SEMINAR: Manufactured Chemistry: Rethinking Reactor Design in the Age of Advanced Manufacturing
Traditionally, chemical reactor engineering has followed design heuristics compatible with rules-of-thumb scaling laws, and thus the mantra ‘bigger is always better’. Another approach to designing large-scale energy conversion devices is via economies of manufacturing scale. Whereas the capital cost of a modern gas-to-liquids chemical plant can be estimated to be on the order of $500/kWth, the cost of a production-scale internal combustion engine (ICE) is $5/kWth, a two order of magnitude reduction. However with current reactor design heuristics, scaling down to the size of the ICE is not possible without a high degree of optimization, process intensification and new design and manufacturing methods.
Advanced manufacturing enables new approaches to chemical reactor design due to the ability to build complex geometries and topologies previously inaccessible to the engineer. These benefits have been recently demonstrated in the design and manufacture of other multi-physics devices such as novel as heat exchangers, recuperators and fluidic devices.
In this talk a new design paradigm for modular manufacturing-scale thermal devices and chemical reactors is proposed. In this approach multi-scale and multi-physics modeling is coupled with computational design methods capable of leveraging additive manufacturing. Critical modeling and methodology development needs will be discussed, along with a viable R&D path towards commercializable modular chemical reactors and thermal devices.
Fellow & Acting Program Director, ARPA-E
Dr. Addison Killean Stark currently serves as a Fellow at ARPA-E, where he has served as Acting Program Director of the Advanced Research In Dry-cooling (ARID) program, a thermal engineering program with the goal of reducing the water consumed in power generation. Prior to joining ARPA-E, Dr. Stark completed his PhD at MIT where his dissertation work focused on elucidating the role of transport phenomena in the thermochemical conversion of biomass in fluidized bed reactors. In addition to the energy-water nexus, Dr. Stark’s research interests include advanced chemical conversion technologies for natural gas and biomass, process intensification of chemical and thermal processes and leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies for novel chemical reactor designs and other multi-physics devices.