Saving energy in the production of chemicals | 5/2/2019 | Staff
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Whether in agriculture, industry or private households, chemicals are needed everywhere. However, their production requires a very large amount of energy. With a new type of hybrid access, energy can be saved in the double-digit percentage range depending on the plant and process. The development took place in the team of Dr. Michael Bortz and Prof. Karl-Heinz Küfer at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, for which they will be awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize.

Plastics, detergents, fertilizers—these substances have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. As different as they are, they have one thing in common: they are produced from certain basic chemicals that the chemical industry produces in bulk. However, this requires a lot of energy: chemical production accounts for 20 percent of Europe's total commercial energy requirements. If these can be reduced, this will protect both the environment and the budgets of the companies. Trial and error can be ruled out—because then the product may no longer meet the quality specifications and maybe unsaleable. The losses would be unforeseeable.

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The team led by Dr. Michael Bortz and Dr. Karl-Heinz Küfer from the Fraunhofer ITWM in Kaiserslautern has developed a model that comprehensively describes the complex processes. For this they are receiving the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize. "Our algorithms represent the processes realistically, so we can describe the production processes over the entire life cycle," explains Dr. Michael Bortz, physicist and head...
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