Advanced energy and chemical plants require new reactors and processes designed to combine high efficiency, attractive economics and reduced pollutant emissions. A possible solution to intensify the process is the combination of reaction and separation in a single unit operation. A gas-solid reactor consists of a bed filled with particles which react if exposed in a certain environment and afterward they are regenerated. Several very promising processes proposed for near-zero emission from industry (such as chemical looping or sorption technologies as well as several acid gas removal processes) are based on gas solid reactions. Most of these processes combine exothermic and endothermic reactions so that the proper integration will become essential to achieve high efficiency with near-zero emissions. The aim of this PhD project is to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating the exothermic reaction of chemical looping combustion integrated with the endothermic reaction of paraffins (C2-C4) dehydrogenation using a combined catalytic and gas-solid process under relevant operating conditions. The main challenge with such chemical looping system is the requirement of excellent gas-solids contact in both reactors in order to achieve satisfactory fuel conversion, a suitable material which is able to transfer heat and oxygen through the reactions without losing in selectivity for the desirable process.. An absolute necessity for the scale-up of reactors for this technology is the availability of adequate oxygen carrier material. The proper integration is essential to achieve high efficiency with near-zero emissions. Applicants are invited for a PhD Studentship under the supervision of Dr. Vincenzo Spallina in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science of the University of Manchester. The aim of this PhD project is to demonstrate the feasibility of gas-solid reactors for chemical process such as hydrogen and/or gas-to-liquids (e.g. methanol or ammonia), under relevant operating conditions. The project combines experimental testing, material characterisation and proof-of-concept of the technology. The candidate is expected to: i) testing the existing OC/catalyst; ii); select the proper reactor layout and, iii) develop a computational model to describe the reactor behaviour; iv) validate the technology in a proper lab facility.
Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemical, Process and Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and or any other related degree. Candidates with a good background in mathematics and computer coding experience in numerical optimisation, as well as good understanding of the reactor engineering concepts are desirable.