Aniket S. Ambekar

Project title:Novel packings for gas-liquid packed bed reactors

Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Host Supervisor: Prof. dr. ir. J. A. M. (Hans) Kuipers

Co-host Institution: Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Co-host Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kai-Olaf Hinrichsen

Summary project: Several applications in the chemical process industry involve gas-liquid flows through packed beds like CO2 absorption, hydrodesulfurization of petroleum cuts to produce clean fuels, hydrogenation, and so forth. Conventionally, packed bed reactors are vertical beds randomly filled with catalyst particles of varying shapes, through which the gas and liquid reactants flow simultaneously. The local liquid mal-distribution and partial wetting of catalyst particles deteriorate the performance of these reactors. The local liquid distribution is a strong function of packing characteristics like shape, aspect ratio, surface-texture, and so forth, other than the gas-liquid and fluid-solid interactions. Therefore, to meet the goals of reduction in CO2 emissions, set by the European Union or to produce cleaner fuels, it is essential to improve the local liquid distribution and catalyst wetting efficiency of packed beds with conventional packings and to develop highly-efficient structured packings. In view of this, the present work focuses on the investigation of particle-scale liquid distribution of packed beds with varying packing characteristics using particle-resolved simulations performed using Volume-of-Fluid method. The planned work aims to develop novel particle shapes to improve the particle-scale liquid distribution and wetting efficiency of existing packed beds as well as to develop highly-efficient structured packings by identifying and analyzing the geometrical characteristics of existing particle-shapes and structured packings that promote efficient particle-scale liquid spreading. Thus, the proposed work intends to get one step closer to developing hydrodynamically-efficient packed bed reactors which are crucial to the chemical process industry.

Aniket S. Ambekar