Intensified Microwave Reactor Technology
Lead Team Members: Dion Vlachos (PI), Raul Lobo
Supporting Team Members: Raja Busigari, Stavros Caratzoulas, Weiqing Zheng, Abhinav Malhotra, Weiqi Chen, Panagiotis Dimitrakellis
Grad Students: Yung Wei (Jessie) Hsiao, Kewei Yu
This project addresses today’s most critical barrier for microwave-powered reactor technology by developing general scalable design techniques that improve energy efficiency, enhance selectivity and reduce down-time for processes across industry sectors. The results will impact a host of industries, such as food processing, commodity chemicals and shale gas processing. Success will transform modular and robust manufacturing of valuable liquids for transportation from shale gas and biogas, especially in remote locations.
University of Delaware researchers—Dion Vlachos (primary investigator) and Raul Lobo—will investigate and develop scalable microwave technologies, powered by renewable electricity, that can be applied across industries. Partners include United Technologies Research Center in E. Hartford, Connecticut, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium (KU Leuven).
The goal is to develop both foundational hardware and modeling tools for microwaves as a non-conventional energy delivery mechanism—a key theme in process intensification. The project will demonstrate diverse applications of microwave reactors, often in combination with other process intensification technologies, and will deliver software tools for optimization and design, followed by module fabrication and demonstration.
The work draws on the University of Delaware’s expertise in catalysis, multiscale modeling and fabrication of microchemical systems, and PI technologies, KU Leuven’s extensive microwave construction expertise and UTRC’s expertise in optimization and integration of energy-intensive thermochemical processes, process technology development and commercialization.