Dutch-sponsored researcher Keshav Ruthiya has made considerable improvements to a so-called slurry bubble column. The chemical industry uses these bubble columns for reactions between gases and liquids, for example, for organic wastewater purification or the synthesis of hydrocarbons. Various companies are interested in using Ruthiyas results in commercial reactors.
Ruthiya investigated how catalyst particles adhere to gas bubbles in a slurry bubble column. Slurry bubble columns are used a lot in the chemical industry. The gases are pumped into the bottom of a column with a liquid suspension of particles (slurry) and then bubble upwards. These reactors are cheap and easy to construct and are therefore very popular.
The researcher made a model that described the influence of the catalyst particles and other substances present on the mass transfer, the hydrodynamics and the reaction rate in the column. The new insights obtained have led to improved designs and therefore cost savings for this type of reactor. This will improve the competitiveness of the chemical industry. Companies involved in the project such as Shell, Akzo Nobel, Engelhard and DSM Research are very interested in the results of the research.
Prof. J.C. Schouten | EurekAlert!
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