C4 Design of integrated catalytic processes

As part of a close collaboration between chemical and process engineering, models for the individual reaction and process steps are used that allow for static and dynamic simulations of the overall process. On the basis of simulations, new process designs are derived and evaluated with respect to their potential for industrial implementation and economic efficiency.

For this purpose, a new model-based cost-estimating procedure for the early design stage has been established. The most promising concepts are tested by constructing a mini-plant as an essential step towards further up-scaling for industrial applications.

Research goals

The objectives of this Research Field are:

  • Screening of catalysts with respect to activity, stability and selectivity

  • Detailed kinetic studies for catalysts with promising performance

  • Design of a mini-plant for OCM and evaluation of different process option

  • Development of concepts for recovery and recycling of homogeneous and biocatalyst

  • Evaluation of new process concepts concerning safety assessments and toxicological impact at an early stage of development


In Research Field C4 major experimental studies of catalytic processes at different size scales are performed. For this purpose a variety of experimental facilities were installed with a special emphasis on studies of partial oxidation reactions at high temperatures.

Mini-plant for oxidative coupling of methane (OCM)


The newly installed instruments are a profile reactor with online monitoring of reactants, intermediates and products by mass spectroscopy, a parallel reactor system for catalyst screening, three fixed bed reactors for kinetic studies and a mini-plant for the oxidative coupling of methane. While the laboratory reactors were installed as versatile research instruments the design and operation of the mini-plant is a research project of its own.

  • A profile reactor, designed and operated at the FHI, is a powerful instrument for detailed mechanistic and kinetic studies and is a key experiment in our OCM project. With the obtained experimental results several established opinions about the mechanism of OCM were revised or even falsified. Especially the important role of the reaction paths in the gas phase was demonstrated and substantial new efforts on this part of the reaction were initiated.

  • A parallel reactor system was applied for a screening of catalyst with special attention on the stability of the catalyst. Its application revealed a substantial instability of many catalysts, especially lithium doped magnesium oxide, Li/MgO.

  • A mini-plant was designed on the basis of a process synthesis performed by simulations of all available process options in Research Field C3. It is designed and installed in a modular way with wide ranges of operation condition in each unit. This allows an exchange and testing of different reactors or separation units. 

Fluidized bed reactor of mini-plant


The installed mini-plant is a worldwide unique instrument in academic research that allows operation studies of long term stability of catalysts and their response to recycled by-products. Due to its modular design it is suitable for a continuous adoption to the scientific progress in catalyst and process development. The availability and full access of academic research groups to a mini-plant with a wide range of operation conditions offers unique opportunities for the development and validation of new simulation and optimization tools.

The comprehensive approach to OCM and the broad spectrum of scientific facilities make the Berlin consortium interesting for collaboration for many other institutions. In collaboration with industrial partners new scrubbing liquids are developed that can be applied for CO2 separation in an OCM process, but also in general CO2 sequestration application. Other collaborations are focussed on mechanistic studies, reaction and process engineering of OCM.

Rectification column of mini-plant


Most important publications

KNOW-HOW AND QUALITY ASSURANCE USING A WEB BASED REUSE-ATLAS L. Hady, G. Wozny Chemical Engineering Transactions 2009, 18, 761 - 766, 10.3303/CET0918124

Transient heat transfer in packed beds: The significance of the history term F. Behrendt, Z. Nico International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 2008, 51, 3816 - 3824, 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2007.10.040

Ethylene Production via Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) - Investigation of alternative separation processes G. Wozny, S. Stünkel, J. U. Repke Biblioteka Cyfrowa Politechniki Krakowskiej 2008, 105, 285 - 291


Ethylene Separation by Feed-Splitting from Light Gases D. Salerno, H. Arellano Garcia, G. Wozny Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 2009, 27, 855 - 860, 10.1016/S1570-7946(09)70363-3

A Novel Approach to Mechanism Recognition in Escherichia Coli Fed-Batch Fermentations M. N. Cruz Bournazou, H. Arellano Garcia, J. Schoeneberger, S. Junne, P. Neubauer, G. Wozny Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 2009, 27, 651 - 656, 10.1016/S1570-7946(09)70329-3

Analysis of oxidative coupling of methane in membrane reactors H. R. Godini, H. Arellano Garcia, M. Omidkhah, G. Wozny Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 2009, 26, 123 - 128, 10.1016/S1570-7946(09)70021-5

A novel Approach to Preliminary Design and Performance Analysis of Membrane Reactors S. Jaso, H. R. Godini, H. Arellano Garcia, G. Wozny 2009 AIChE Annual Meeting Conference Proceedings 2009, 2009, 1 - 11

Oxidative Coupling of Methane in a Fluidized Bed Reactor S. Jaso, H. Arellano Garcia, G. Wozny Proceedings 5th International Berlin Workshop on Transport Phenomena with Moving Boundaries 2009, 0, 0 - 0, 10.1016/j.cej.2011.03.077

Simultaneous Synthesis of the Downstream Process and the Reactor Concept for the Oxidative Coupling of Methane (OCM) S. Stuenkel, O. Litzmann, J. U. Repke, G. Wozny Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 2009, 27, 975 - 980, 10.1016/S1570-7946(09)70383-9

Carbon Dioxide Capture for the Oxidative Coupling of Methane Process  A case study in mini-plant scale S. Stünkel, M. Brehmer, T. Brinkmann, J. U. Repke, R. Schomäcker, G. Wozny Distillation absorption 2010 : conference proceedings,12-15 September 2010 Eindhoven, The Netherlands A B de Haan, A Górák, H Kooijman Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, 2010 2010, 0, 229 - 234

A Case Study in Miniplant Scale for the Carbon Dioxide Capture of the Oxidative Coupling of Methane Process S. Stünkel, R. Schomäcker, G. Wozny 2010 AIChE Fall Annual Meeting American Institute of Chemical Engineers Omnipress 2010, 0, 0 - 0

Analysis of attainable reactor performance for the oxidative methane coupling process S. Jaso, H. R. Godini, H. Arellano-Garcia, G. Wozny Chemical Engineering Science 2010, 65, 6341 - 6352, 10.1016/j.ces.2010.08.019

Project team and expertise    

Prof. Dr. Matthias Kraume
(TU Berlin)
Transport phenomena, membrane bioreactors, reactor design
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schomäcker
(TU Berlin)
Reaction kinetics, membrane reactors, reactor and process design
Prof. Dr. Peter Strasser
(TU Berlin)
High throughput testing, fuel cells, electrocatalysis
Prof. Dr. Günter Wozny
(TU Berlin)
Process simulation, integrated processes, optimisation

Former team members

Prof. Dr. Frank Behrendt
(TU Berlin)
Reactive flows, porous reactive media, heterogeneous catalysis
Prof. Dr. Andrea Hartwig
(TU Berlin)
Metal toxicology, especially mechanisms of metal genotoxicity, bioavailability
Prof. Dr. Jörg Steinbach
(TU Berlin)
Plant and process safety



Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schomäcker