FOR 1993 - Overview
DFG Research Unit 1993 Multi-functional conversion of chemical species and energy
The research unit investigates the potential of using combustion engines to achieve a flexible and simultaneous conversion of fuel to chemicals and different forms of energy along high temperature paths.
The produced base chemicals can either be used in chemical industry or, due to their high energy density, for storing energy. The project draws on the considerable amount of knowledge gained from combustion science with respect to the experimental and theoretical investigation of high-temperature processes. However, instead of promoting complete combustion and reducing concentrations of other chemical components in the exhaust gases, the aim is now to identify useful chemicals and increase their concentrations under exergetically sound conditions.
The strategy is guided by theory and experimental verification. In the basic-theory part, elementary kinetics reaction models are developed, the thermodynamics of the conversion are investigated and mathematical optimization is used to find promising paths for efficient conversion. In the basic validation part, chemical kinetics experiments under well-defined conditions are conducted in order to improve and validate the predictive theoretical basis. Finally, in the machines-motors section (piston) engines are used to prove the concept of flexible chemical and energy conversion with small irreversibilities. The quality of the chemicals and conversion processes will be judged holistically by analyzing the exergy (availability) balances. Making exergy the decision criterion to judge the quality of a process is a clear deviation from prior work in this field with the traditional aim of improving conversion efficiencies and reducing pollutants. Flexible machines could be used to provide base chemicals or to store available energy in form of chemical compounds. The concept could contribute to securing the energy supply for the future.