Research Group: Zero Emission Technologies
The Research Group for Zero Emission Technologies (ZET) originates as one of three parts from Hermann Hofbauer’s former Research Group for Future Energy Technologies. The ZET team focuses on projects from the energy technology sector with the goal to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here, three general approaches are put forward:
- Energy efficiency increase in industrial processes
- Renewable fuels substituting fossil energy
- Capture of CO2 from energy conversion processes
The mission of the group is to develop sustainable technology solutions ready for on-field demonstration. In the group there is some experience with design and operation of fluidized bed pilot units and some background regarding modelling and simulation of energy technology processes. Recent topics in investigation are:
- Fluidized bed systems for inherent CO2 capture (Chemical Looping Combustion)
- Catalytic reforming in fluidized beds (Chemical Looping Reforming)
- Oxyfuel combustion in circulating fluidized bed regime
- Analysis and optimization of industrial fluidized bed combustors
- Techno-economic evaluation of fossil energy substitution in industry
The Research Group for Zero Emission Technologies is roughly subdivided into three major project areas:
Project Group Chemical Looping Technologies
From a general point of view, "chemical looping" refers to a process where a chemical reaction takes place in two steps within two different reactors, and a reactive solid material circulates (loops) between both reactors to drive the chemical reaction. Depending on the species transported by the looping solids and depending on the obtained process product, different chemical looping applications can be identified. The research focus of the project group chemical looping technologies lies on chemical looping combustion (CLC) and chemical looping reforming (CLR). In both technologies, oxygen is selectively transported by metal oxides. The main research contributions are in the fields of reactor hydrodynamics, detailed reactor modelling, process modelling and process demonstration.
Project Group Oxyfuel Combustion
Oxyfuel is a combustion technology where the combustion air is an artificial mixture of recycled flue gas and oxygen. The output of the combustion is a CO2-rich flue gas which is best suited for capture and storage. Due to the mixing of flue gas and oxygen, no nitrogen is introduced and capture of carbon dioxide is facilitated. The Oxyfuel process offers a supplementary degree of freedom, in the terms of O2 concentration in the feed which allows improved operation especially for low calorific fuels. This means that the oxygen content in the combustion gas may be increased without increasing the combustion temperature.
The main research contributions are:
- Oxyfuel combustion of alternative fuels
- Oxygen enrichment for waste incinerations
Project Group Process Simulation_η max
Process Simulation can make an essential, indispensable contribution to the successful development of new, highly efficient production processes in Energy- and Chemical Engineering. The Project Group Process Simulation was included right-from-the-start in the realisation of the Dual Fluidised Bed technology in the commercial biomass gasification plants in Güssing and Oberwart. Ongoing optimization procedures of these CHP plants is just one example for current research activities of the Project Group. The tasks performed in the project group "Process Simulation" include basic plausibility calculations, mass- and energy balances for new production processes, development of new process designs, as well as mass- and energy balances for new power plant concepts in Energy- and Chemical engineering.
Also, the start-up operation, performance evaluation and optimization of power plants (e.g. thermal CHP plants) are effectively supported by using Process Simulation. Furthermore, the focus also lies on various ‚research-tasks‘ in the field of thermal fuel conversion, e.g. biomass gasification and municipal solid waste (MSW) combustion plants.