Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineer Designs Less-risky Reactor For Clean, Safe Energy

Date:
September 13, 2006
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Pitt chemical engineering professor Goetz Veser has created microreactors that won't explode, no matter what the gas composition or how hot they get, and that can keep undesirable pollutants, like nitrogen oxides, from forming. His results could be used to design processes for safe, clean energy production and hydrogen storage.

Reactors that burn hydrogen or natural gas to generate energy can be dirty and dangerous. The mix of air with hydrogen or natural gas can explode easily if composition and temperature are not carefully controlled. And reactors often produce polluting byproducts.

Related Articles


Now, University of Pittsburgh chemical engineering professor Goetz Veser has created a safer alternative--microreactors that won't explode, no matter what the gas composition or how hot they get, and that can keep undesirable pollutants, like nitrogen oxides (NOx), from forming. His results could be used to design processes for safe, clean energy production and hydrogen storage. Veser will discuss his findings from 1:30-3:55 p.m. Sept. 12 during a presentation at the 232nd American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Reactor explosions can happen either when the reaction gets too hot or when atoms called "free radicals" break away and start to split the bonds of other molecules. In both cases, the reaction speeds up and the temperature increases until--kaboom!

But Veser's microreactors are actually "inherently safe," he says. "Even if the temperature goes completely through the roof, based on the kinetics of the system, explosions cannot happen."

Veser, who also is a researcher in Pitt's Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, created the reactors by etching tiny channels into silicon chips, using a platinum wire catalyst and running a mix of hydrogen and air through the channel. "It's one of the toughest systems you can imagine," he says. "If anything would blow up, this would." (Think Hindenburg.)

But nothing happened--other than the controlled burning of hydrogen. The walls did indeed adsorb any pesky radicals floating around, keeping the reaction running smoothly.

Veser has since extended the technology to burning methane; he has found that not only can the walls stave off explosions, they also can steer the course of the reaction. For example, some NOx is formed by the heat and some by radicals. Veser found that at a particular size, the microreactor walls adsorb the radicals that cause NOx, while letting the reaction go ahead. "This is a completely different way of approaching a clean combustion technology," he says.

Veser's research is supported by the National Science Foundation through a CAREER Award.

Pitt's Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering is an integrated, multidisciplinary organization that brings coherence to the University's research efforts and resources in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering. For more information, visit www.nano.pitt.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "Engineer Designs Less-risky Reactor For Clean, Safe Energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060912231859.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2006, September 13). Engineer Designs Less-risky Reactor For Clean, Safe Energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060912231859.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "Engineer Designs Less-risky Reactor For Clean, Safe Energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060912231859.htm (accessed April 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) — Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — A British inventor says his Babel bike is the safest bicycle ever produced. Crispin Sinclair - son of famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - hopes the bike&apos;s safety cage, double seatbelt, and host of other measures will inspire non-cyclists to get in the saddle. Jim Drury went to see it in action. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — The bat-wing U.S. Navy drone that became the first autonomous airplane to take off and land on an aircraft carrier accomplished yet another milestone on Wednesday, becoming the first unmanned aircraft to undergo aerial refueling. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Human or Robot You Decide

Human or Robot You Decide

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins