A great economic crisis that has felt over the last few years in Europe has again stimulated thinking of the need for a "reindustrialization". The reindustrialization is an economic, social, ecological and political process of managing national resources in order to revitalize the industry and other economic activities and relies on the development and application of innovative technologies. Within this endeavor, chemical engineering has a decisive role. In the opinion of many scientists, the reindustrialization and development of the "industry for the future" will be based on three key areas: conservation and remediation of the environment, energy saving, promotion of renewable energy sources and protection of human health. This implies a need to adjust the higher education system to the new industrial and economic challenges, to expand and network existing research resources, to acquire the appropriate scientific equipment, and to a scientific education and specialist training of those who will work with such equipment.
More recently, we are increasingly encountered with achievements that emerge from the "traditional" chemical engineering framework and are mostly based on the application of a new approach known as process intensification. Scientists and engineers at renowned universities and industrial research centers are working intensively on the discovery of new process equipment and techniques, which will represent a major breakthrough in relation to the existing knowledge of chemical process facilities and enable the development of integrated, safer, more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies. Thanks to the strong development of science and the growing interest of the public in this area, the process intensification gradually begins to emerge as a new discipline within chemical engineering. Process intensification implies the development of new process devices and process methods/techniques that make a significant step forward compared to the existing technology systems.
The aim of the proposed project is the development of new photocatalysts and monolithic catalysts as well as innovative photocatalytic and catalytic reactors using the basic methodology of chemical engineering and basic principles of the process intensification. The goal is in their potential application to solve the global problems related to wastewater and waste gas treatment and the production of appropriate reactor prototypes.
The project activities will include two catalytic systems: photocatalytic degradation of neonicotinoid insecticides on new photocatalysts with increased activity in the visible part of the solar spectrum and heterogeneous catalytic oxidation of the mixture of aromatic organic compounds (BTEX) in the gas phase in various designs of ceramic monolithic reactors.