(324a) Electromagnetic Simulations Aided Stable Microwave Reactor Configuration | AIChE

(324a) Electromagnetic Simulations Aided Stable Microwave Reactor Configuration


Malhotra, A. - Presenter, Georgia Tech
Chen, W., University of Delaware
Plaza-Gonzalez, P., ITACA Institute
Zheng, W., University of Delaware
Catala-Civera, J. M., Instituto de Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (ITACA)
Santamaria, J., University of Zaragoza
Vlachos, D., University of Delaware - Catalysis Center For Ener
The application of microwaves to enable sustainable manufacturing is rapidly gaining importance as the pathway to process intensification. Application of electromagnetic radiation to traditional reactor configurations, such as fixed beds, is hindered by the development of hotspots owing to spatial focusing of energy. Structured reactors, such as catalyst coated monoliths, offer a solution but are limited by the small amount of catalyst loading.

In this talk, we present a novel strategy to mitigate these effects. By using electromagnetic simulations, we predict a new reactor configuration, called packed monoliths, consisting of catalytic particles packed in a SiC monolith. We show that the SiC monolith acts as a preferential absorber of microwaves, suppressing the hotspots arising inside the catalytic bed. We also highlight the role of wall thickness and material properties in suppressing hotspots. Experiments conducted with the predicted configuration show an order of magnitude improvement in productivity and the suppression of hotspot formation.