CEET/Research/Lux Group

Research Orientation

Within the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology (CEET), the Working Group for Chemical Reaction Engineering deals with all aspects of homogeneous and heterogeneous (catalytic) reactions; from the investigation of reaction kinetics to the development of novel apparatuses and processes. The main focus is on intensification of processes through the introduction of chemical conversions for effluent free manufacture.

Two main research strategies are currently being pursued: One of them is in inorganic mineral processing and the other is in extraction of organic compounds from biomass-derived sources. Both projects are aimed at reducing environmental impacts of existing industrial chemical processes. One involves using the same starting material as the conventional process but switches to a radically new chemistry to avoid CO2 emissions. The other uses a different raw material base than the existing processes, and involves the search for feasible separation/concentration methods to recover a particular family of chemicals from a dilute aqueous source, derived from biomass. The application examples represent the two main research fields; hydrogen utilization and storage, and reactive separation processes.

  • Hydrogen utilization and storage, CO2 emission mitigation

The state-of-the-art procedure for beneficiation of inorganic metal carbonates is based on thermal treatment at elevated temperatures to release the carbon dioxide from the carbonaceous ore. In order to mitigate CO2 emissions, an alternative, environmental benign reaction path was developed. Hydrogenation of iron carbonate ores gives access to direct reduction of siderite to pig iron which allows for circumventing the sintering/blast furnace route. This so-called ‘reductive calcination’ process can also be applied to other metal carbonates.

For further upgrading of the product gas from reductive calcination or any CO2 rich exhaust gas in general, CO2 methanation or synthesis of methanol are promising approaches. Synthesis of methane and methanol present potential means for hydrogen storage. Bifunctional catalysts were successfully developed. They show high efficiency and selectivity while being robust and easy to handle. This research field is supported by the design of novel reactor concepts.

  • Reactive separations

The current focus is on the separation of low-molecular weight carboxylic acids from aqueous effluents. This is an important task; not only from an environmental perspective regarding wastewater treatment. It also opens up an important source of yet unused resources from byproduct streams and effluents and, thus, gives access to complete exploitation of (biobased) raw materials.

Two esterification-enhanced separation strategies are currently investigated; reactive distillation and reactive extraction. Reactive distillation may be applied for the regeneration of the solvent from reactive extraction. Consequently, these two separation strategies are closely linked with each other. Emulsion-enhanced biphasic reactions represent another promising solver strategy. In this context, a novel metallosurfactant catalyst was developed that combines surfactant properties with the catalytic effect of transition metals. Both concepts are capable of processing highly dilute aqueous process streams. To provide complete technology routes, the reactive separation concepts can be complemented by pervaporative product purification.

The development of the Taylor-Couette Disc Contactor (TCDC) is a breakthrough in apparatus design. Its use is predestined for reactive extraction. The present research focuses on multiphase flow which enables continuous processing of up to four different phases in one single apparatus.

Projects

  • DiREkT - Direct reduction of iron carbonate, an alternative approach for pig iron production from mineral siderite.

  • AT04 - Emission Reduction for Marine Propulsion Based on Combustion Concept Optimization and Renewable Fuels.

  • RedK - Reductive calcination

Publications

2021
Susanne Lux Direct hydrogen reduction of mineral iron carbonate: effect of matrix constituents in the hydrogen feed Show publication in PURE
2020
Susanne Lux The reaction kinetics of CO2 methanation on a bifunctional Ni/MgO catalyst Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux Iron carbonate ore beneficiation by direct reduction with hydrogen Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux Direktreduktion von Eisenkarbonat mit Wasserstoff Show publication in PURE
2019
Susanne Lux Carbon dioxide methanation with bifunctional catalysts Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux Reaction kinetics of Ni/MgO catalyzed CO2 methanation Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Interfacial Catalysis in Biphasic Carboxylic Acid Esterification with a Nickel-Based Metallosurfactant Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux Utilization of Dilute Carboxylic Acids by Reactive Separations Conference Proceedings of 15th Minisymposium VT Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Iron Carbonate Beneficiation Through Reductive Calcination – Parameter Optimization to Maximize Methane Formation Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux Intramolecular Catalysis in Carboxylic Acid Esterification Show publication in PURE
2018
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Ni/MgO catalysts for CO<sub>2</sub> methanation Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Reduction of CO<sub>2</sub> emissions with Ni/MgO catalysed CO<sub>2</sub> hydrogenation Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer CO<sub>2</sub> Hydrogenation with Ni/MgO Catalysts Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Process Parameter Evaluation for Esterification in Emulsions Conference Proceedings - 14th Minisymposium VT Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Emulsion-based Isolation of Dilute Carboxylic Acids Conference Proceedings - 8th International Thai Institute of Chemical Engineering Conference Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Intensification of esterification through emulsification: isolation of dilute low molecular weight carboxylic acids Show publication in PURE
Susanne Lux and Matthäus Siebenhofer Steady-state and controlled heating rate methanation of CO2 on Ni/MgO in a bench-scale fixed bed tubular reactor Show publication in PURE
Contact
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Susanne Lux
Ass.Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.

Institut für Chemische Verfahrenstechnik und Umwelttechnik
Inffeldgasse 25/C
8010 Graz

Phone
+43 316 873 - 7476

Members
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