Industrial Processes Design

In the landscape of industrial progress, the adoption of advanced techniques and technologies plays a pivotal role in driving innovation. Nowhere is this more evident than in Portugal, where the integration of cutting-edge methodologies holds the promise of transformative growth across various sectors. In the initial fifteen years of this century, two spin-offs, Fluidinova and MICE-molds, originated from LSRE-LCM's Product Engineering group. Thus, the industrial sector can capitalize on in-house technologies developed using state-of-the-art tools, mainly Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) but also Network Modelling and Process Design and Simulation. Motivated by the national industry’s demand to heighten process development, LSRE-LCM's team, drawing upon their extensive expertise, delivers customized and optimized solutions.

One of the first consulting services contract for technology development was with EFACEC, a Portuguese company with a strong position in the electrical Power Transformers (PT) industry. In this reporting period this cooperation was maintained with the application of CFD and Network tools to the thermal design of PT components. In a concerted effort towards industry decarbonization, A4F – Algae for the Future and SECIL, a leading cement manufacturer, undertook the construction of the world's largest microalgae production, growth, and CO2 capture installation. LSRE-LCM was engaged to design the tubular photobioreactors, raceways, and ancillary equipment for this pioneering project.

Solutions for decarbonization include CO2 capture and sequestration, hydrogen-based processes, and synthetic fuels, with NETmix emerging as frontrunner for the efficient implementation of these processes. LSRE-LCM played a leading role in establishing CoLab NET4CO2, dedicated to advancing industrial technologies based on NETmix for the CO2 economy. The ongoing collaboration with CoLab NET4CO2 has focused on designing and simulating NETmix-based solutions, such as continuous hydrates processing, controlled combustion, and steam reforming. The successful industrial implementation of new technologies hinges upon their comprehensive techno-economic evaluation, coupled with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). In partnership with CoLab NET4CO2, an integrated approach that combines process simulation, economic evaluation and LCA was developed and applied to assess the viability of CO2 capture from natural gas power plants using hydrate formation with NETMix.

CFD and process simulation are currently being integrated into a large PRR project, aiming at bolstering the sustainability of the packaging industry. This initiative optimizes industry processes through advanced simulation tools, with the simulation results serving as crucial data for LCA. Looking ahead, a liaison office for the packaging sector (CLICAS) is being established to ensure the continuity and sustainability of these services over the long term.

The potential of this approach to translate research into industrial applications has been set in motion, with researchers from this group actively participating in numerous collaborative projects spanning diverse research topics. These collaborations extend to areas such as compound extraction and refining, water ozonation, photocatalytic reactors, and oscillatory flow reactors, showcasing the versatility and applicability of the expertise developed within the group.

Major projects in this research area include: