Date Posted
6 Apr 2017

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PhD Project
Laboratoire de Génie Chimique, Toulouse, France

PhD position (2016-1019): Pre-design of an innovative catalytic reactor applied to the selective hydrogenation of edible oil.

6 Apr 2017

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description

Research project description :
The scope of the study is to apply monolith reactors equipped with in situ heat removal system to the selective hydrogenation of edible oils, which represents a key-step for food industry. This kind of reactor has already been tested in a previous work at LGC for the total hydrogenation of a terpene hydrocarbon, but it has to be qualified for the purpose of reaction selectivity. The specific rheological behavior of edible oils, showing dependence on temperature and also on composition, adds a degree of complexity (called “two-way coupling”) to the modelling of the involved phenomena: hydrodynamics, mass and heat transfer, and reaction. Prediction of reactor performance needs then a specific approach.

The work will be applied to the case of partial hydrogenation of sunflower oil, and will be organized in 4 key-steps:
1. Rheology and kinetics: the latter study will be performed in an autoclave reactor, using a catalyst developed by the CIRIMAT lab (Toulouse).
2. Hydrodynamics: study of oil and H2 distribution into the monolith channels with a specific system (at 100°C, sunflower oil is ~8 times as viscous as cold water); RTD study in a “cold” mock-up (no reaction) for global characterization of flow throughout the reactor; development of a phenomenological model.
3. Complete model of reactor, with two levels of complexity :
– Isothermal pre-design of the apparatus, based on global hydrodynamics (from RTD study), estimated mass transfer rate between gas and liquid, and reaction kinetics.
– Advanced modelling of the monolith reactor by solving coupled phenomena (hydrodynamics, species transport, catalytic reaction) with COMSOL® CFD software, following a multi-scale approach from the unit cell scale (bubble+slug) to the channel scale, and to the global reactor scale. This part of work will be supervised together with Prof. F. Larachi (Laval University, Québec). Interfacial phenomena will be investigated by a DNS (Direct Numerical Simulation) approach in collaboration with another department of LGC lab.
4. Reaction tests, in catalytic pilot reactor: a small-scale monolith reactor designed for hydrogenation is available at LGC; the influence on reaction yield and selectivity of key-parameters, such as fluid flow rates and temperature, will be studied; results will be compared to the model predictions.

Laboratory: LGC (
Doctoral school: MeGeP ( Doctoral school of Mechanics, Energetics, Civil and Process Engineering

How to Apply

The deadline to apply to this thesis proposal is May 2nd, 2016. Application letters should be sent by e-mail to : The application documents should consist (at least) of : - a brief CV, stating the actual position and the diplomas or graduations. - scholar cursus since 2010 : marks, included the present school year. - description of research internship and name, position and e-mail of supervisor(s). - level in English, stating level degree when available - level in French (for foreign applicants), stating level degree when available - letter of motivation, showing how the candidate profile is relevant in regard with the proposed subject of study (initial field of studies, background, previous experience, skills in computer science, in experimental work, etc). If the candidate has not performed a research internship yet, another experience in research is expected –together with name and e-mail of related referee).

Position Category: Engineering. Position Type: PhD Project. Salary: €10'000 - €20'000.

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