You are on page 1of 7

MSC Project Descriptions 2012/13 Supplementary List

MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering


Students taking the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering can choose a project from this list or any of the other lists. ACE109. Theoretical studies of adsorption enhanced reaction in fluidised bed systems (See also PSE) Dr. Esat Alpay (ACEX361) and Prof. David Chadwick (RODH235) Adsorption enhanced reaction (AER) processes combine separation and reaction into a single unit. Such processes enable, for example, the concentration of a product or waste gas and relatively high reactant conversion and / or lower temperatures of operation. Recently, much attention has been given to fluidised bed configurations for AER operation, as pressure-drop, high heat transfer alternatives to fixed-bed configurations. The project will involve the development of mathematical models to explore cyclic adsorption and reaction in fluidised bed systems. Different operating modes will be studied including circulating and dual fluidised-bed systems. Particular attention will be given to hydrogen production from steam methane reforming and, in a similar way, CO2 capture and reduction from large-point sources. As part of the study, a review of current trends in adsorbent-based CO2 and H2 capture will be undertaken. Key areas: adsorptive separation; catalytic reactions; reaction engineering; mathematical modelling and numerical simulation; CO2 capture; H2 production. ACE110. Preparing oxygen carriers for Chemical-looping combustion applications Dr. Paul Fennell (BONE 228a) Development of a commercially viable carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for fossil fuel power generation is vital if the anticipated effects of anthropogenic climate change are to be avoided. A key challenge facing the development of CCS technology is that CO 2 must be obtained from power stations in a pure stream to limit costs and other logistical issues associated with CO2 transport and storage. CO2 capture is the most energy intensive and therefore most expensive component of the CCS chain. Current CO2 capture technologies are able to capture between 85 95% of the CO2 produced from power stations; however processes equipped with CCS require between 10 40% more energy than an equivalent process without CCS (IPCC, 2005). The extra CO2 generated as a consequence of the extra fuel consumption has the effect of lowering the CO2 capture efficiency to 80 90% for a constant power output. It is estimated that CO2 capture with currently commercial CCS technologies would increase the cost of electricity by between 20 85% (IPCC, 2005). As a result a significant research effort is being invested in the development of less energy intensive, more efficient and therefore cheaper CO 2 capture processes. Chemical-looping combustion (CLC) is one such technology, in which a regenerable solid sorbent (oxygen carrier), typically a metal oxide is used to transfer oxygen from the combustion air to the fuel such that direct contact between the air and the fuel is avoided. As a consequence two flue streams are generated, one comprising of oxygen depleted air, the other, CO2 and H2O. Cooling of the combustion flue stream causes the water vapour to condense out yielding a near-pure stream of CO2 for sequestration. The summation of the enthalpies of oxygen carrier oxidation (in air) and oxygen carrier reduction (by the fuel) is

equal to the enthalpy of fuel combustion. Therefore CO2 separation is achieved without the energy penalty typically associated with CO2 capture. The oxygen carrier is the salient feature of a CLC process; hence the majority of CLC research focuses on oxygen carrier development. In the Fennell group, a number of PhD students are currently investigating different aspects of the CLC process utilising iron and copper oxide-based oxygen carriers. The MSc students chosen for this exciting project will work alongside these PhD students, trialling and developing different techniques for preparing iron and copper based oxygen carriers. The MSc students will then assess the suitability of the particles that they have prepared for CLC applications using a range of different standard tests and experimental rigs including a TGA, fluidised bed reactor and fixed bed reactor. Particular emphasis will be placed on trialling preparation techniques that have the potential to be scaled up to a commercial scale. ACE111. Degradation Behaviour of New Solvents for CO2 Capture (see also SPE) Dr. Daryl Williams (Bone 439) In the very near future, the development of low carbon footprint methods for power generation will become a societal imperative. One method for achieving this goal is to capture the CO2 emitted from the flue gases of gas and coal fired power stations. The solvents used in the post combustion CO2 capture process (separating chemically CO2 from N2) represents the largest single cost component, because of their effect on both operational as well as capital costs. A new and unique class of solvents have been recently developed which have significant potential to reduce the solvent regeneration energy footprint by up to 40% as compared to the industrially standard monoethanol amine process. Such major improvements in higher overall system efficiencies are critical for the future commercialisation of post combustion CO2 capture processes. In addition, this new class of capture solvents appear to exhibit relatively decomposition and degradation rates, resulting in much lower solvent operational costs and lower environmental emissions. This project will investigate experimentally the decomposition and degradation rates for a small set of new solvent formulations. These solvent formulations will be exposed to simulated flue gases and temperature cycled, mimicking the industrial carbon capture process. Solvent degradation rates and related decomposition mechanisms will be determined by monitoring changes in the solvent composition using atomic absorption spectroscopy as well as GC-MS. This project will be run closely in conjunction with the solvent manufacturer, Clean Carbon Solutions.

