The research in the department Process & Energy focuses on process and energy technology within a mechanical engineering context. This means that a process or energy conversion is part of a machine or apparatus. Continuum 'fluids' (this can be a gas or liquid, or a combination of a gas and a liquid, with or without solid particulate material) are the common denominator, either (i) as a process material, carrier, or solvent, or (ii) as a medium through which a transport process, separation process, or conversion is carried out. In terms of scale the research covers the range from full equipment scale, down to molecular scales.The research activities are carried out on a world-class international level, ranging from fundamental to conceptual and applied in nature. The fundamental research is mainly on (turbulent) transport phenomena and thermodynamics, while the applied research is aimed on innovative processes, process intensification, and novel concepts in energy conversion. The research also includes valorization of scientific knowledge and expertise, where new technology and inventions are demonstrated at scales of interest to industrial users and made commercially viable.
The growing world population and associated energy need with an ongoing decrease in the availability of natural resources poses enormous challenges for future generations. To sustain our current quality level of life requires innovative solutions to generate sustainable processes and energy conversion technologies. The most important trends that we envision are:
- Fully sustainable industrial processes with closed loop for the use of materials.
- Transition to sustainable generation of power, using new and efficient ways to use fossil and bio fuels.
- The development of energy-efficient processes and conversions, e.g. by means of process intensification or low-heat power generation.