The IRS Chair is one of the world leaders in the field of Process Intensification. Advancing novel, sustainable solutions by bridging process technology research to other scientific disciplines presents the core of our vision. The main objective of the programme is development of fundamentally new concepts of “perfect” chemical reactors and separation systems. The program addresses both the middle-term sustainability issues of chemical and biochemical industries, as well as the long-term issues related to grand societal challenges, energy, environment and health in particular.
The programme conducts fundamental and applied multidisciplinary research focusing on local control of activation and transport processes. More specifically, in our research we develop new methods and related equipment to influence and control molecular interactions in systems in which such interaction play crucial role, including reactions, distillation and crystallization. The research involves a combination of experimental work and modelling studies and spans all relevant length scales, from molecule to process plants.
Our strategy is based on a blend of long-term, high risk-high reward fundamental research and mid-term application-oriented research. To this end, the program conducts both fundamental projects (many based on personal grants such as ERC Advanced and Consolidator grants) as well as applied research in collaboration with external parties (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, various public-private partnerships, such as Dutch Institute for Sustainable Process Technology and EU Framework Programs consortia).
The research portfolio of the IRS Chair includes two strongly interacting programs:
- Alternative energy forms for intensification of reaction and separation systems
- Process Intensification in crystalline product technology
Within the ERC Advanced Investigator Grant of Prof. Stankiewicz we conduct research on “perfect chemical reactors” in which molecular orientation and activation is locally controlled by means of electric of electromagnetic (laser, microwave, light) fields. Within the ERC Consolidator Grant of Dr. Padding we conduct research on biomass fluidization, with a goal to optimize large-scale equipment for conversion of waste biomass to synthesis gas. Application of the fundamental concepts of process intensification for improved control of the crystallization processes is an important element of our research. Control over crystal nucleation through molecular association processes, templates and external energies is studied. Controlled crystallization under the influence of external fields such as plasma, electric fields, laser light and ultrasound is also investigated. An apart example of application of process intensification for product control, is the advanced structuring of artificial meat material using the high-shear devices.