ACE112 Corrosion Performance of Metals in New Solvents for CO2 Capture (see also SPE) Dr. Daryl Williams (Bone 439) In the very near future, the development of low carbon footprint methods for power generation will become a societal imperative. One method for achieving this goal is to capture the CO2 emitted from the flue gases of gas and coal fired power stations. The solvents used in the post combustion CO2 capture process (separating chemically CO2 from N2) represents the largest single cost component, because of their effect on both operational as well as capital costs. A new and unique class of solvents have been recently developed which have significant potential to reduce the solvent regeneration energy footprint by up to 40% as compared to the industrially standard monoethanol amine process. Such major improvements in higher overall system efficiencies are critical for the future commercialisation of post combustion CO2 capture processes. In addition, this new class of capture solvents appear to exhibit relatively lower corrosion rates, enabling the use of carbon steel as compared to stainless steel for plant fabrication.

Hence, the use of these solvents offers potential significant savings on capital expenditure for plant construction. This project will investigate experimentally the rates of corrosion of these new solvents, compared to current solvents, for a series of typical materials used in plant manufacture including stainless steel 316 and 304, mild steel and aluminium. Selected coupons of these materials will be challenged with the solvents and the coupon corrosion behaviour will be evaluated using surface spectroscopy and laser surface profilometry, whilst changes in the solvent composition will be studied using atomic absorption spectroscopy as well as GCMS. This project will be run closely in conjunction with the solvent manufacturer, Clean Carbon Solutions. ACE 113 Model fluids for transport phenomena studies A Syngenta Project
Dr. Christos Markides (ACEX 404), Dr. Edo Boek (ACEX 412) and Prof. Paul Luckham (BONE 426)

Mixing in batch vessels is a key unit operation across the chemicals industry. Physical phenomena including heat transfer, mass transfer and solids suspension have been widely studied in stirred tanks to optimise manufacturing processes. In particular, the role of heat transfer in a stirred tank can be critical to not only product purity but also safety where significant reaction exotherms need to be controlled. A range of different and increasingly more difficult rheologies is being used in practice at Syngenta. This requires appropriately scaled down mixing experiments. Excellence in these requires: a) properly scaled down vessels and operating conditions, a subject that is well documented already; b) the selection of a model fluid that simulates the real fluid rheology as much as possibly, and ideally is transparent to allow visualization studies. Even better would be pH stability and no buffering event, to allow acid-base visualization. The objective of this project is to address point b) above. The student will study the literature to summarize best practice, but rheology information tends to be provided in the form of [INPUT=fluid, OUTPUT=rheology]. For model fluids for mixing studies, the desired form must be [INPUT=desired rheology, OUTPUT=recommended fluid(s)]. This reversal in work flow is far from trivial. The first output will be a selection guide. The second output will be a library of model fluid rheology properties (curves and best fits to standard models). The third output could be a journal article for a general chemical engineering publication.

MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with Process Systems Engineering


Students taking the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with Process Systems Engineering must choose a project from this list, and will be given priority on these projects. Students taking the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering can choose from this list.

PSE37. Theoretical studies of adsorption enhanced reaction in fluidised bed systems (see also ACE) Dr. Esat Alpay (ACEX361) and Prof. David Chadwick (RODH235) Adsorption enhanced reaction (AER) processes combine separation and reaction into a single unit. Such processes enable, for example, the concentration of a product or waste gas and relatively high reactant conversion and / or lower temperatures of operation. Recently, much attention has been given to fluidised bed configurations for AER operation, as pressure-drop, high heat transfer alternatives to fixed-bed configurations. The project will involve the development of mathematical models to explore cyclic adsorption and reaction in fluidised bed systems. Different operating modes will be studied including circulating and dual fluidised-bed systems. Particular attention will be given to hydrogen production from steam methane reforming and, in a similar way, CO2 capture and reduction from large-point sources. As part of the study, a review of current trends in adsorbent-based CO2 and H2 capture will be undertaken. Key areas: adsorptive separation; catalytic reactions; reaction engineering; mathematical modelling and numerical simulation; CO2 capture; H2 production. PSE38. Refinery-Wide Optimization using Distributed Real-Time Optimization Systems (Petrobras Project) Dr. Benoit Chachuat (RODH C501) Oil refineries are very complex process systems comprising a wide range of unit operations, that convert raw crude oil into a large number of valuable petroleum products. The basic steps include separation of the raw crude into various products usually in crude distillation columns; conversion of the different products into a high grade petroleum product usually involve fluid-catalytic cracking (FCC) and alkylation units; and blending of the intermediate products to meet market specifications. These complex operations offer a large number of possible combinations, which make the decision-making process extremely challenging. It is precisely the role of real-time optimization (RTO) to help with such decision making, by relying on detailed mathematical models. However, the complexity and large-scale nature of the process make it particularly hard to devise efficient and reliable RTO systems. The development of distributed RTO systems offers much promise in this regard, both to reduce computational complexity and to facilitate maintenance. The main idea is to consider the various RTO systems as agents and coordinate them by exchanging information in order to provide stability guarantees and to minimize performance loss. The general objective of this MSc project will be to assess the potential of distributed RTO systems for refinery-wide optimization. The projects will be carried out in collaboration with Petrobras R&D Center (CEMPES), an industrial partner, who will be supervising the developments and provide data for the case studies. An approach using sensitivity-based coordination will be considered, which is adapted from the area of distributed model predictive control (MPC). Simple applications involving two or three units will be considered to begin with, such as an FCC unit or a crude distillation unit. The RTO systems for each unit will feature surrogate models, which will be derived from detailed simulation models developed by Petrobras. In an objective to ease the development and testing, the

