Abhishek Dutta, Dr, Senior researcher
Vortex chamber technology allows the intensification of processes involving a fluid and particle phase by allowing high-G operating conditions and efficient multi-zone operation. Processes are studied involving the treatment or production of particles. Detailed numerical studies making use of Computational Fluid Dynamics are combined with experimental measurements and aim at validation of the numerical simulation model, evaluation of the performance in terms of product quality and energy efficiency and optimization and scale-up of the design.

Philippe Eliaers, Dr, Senior researcher
graduated as chemical engineer in 2009 and completed a PhD thesis on the application of vortex chambers for particle drying and coating under the supervision of Prof. Juray De Wilde at UCLouvain in 2014. After a 5-year stint at Certech, a chemistry research center where he worked in the field of process intensification, he went back to UCLouvain in 2019. He is involved in a project in partnership with an industrial company to set up a pilot reactor for methane steam reforming. The aim of this pilot plant is to test a novel structured catalyst at near-industrial operating conditions to demonstrate its increased efficiency compared to the conventional pellets. This structured catalyst is expected to bring significant benefits : intensified heat transfer, reduced pressure drop and reduced intraparticle diffusion limitations, allowing increasing the capacity of existing reformers.

Baptiste Hardy
obtained is MS. in Chemical Engineering from UCLouvain in 2017, with main interests in transport phenomena, fluid mechanics, multiphase and reactive flows modeling. He started his PhD. in October 2017 under the supervision of Pr. J. De Wilde and Pr. G. Winckelmans, funded by an FNRS research grant.
The goal of this project is to perform Particle-Resolved Direct Numerical Simulations (PR-DNS) of reacting gas-solid flows to gain insight about the interfacial and intra-particle mass, heat and momentum transfer mechanisms.
Gas-solid flows are encountered in numerous natural and industrial phenomena, among which fluidized bed reactors are the most well-known application.
The simulation of such equipment at a large scale is traditionally performed using Two Fluid or Discrete Elements models.
Yet, those models rely on closure relations, often derived from empirical procedures. Lately, the increase of computational capabilities has made PR-DNS a powerful tool to extract physics-based closure models from dilute to dense regime. In this thesis, a Brinkman Penalization method to model the solid phase is coupled to the weakly compressible form of the Navier-Stokes equations in order to assess the impact of density fluctuations on the predicted transfer laws. Various scenarios classically encountered in reaction engineering are investigated (surface or volume reaction, catalytic or solid phase reaction… ).

Sepehr Madanikashani