Distinguished Faculty Speaker Series: Jon Wenzel, Chemical Engineering presents Green Production of Chemicals using High Pressure Fluids in Pilot Plants

Green Production of Chemicals using High Pressure Fluids in Pilot Plants


Some of the most exciting work for a chemical engineer is in the design and evaluation of test beds and pilot plants.  Pilot plants are used to safely and effectively evaluate new chemical processing ideas prior to scale up to manufacturing plants.  Industrially relevant chemical reactions often take place at elevated temperatures and pressures since temperature and concentration are driving forces behind reaction rates.  Supercritical fluids are high pressure and temperature fluids that exhibit both liquid and gas-like properties and have unusual solvent characteristics, for example oil dissolves readily in supercritical water.  Supercritical fluids are considered an environmentally benign or green solvent.  Common supercritical carbon dioxide industrial processes include the decaffeination of coffee beans, extraction of hops for beer production, and extraction of pharmaceutical products from plants.  Supercritical water is being considered in biomass to energy and Generation IV nuclear reactors. 


Presently, at Kettering University, a configurable supercritical fluid mini-pilot plant is being fabricated and assessed based on prior designs.  This work as well as present high pressure research at Kettering University in the production of chemical starting blocks for polymer manufacture, high pressure enabled enzymatic reactions, novel organic chemical reactions, and processing of renewable chemical feedstocks will be discussed.  Previous supercritical fluid work included producing hydrogen from beer and jet fuel, producing fluorinated polymers in carbon dioxide, and extraction of medicinal components from plants.

Location: 2-225 AB from 12:25 - 1:15 pm

Sponsored by: Provost Robert Simpson and Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, Director of CETL

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:25pm to 1:15pm
2-225 AB
Provost Robert Simpson and Terri Lynch-Caris, Director of CETL
ext. 7949