FLUID SEPARATIONS COMMUNITY GATHERS IN FIRENZE AT DA 2018
Distillation & Absorption is the quadrennial event organized by the EFCE Working Party on Fluid Separations (EFCE WP FS). The 2018 edition was hosted by the Italian federation AIDIC in Florence and chaired by prof. Elisabetta Brunazzi (University of Pisa) and prof. Eva Sorensen (Imperial College London). Over 240 people attended the conference on 17 to 19 September.
Industrial participants made up 43%. An excellent indicator of both the importance of the vapor-liquid separation technologies for industry as well as of the high quality of the presented work. As scientific chair, the eminent professor Eva Sorensen had evaluated all 245 submitted abstracts herself. 60 papers were accepted as oral presentation, 93 papers as poster.
The most important fields included CO2-absorption and advanced distillation and simulation of advanced distillation techniques
As a result, having only two parallel sessions on carefully selected topics, the participants generally did not suffer from having to choose the right session. The most important fields included CO2-absorption and advanced distillation and simulation of advanced distillation techniques (e.g. dividing wall columns, catalytic dividing wall operations and hybrid operations with a membrane).
Among the highlights of the conference were the highly interesting lecture of Luca Alburno (ENI) on converting an existing refinery into a biorefinery. This was done at the Venice refinery of ENI. As a first start they used palm oil, but they are highly aware there is a need for other feedstock, as well as to investigate options to utilize more sustainable H2 sources.
Full-scale dividing wall columns
In the past years many papers have appeared on the use of dividing wall columns, and it is well-known that BASF is industrially leading in this field. An impressive invited plenary lecture by Regina Benfer (BASF) underlined this once more. Where other presenters mentioned that eight years ago the dividing wall column was still hardly discussed, Dr. Benfer showed full scale dividing wall columns being installed at BASF premises and her message was that the dividing wall column is grown up by now. In her presentation she presented both in depth modeling at BASF and global directions at the company. For her audience, the take-home message was that calculation methods for dividing wall columns are improving rapidly and next to BASF, it is now up to the industry to install on a much wider scale dividing wall columns.
Calculation methods for dividing wall columns are improving rapidly and next to BASF, it is now up to the industry to install on a much wider scale dividing wall columns
Back to the future
The last day of the conference was opened with a fabulous lecture by Andrzej Górak (TU Dortmund). In his lecture entitled 'back to the future', Górak looked back at the last 25 years of his career, and highlighted work on reactive absorption, reactive distillation, reactive extraction as well as integrations with membrane operations and hybrid separations. He spent some time on the recent work he has been doing regarding enzyme reactive distillations. Distillation and enzymatic conversions do not seem to go together super well as enzymes typically do not stand heat, but Górak convincingly showed that with temperatures up to 60 ºC an enzymatically catalyzed reaction dramatically enhanced conversion rates in a catalytic reactive distillation process.
With temperatures up to 60 ºC an enzymatically catalyzed reaction can dramatically enhance conversion rates in a catalytic reactive distillation process
EFCE Excellence Award in Fluid Separations
The final element of the conference was the award ceremony for the four-yearly EFCE Excellence award in Fluid Separations. This time, the award went to c for her work on gas separations using ionic liquids (ILs). She highlighted the most important aspects of her PhD-thesis about ethylene ethane separation. A beautiful combination of synthetic work to make new ILs and thermodynamics to study their performance in the separation. The work was complemented by molecular simulations to increase the understanding of the separation performance on the molecular level.
Native to Portugal, Moura did her PhD in Lyon and recently was awarded a prestigious scholarship from The Royal Academy of Engineering to continue her career as fellow in Belfast.
EFCE WORKING PARTY ON FLUID SEPARATIONS
On the opening day of the DA 2018 conference, the annual business meeting of the Working Party on Fluid Separations (WP FS) was held. Eminent researchers from all over Europe, but also guest members from the USA and China were present.
Next to a business meeting the WP FS organizes a technical meeting every year, and every four years a Distillation & Absorption (DA) conference. For you as reader of NPT Procestechnologie it is good to know that the technical meetings held every year are open meetings and everybody is allowed to participate. The next technical meeting will be held in Göteborg, Sweden on 13 + 14 June 2019, and the topic will be announced in due time.
It thus shows that the WP FS is a very active working party, and also there is an important Dutch contribution to this working party. Where Zarko Olujic (retired, TU Delft) and André de Haan have been long time representatives, Boelo Schuur (UTwente) became a member of WP FS in 2017. During the past six years Harry Kooijman (Shell Global Solutions) has served as vice chair of WP FS and after two terms of three years, it was time for renewal of the board. Elisabetta Brunazzi (University of Pisa, Italy, president), and Ljudmila Fele Zilnik (National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia, secretary) did not opt for a third period, but Harry Kooijman was eligible for chair. Next to Kooijman, prof. Jens-Uwe Repke (TU Berlin, Germany, vice chair) and Boelo Schuur (UTwente, secretary) were elected as the new board of the WP FS. Thus both the chair and the secretary are now representatives of NPT.