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Energy Research at the Eindhoven University of Technology

Sign up By September 14th via Michael Boot: M.D.Boot@tue.nl

Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the world’s foremost research institutions in energy research. The establishment of the energy research cluster in 2010 reflects a strong commitment to further expanding this already extensive body of energy research. The cluster brings together 27 research groups, with more than 300 energy scientists.

Energy research at TU/e has always been inspired by societal needs. We have an outstanding tradition of cooperation with industry. This makes it possible to simultaneously push the frontiers of science, product development, and societal implementation of new technologies. The energy strategic area envisions a sustainable world that can produce enough energy for its consumption, unimpeded by scarce resources and without any impact on the climate.

Our research will help pave the way for this challenging transition. Many roads lead to this future. That is why we are exploring a broad spectrum of promising technologies. In the short term, we expect to generate novel technologies for more sustainable use of existing resources. This research focuses on the built environment and fuel technologies. Somewhat further away, our research will deliver novel solar cells and other new energy conversion technologies. In the longer run, our fusion research will contribute to a sustainable transition.

Topic for the Young BBE Meeting: Reverse engineering the ideal biofuel

Historically, biofuel refineries have been designed from a producer’s or technology push perspective, i.e. given the availability of a certain feedstock (e.g. rape seed), develop a cost-effective production route to various classes of transportation fuels (e.g. biodiesel). Conversely, we address the issue from an engine’s or market pull point of view in a two-fold exercise in reverse engineering. Firstly, we reverse-engineer the engine’s favorite drink with the aim of largely eliminating particulate emissions.

Here we show that oxygenated aromatics, e.g. benzyl alcohol, have the strongest soot curbing potential of all hydrocarbon classes investigated. The causality can be traced back to an intrinsic chemical “snooze” functionality, which ensures longer mixing times prior to auto-ignition. More by chance rather than design, the very same molecules act as octane boosters when added to gasoline, thereby offering the promise of a “one-size-fits-all” biofuel solution.

Subsequently, we allocate appropriate bio-based feedstocks, in this case lignin recovered from waste streams in cellulosic-ethanol and paper production. Lignin, after cellulose the most abundant renewable feedstock, is essentially a polymer of the aromatic oxygenates in question, requiring a further (catalytic) depolymerization process to retrieve the desired fuel compounds.

Link to the BioBased Economy

The link of our research to the (Dutch) BBE is most evident in relation to the figure below, taken from the Port of Rotterdam Vision 2030 document. From this figure becomes clear that second generation biorefineries will have an aromatic-rich (lignin) side-stream. The valorization route still has to be developed, but a route towards aromatic chemicals is envisioned. We would like to add a pathway towards aromatic (e.g. phenolic) based biofuels. It is very likely that when producing aromatic chemicals from lignin, there will be a fraction which is not suitable for chemical production. This cut could then be utilized for our biofuels.


Participants: Max. 30
Location: Eindhoven Automotive Lab (sign in at reception of building Gemini)

Campus map: http://www.tue.nl/uploads/media/plattegrond_02.pdf

  • Program
  • 1430: Reception with coffee/tea
  • 1500: presentation 1 (Michael Boot/ title: What would the engine like to drink?)
  • 1530: presentation 2 (Prof. Emiel Hensen/working title: How to produce the engine’s favorite drink?)
  • 1600: start lab tour (Session 1)
    o Group 1: visits catalysis lab chemical engineering
    o Group 2: visits engine lab mechanical engineering
  •  1645: start lab tour (Session 2)
    o Group 2: visits catalysis lab chemical engineering
    o Group 1: visits engine lab mechanical engineering
  • 1730-1830: Informal drink with warm snacks
  • Sign up By September 14th via Michael Boot: M.D.Boot@tue.nl

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