Kinetics as a tool for catalyst, reactor and process design
Prof. Joris W. Thybaut
An adequate understanding of reaction kinetics represents the key towards an efficient design, not only of the relevant catalysts, but also of the corresponding reactors and processes. Although preferably fundamental in nature, the models used in kinetics, reactor and process simulation should rather focus on the relevant phenomena. Indeed, models accounting for all possible details rapidly divert into complex mathematical sets of equations which pose significant numerical challenges to be solved. Either, after judicious consideration, parameter values can be assigned to the phenomena that are not kinetically relevant in the range of investigated operating conditions, or the model should be reduced into a more simple and user friendly form that is readily solved numerically. The microkinetic engine has been developed as a handy tool to determine kinetic models of adequate detail, i.e., such models account for the phenomena that are (expected to be) kinetically significant in the relevant range of operating conditions while ensuring that no unnecessary details are entrained. The fast and accurate construction of such models is of strategic importance for rational catalyst, reactor and process design.