implementation will use Matlab or GAMS. PSE 39. Global Sensitivity Analysis, Meta-Modelling and Optimization of Ethanol Production Process Prof. Nilay Shah (RODH C502) & Dr. Sergei Kucherenko (RODH C505) In this project we apply Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) to a practical problem of Ethanol Production. GSA quantifies the relative importance of all input model parameters in determining the value of the output variable. It can be used to rank variables, fix unessential variables or decrease dimensionality of the problem. We will use Sobol-HDMR metamodelling software for building two different types of metamodels of Ethanol Production Process. The software also will be used for GSA. The results of GSA should allow us to perform complexity reduction ( model dimensionality ). We will compare the accuracy of the full and the reduced model and use both models for parameter estimations. Then we will apply the advanced methods of global optimization for process optimization. A large component of the work will be computational and would require a good knowledge of C++ or C and MATLAB. Techniques to learn in this project: Monte Carlo and Quasi Monte Carlo methods, global sensitivity analysis, metamodelling techniques, global optimization methods, general PROcess Modelling System (gPROMS).

MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with Structured Product Engineering


Students taking the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering with Structured Product Engineering must choose a project from this list, and will be given priority on these projects. Students taking the MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering can choose from this list.

SPE42. Degradation Behaviour of New Solvents for CO2 Capture (see also ACE) Dr. Daryl Williams (Bone 439) In the very near future, the development of low carbon footprint methods for power generation will become a societal imperative. One method for achieving this goal is to capture the CO2 emitted from the flue gases of gas and coal fired power stations. The solvents used in the post combustion CO2 capture process (separating chemically CO2 from N2) represents the largest single cost component, because of their effect on both operational as well as capital costs. A new and unique class of solvents have been recently developed which have significant potential to reduce the solvent regeneration energy footprint by up to 40% as compared to the industrially standard monoethanol amine process. Such major improvements in higher overall system efficiencies are critical for the future commercialisation of post combustion CO2 capture processes. In addition, this new class of capture solvents appear to exhibit relatively decomposition and degradation rates, resulting in much lower solvent operational costs and lower environmental emissions. This project will investigate experimentally the decomposition and degradation rates for a small set of new solvent formulations. These solvent formulations will be exposed to simulated flue gases and temperature cycled, mimicking the industrial carbon capture process. Solvent degradation rates and related decomposition mechanisms will be determined by monitoring changes in the solvent composition using atomic absorption spectroscopy as well as GC-MS. This project will be run closely in conjunction with the solvent manufacturer, Clean Carbon Solutions SPE 43. Corrosion Performance of Metals in New Solvents for CO2 Capture (see also ACE) Dr. Daryl Williams (Bone 439) In the very near future, the development of low carbon footprint methods for power generation will become a societal imperative. One method for achieving this goal is to capture the CO2 emitted from the flue gases of gas and coal fired power stations. The solvents used in the post combustion CO2 capture process (separating chemically CO2 from N2) represents the largest single cost component, because of their effect on both operational as well as capital costs. A new and unique class of solvents have been recently developed which have significant potential to reduce the solvent regeneration energy footprint by up to 40% as compared to the industrially standard monoethanol amine process. Such major improvements in higher overall system efficiencies are critical for the future commercialisation of post combustion CO2 capture processes. In addition, this new class of capture solvents appear to exhibit relatively lower corrosion rates, enabling the use of carbon steel as compared to stainless steel for plant fabrication. Hence, the use of these solvents offers potential significant savings on capital expenditure for plant construction. This project will investigate experimentally the rates of corrosion of these new solvents, compared to current solvents, for a series of typical materials used in plant manufacture including stainless steel 316 and 304, mild steel and aluminium. Selected coupons of these

materials will be challenged with the solvents and the coupon corrosion behaviour will be evaluated using surface spectroscopy and laser surface profilometry, whilst changes in the solvent composition will be studied using atomic absorption spectroscopy as well as GCMS. This project will be run closely in conjunction with the solvent manufacturer, Clean Carbon Solutions.