Researchers at IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) have recently developed an innovative methodology based on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and 3D printing techniques for the design and manufacture of a metal chemical reactor for the production of clean fuels. In order to develop and test processes for the production of fuels and intermediates for the chemicals sector, IFPEN researchers design reactors for their pilot units.
IFPEN adopted an innovative scientific approach, still little employed in the field of chemical engineering, based on a combination of l modeling tools simulating fluid flows (Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD) and experimental validation techniques using additive manufacturing. Once the geometry of the reactor has been generated, an inexpensive, fast-to-produce transparent resin 3D prototype is printed for the purposes of conducting hydrodynamic tests. Optimal internal geometries were achieved thanks to rapid interactions between simulation, prototype production and experimentation. Finally, the ultimate reactor was produced using 3D printing.
IFPEN joined forces with various players in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping sector in the Rhône-Alpes region. IFPEN turned to Additive3D for the production of the transparent resin prototypes and 3D&P, the technological spin-off company owned by industrial group Aubry Finance specializing in additive manufacturing, for the production of the metal component.