DFG Collaborative Research Centres

CRC 1615 SMART Reactors for Future Process Engineering

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Schlüter

Duration: since 2023

Homepage SFB 1615

To face climate change and create more resilient supply chains a transformation from fossil feedstocks to renewable raw materials is indispensable. However, renewable raw materials fluctuate seasonally and geologically in their availability and quality (also due to (geo)political crises). Therefore, society urgently requires processes and reactors that can flexibly respond to fluctuating characteristics of raw materials. To enable such adaptation very high level of process control is needed: pressures, temperatures, concentrations and dispersed phases must be monitored within the reactors continuously and in situ using appropriate sensors. Local process control and adjustment during operation must be realized. This requires a deep and fundamental understanding of all relevant transport processes and reaction steps to provide a fast and reliable modelling and simulation for an operando and in situ process optimisation.

Fundamental research on these topics will enable technologies for SMART reactors, that convert renewable resources which are more Sustainable into different products (Multipurpose) and that are Autonomously (self-adaptive), which will lead to more Resilient processes that are better Transferable between scales and locations. In our vision the autonomous reactor can in situ measure the local conditions using integrated sensors, which transfer the chemical or electrical signal to the integrated responsive internal components of the reactor (actuators). These actuators self-adapt and therefore optimize the process on a local level. Therefore, this CRC will investigate how local process conditions in reactors can be detected, formulated in models and translated into actions to always ensure optimal process conditions with constant product quality and maximum yield despite fluctuating quality of the feed coming from renewable resources. As exemplary reaction from hydrogen economy, the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to propanediols is used, which includes biochemical, chemical and mechanical transformation steps exemplarily for fluid-fluid and solid-fluid systems.

To achieve our vision, interdisciplinary collaboration between process engineering, materials science and electrical engineering with physicists, chemists, mathematicians and data scientists from the Hamburg University of Technology, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW), the University Hamburg, the Leuphana University Lüneburg, the University of Freiburg, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (Geesthacht) and DESY enables the focusing of expertise and unique experimental facilities. From the most brilliant X-ray sources in the world for investigating the tiniest building blocks of matter to the world´s largest Magnetic Resonance Tomograph for process imaging in multiphase reactors, the limitations of future processes on all relevant scales will be discovered and tackled. This CRC sets out to pave the way to SMART reactors, which are able to adapt quickly to changing raw materials, energy supply and reaction conditions.

CRC 986 Tailor-Made Multi-Scale Materials Systems - M3

Spokeperson: Prof. Dr. Gerold Schneider

Duration: since 2012

Homepage SFB 986

The long-term research goal of the Collaborative Research Center “SFB 986: Tailor-Made Multi-Scale Materials Systems - M3” is to develop experimental methods for producing and characterizing multi-scale structured materials with tailor-made mechanical, electrical, and photonic characteristics. It has been approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the leadership of TUHH in close collaboration with the University of Hamburg and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. Within the SFB 986, 20 project leading scientists work on a cross-disciplinary approach to develop completely new types of materials.

The special innovation potential of the SFB 986 lies in how the materials are assembled: predominantly, from single building blocks of distinct discrete length scales. This hierarchical composition opens up possibilities to exchange building units in a concerted way in order to discretely alter materials properties and, thus, to achieve entirely new materials functions.

In addition to the required experimental methods and based on their results, theoretical materials models are refined. Hence, the SFB 986 not only gains experimental expertise but also a theoretical understanding of how a hierarchical composition determines materials behavior. To this end, theoretical modeling includes atomistic, meso-scale, and continuum models.

For the hierarchical structures, the single building blocks are comprised of polymers, ceramics, metals, and carbon (in form of carbon nanotubes and aerographites). They form core-shell structures or cavities filled with polymers and, in turn, assemble to build up structured and functionalized units from the atom to the macro-scale.

The three project areas of the SFB 986 use different materials systems and vary both the multi-scale structure and the functionalized properties: While project area A focuses mainly on quasi-self-similar structures with multifunctional properties, project area B aims to generate integrated nanostructured multiphase material systems with a structural design that combines strength and functional, especially, electrical, properties. The main emphasis in project area C is on highly ordered hierarchical periodic and aperiodic structures and their photonic properties at high temperatures.

By harnessing the inter-disciplinary potential of the SFB 986, the scientists in the three project areas will develop innovative macroscopic, multi-scale structured materials and components, the properties of which can be changed discontinuously by a controlled exchange of components. If the scientists succeed in implementing this concept, entirely new kinds of materials functions are expected.

Participation in DFG Collaborative Research Centers

CRC 1483 Empatho-Kinaesthetic Sensor Technology - EmpkinS

Sprecher für die TUHH: Prof. Alexander Kölpin

Duration: since 2021


The twelve-year research program of the CRC EmpkinS (Empatho-Kinaesthetic Sensor Technology – Sensor Techniques and Data Analysis Methods for Empatho-Kinaesthetic Modeling and Condition monitoring)) is concerned with inferring control circuits of the body from body movements. The Institute for High-Frequency Technology (E-3) of the TUHH is responsible for cardiovascular diagnostics with radar.

TRR 181 Energy Transfers in Atmosphere and Ocean

Sprecher für die TUHH: Prof. Thomas Rung

Duration: since 2016