ORGANISATION/COMPANYLaboratoire de Génie Chimique - CNRS - Toulouse INP - UPS
RESEARCH FIELDEngineering › Chemical engineering
RESEARCHER PROFILEFirst Stage Researcher (R1)
APPLICATION DEADLINE31/05/2021 23:00 - Europe/London
LOCATIONFrance › Toulouse
TYPE OF CONTRACTTemporary
HOURS PER WEEK35
OFFER STARTING DATE01/09/2021
The chemical industry is looking for ever more efficient catalytic reactors, allowing highly exothermic reactions to be carried out in a safe and energy efficient manner, under sometimes unexplored operating conditions (for example without solvent). To meet these new challenges, silicon carbide (SiC) heat exchanger-reactors offer major advantages: chemical stability (no corrosion, even under drastic conditions), high thermal conductivity and diffusivity to guarantee quasi-isothermal operating conditions and therefore high selectivity. However, the binding of active phases to the walls of these reactors by the traditional technique of porous layers "wash-coating" is still difficult and limited.
Within the framework of the ANR CATASIC project, in collaboration with the company MERSEN BOOSTEC and the Charles Gerhardt Institute in Montpellier (ICGM), the Chemical Engineering Laboratory of Toulouse (LGC) will study a completely new design strategy for these reactors, exploiting the diversity of SiC supports now available in different forms (extrudates, beads, foams). The use of the same material for the reactor and the catalyst support allows a good integration of these elements, while their high specific surface - which can reach or even exceed 50 m2.g-1 - makes it possible to graft appreciable amounts of catalyst. The applications targeted here relate to two main classes of reactions of industrial importance: the selective epoxidation of cyclohexene to cyclohexene oxide (in liquid phase), and the oligomerization of ethylene to form a-olefins (in gas phase).
As part of this project, LGC is proposing a PhD thesis, which aims at designing heat exchanger-reactors using these new internals, at implementing them at pilot scale and simulating their performance. First of all, on the basis of kinetic models built for each of these reactions and optimized from the experimental data obtained by the ICGM with the new catalysts proposed, a pre-sizing of the continuous reactors in ideal conditions (plug flow hydrodynamics, no limitation to mass and heat transfers) will be proposed. Then, on the basis of existing correlations for axial dispersion and transfer coefficients, the geometry and the configuration of these reactors will be discussed with MERSEN company in order to select one (or two) favorable design (s), also allowing easy loading of the catalyst. This (or these) reactor(s), manufactured by MERSEN, will then be characterized in LGC for hydrodynamics and heat transfer capacity to refine the models. It (they) will then be implemented under reaction conditions using the catalytic internals developed at ICGM:the conversions and yields obtained for different flow conditions, temperature (operating pressure) will be compared to the predictions of the models.
REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVELEngineering: Master Degree or equivalent
The PhD thesis will be carried out in two research departments from LGC, STPI (Science and Technology of Intensified Processes) and IRPI (Innovative Multiphase Reactor Engineering). These two departments study the coupling between different physicochemical processes (chemical reaction, hydrodynamics, interfacial transfers, etc.) operating within various contactors, in particular multiphase ones, to offer new optimized technological solutions.
The recruited student should preferably have a solid background in Chemical Engineering with, in particular, skills in process modeling (using Matlab, COMSOL Multiphysics or other), kinetics of catalytic reactions and multiphase reactors. He (she) must also show experimental skills (design and study of pilot reactors), demonstrate organization, rigor and autonomy. Finally, a good level of spoken and written English is required.
Location: LGC (Labège site); Start: September 2021
EURAXESS offer ID: 615331
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