl). More information about the Eindhoven University of Technology at: www.tue.nl. More information about job conditions and application can be obtained with mrs. Sandra van de Werijer (email: p.j.v.d.weijer(at)tue.nl)
Please upload your application (consisting of a motivation letter, curriculum vitae, list of courses followed (with grades) and the name and email address of at least two references).
Applications will be considered as of this moment until 29th January, 2020.