Process Modeling and Control
Process modeling and simulation group at the Department of chemical engineering focuses on the applications of traditional control and model based controllers for the energy systems such as flow batteries, micro-photosynthetic power cells. Models that were built are used for the design of control systems for the applications in energy and waste management. The group also focuses on the digitalization of the process industries and the security of process plants through the development and implementation of cyber-physical systems. The group is also keen in optimization of various processes and activities in the oil and gas industry. Apart from this, the group actively researches multiscale modeling and simulations for the identification of storage materials for hydrogen.
The energy management group at IIPE researches on the various aspects of energy, ranging from generation of energy from wastes, design and development of energy conversion devices and their modeling. The group also focuses on the performance enhancement of energy conversion devices such as fuel cells by the development of alternate proton exchange membranes. The group also works on the technologies for the conservation of waste to energy via biological routes. The group also performs research on i) building energy management systems through the usage of phase change materials, ii) usage of latent heat based thermal energy storage systems for concentrated solar power systems.
The research group focussed on transport modeling has core transport processes as its pillars exploring different areas of Chemical Engineering. The models include convective and diffusive transport of thermal energy finding applications in various thermal management problems such as cooling of turbine blades, etc. Few groups are working on developing models to represent transport of protons and ions through composite porous material such as polymeric membranes, composite electrolytes or packed adsorption beds, thereby predicting key properties of the system that can be utilized for scale up and design. Scope of modeling extends from ab-initio and molecular level to the macromolecular scale. Research areas in microscale transport such as bubble dynamics, thermocapillary migration are also explored. Some research groups are working on modeling flow through microchannels such as membrane pores to predict product stream characteristics, study of fouling phenomena and life estimation. Together the group attempts to understand and model the behavior of complex Chemical Engineering systems to achieve improved performance.
Due to the rapid industrialization and population growth, the amount of toxic and recalcitrant pollutants (Solids, Liquids, and Gases) in the environment are significantly increased. These pollutants exert adverse impacts on human beings, animals, and aquatic plants. To address the above concerns, many groups in the department are continuously working to develop efficient, economical, and environmentally sound technologies. The groups are generally working on (i) Advanced water treatment with novel visible light activated immobilised photocatalytic system, adsorption, and membrane filtration; (ii) Optimization and advanced control of wastewater treatment plants along with circular economic aspects; (iii) Biological treatment of industrial wastewater, growth kinetics, and modeling aspects; (iv) Development of highly porous metal-organic framework (MOF-199) for VOCs removal.
Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
Catalysis and reaction engineering form one of the core research areas pertaining to many chemical industries and petroleum industry at large. Catalysis and reaction engineering group at IIPE, focusses on wider and diversified fields of catalysis and reaction engineering involving Heterogeneous catalysis, Catalyst Design, Bio- reactor development, Photo catalysis, Pollutant gas abatement, reaction network modeling, etc. The main focus areas of faculty at IIPE working in fields of catalysis pertain in applications such as greenhouse gas abatement, water and gas pollutant mitigation through photocatalysis, development of MOFs, Development of ionic catalysts, Advanced water treatment, Hydrogen and Energy production , Surface reaction mechanism development, diffusion rate modeling in porous catalysts. In addition, the group also focuses on wider aspects of catalyst development and activity testing involving material development, material characterization, reaction mechanism development, First principle modeling, reactor development, catalyst screening, modeling of diffusion equations in porous catalysts etc.
Multiphase modeling and molecular simulations
The focus areas of the multiphase modeling and simulation group are coupling mass and fluid transport models for energy and separation systems. The work involves the development of multiphase models for multicomponent adsorption. The developed models are useful in increasing the process throughput, energy efficiency optimization, scaleup, and implementation studies. Molecular-level modeling helps in understanding the molecular level behavior for several types of adsorption applications from carbon capture, renewable energy systems, and environmental management systems. In addition, the group focuses on the plethora of engineering problems comprising interactions between multiple components in different states and matter including water, air, and oil. The research areas under persuasion are state of the art for global research and can potentially lead to the pioneering direction towards solutions to many long-standing technical challenges.
The Adsorption & Separation group mainly works on multiscale adsorptive separations for sustainable chemical processing. The main objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy storage and wastewater treatment. Synthesis of novel adsorbent materials and investigation of adsorbate uptakes of several pollutants and greenhouse gasses are investigated. Various modeling techniques such as density functional theory, molecular simulations, and computational fluid dynamics are used to predict adsorbent material properties and system dynamics. This multiscale modeling approach helps understand the adsorbent structure to improve the adsorbate uptake on a packed bed level. We work on complex environmental problems such as carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), which reduces greenhouse emissions from power plant flue gasses and is later used as a solvent in pharmaceutical industries. This group also focuses on designing and synthesizing novel porous crystalline materials such as metal-organic frameworks for hydrogen and methane storage applications.
The polymers research group is involved in the development of i) new proton exchange membranes for the fuel cell technology ii) membranes for the wastewater treatment, iii) surface engineered catalyst designs for various applications. The group also researches membrane filtration and understanding the transport mechanisms in the polymeric membranes. The group also works on modeling the thermodynamics of polymeric phase inversion for multicomponent systems that can be used to predict the phase morphology of polymeric networks during phase change. Modeling of the solubility sphere and estimation of solubility parameters is also accomplished by the group for novel materials, for both organic and inorganic materials.