Chemical Reactor Research


The activity on reactor engineering has been concentrated in fields directly supporting the design and development of chemical reactors and reactive separations. The most important research areas are:

  • Mathematical modeling of chemical reactors.
  • Multiphase flow modeling.
  • Design of novel solution methods and algorithms.
  • Experimental analyses of fluid flow, fluid particle coalescence and breakage, CO2 sorption by adsorbents and heat- and mass transfer in chemical reactors.
  • Experimental validation of numerical models.
  • Analysis and design of reactors for environmentally friendly chemical processes.

The research in these fields comprises both experimental and theoretical studies, but emphasis is placed on modeling, development of numerical methods and in-house software for multi-phase reactor simulations.

The simplest models considered are normally implemented in the programming language Matlab, whereas the computationally demanding models are implemented in FORTRAN 90 and C++. Application areas are special chemicals reactors, polymer production, sorption enhanced steam methane reforming, conventional synthesis gas and methanol synthesis, membrane reactors, wood gasification and chemical looping combustion.

Educationally the main objective of our group is to educate MSc for the Norwegian industry and to raise the national scientific competence in our field of research through PhD studies.


Research activities


Modeling of multi-phase reactors

We have for more than 20 years been developing in-house CFD codes for simulating multiphase flows in chemical reactors. Lately, our main focus has been put on developing modules for bubble/droplet break-up and coalescence within the population balance equation (PBE) framework.

The PBEs are solved accurately by efficient spectral and spectral-element methods designed for this particular purpose.

We are also investigating the performance of chemical reactive systems like fluidized beds, fixed bed reactors and agitated tanks. At present we are working with the design of suitable reactors for sorption enhanced reaction processes (SERP) like steam reforming with absorbents for CO2

The conventional 1D and 2D steady-state reactor models are normally run on standard PCs whereas the more computationally demanding dynamic 2D and 3D single and multiphase flow simulations are run on the national super-computers located at the university.

Advanced Modeling and Simulation of Chemical Reactors

The activity in this area is mainly founded by the Norwegian Research Council through the GassMaks program. The work in this project is focused on modeling of chemical reactors like fixed packed bed-, bubble column-, and fluidized bed reactors by the complete multifluid model containing a population balance equation for the fluid particle size distribution for the multiphase reactors. The model equations are solved by the modern least squares spectral element method. In the next phase of the project the novel in-house codes will be applied analyzing the chemical reactor processes utilizing natural gas as feedstock.