Research Groups

  • Division of Mineral Process Engineering and Energy Materials

    Based on the continuous research and development of fluidization theories and methods, the science fundamentals, key technologies and their integration optimization for high efficient and clean conversion of resource and energy are researched, to establish the complete sets of developed core technologies for industrial demonstration and commercialization. Thus the division is devoted to solving the common problems from mineral resources utilization, advanced materials manufacture, energy technology revolution and other areas.

    Phase change thermal energy storage has advantages in storage density and temperature regulation, but its material corrosion and scale applications have been a major challenge. By study of the microscale structure encapsulating mechanism of molten salt phase change materials, our research revealed the compatibility between molten salts and oxide substrates, constructed an effective control method for microstructure encapsulation, and developed a multi-stage sintering process for production, the heat transfer process enhancement and dynamic thermal management of the energy storage system. The design method of resource-based composite heat storage material suitable for large-scale production and the in-situ optical measurement of thermal stability of the storage system are further studied. The associated research has been applied in kilowatt-scale distributed diesel generator system (Fig. 1), megawatt-scale industrial waste heat recovery system (Fig. 2), megawatt-scale surplus wind power clean heating (Fig. 3) system, and so on, formed a series of composite phase change heat storage and application platform technology, and won the first prize of scientific and technological progress in Liaoning province of China in 2020. It will promote the development of clean energy industry and contribute to the realization of carbon neutrality goals.

    At present, the blast furnace ironmaking process using coke as reducing agent emits ~1.5 tons of greenhouse gas CO2 for every ton of iron, making the CO2 emissions of iron and steel industry accounted for 6.7% of the total industrial emissions. To reduce the CO2 emissions, fluidized bed direct reduction process using clean hydrogen gas as reducing agent is an important direction, but which exists the key problem of “defluidization” caused by whisker growth on the particle surface during the reduction process of fine iron ore powder. A new method of inhibiting whisker growth by coordinated control of reaction and diffusion was proposed. The formation mechanism of whiskers in hydrogen atmosphere was dependent on the compromise of iron diffusion and reduction. Additionally, a criterion for whisker formation was proposed by the calculated whisker formation tendency value based on the regime diagrams of morphology (Chemical Engineering Science, 2020, 220:115468).

    For preparation of advanced titanium-based materials, a new method of disproportionation reaction of titanium sub-chlorides at low temperature was developed to synthesize nano TiC powders. The selective exposure of special crystal plane of TiC was realized, and the overpotential of TiC in electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution was reduced by 52 % by using cubic TiC powders with exposed {100} crystal planes (Advanced Functional Materials, 2021, 31: 2008028). With development of 3D printing technologies, a ‘core-shell’ structured carbon nanotube coated Al composite powder is fabricated. The coating largely enhanced the interaction between Al powder and laser beam, and enabled a homogeneous distribution of reinforcements in the Al-matrix after printing. Therefore, the printing quality and mechanical property were both improved. This fabricating technique of composite powder broke through the bottleneck of 3D printing of metal matrix composite (Carbon, 2020, 162, 465).

    Fig. 1 Kilowatt scale energy storage coupled diesel generator system

    Fig. 2 Megawatt scale industrial waste heat recovery system

    Fig. 3 Megawatt scale clean heating with surplus wind energy


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    • CONTACT US Institute of Process Engineering,Chinese Academy of Sciences,1 North 2nd Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District, Beijing 100190, PR China