theilgaard.net  


theilgaard.net

studium





Engineering studies (in English)  masters studies    |  Civilingeniør-studium (på dansk)
I ended my studies at DTU with the defence of my Masters thesis in August 2007 and became Master of Science in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

During my studies I have sought to follow courses with technical, chemical engineering and/or industry-chemical orientation and as well kept focus on resource application and energy conversion. I have thus studied the following topics within chemistry and chemical engineering:

- kinetics and catalysis
- reaction engineering
- technical inorganic chemistry
- technical thermodynamics
- combustion processes
- energy resources
- green and sustainable chemistry
- biofuels and biorefining



Masters project
My Masters project was executed at the then-existing Center for Sustainable and Green Chemistry, DTU under the tutelage of prof. Claus Hviid Christensen. It is entitled "Glycerol: A platform for industrial chemistry". Glycerol, being a by-product of biodiesel production (as fatty acid alkyl esters) which has increased the latter years, is potentially over-supplied in it low-grade form and thus should be upgraded to more valuable chemicals.

My strategy was the selective oxidation of polyols (glycerol and propanediols) in basic methanol solutions employing atmospheric oxygen as the oxidant over supported heterogeneous gold catalysts.
Usually water is used as the reaction medium for liquid-phase oxidation, which normally yields carboxylic acids when using primary alcohols with oxygen as the oxidant. Methanol as a reaction medium, however, has the advantage that the methyl esters of the acids are formed directly during the oxidation. For many purposes esters of organic acids are easier to handle, since they can easier be distilled and purified. Some of the products we say may find use as soot-reducing additives in diesel fuel, others as biochemicals for instance as degradable solvents or biopolymers. Part of the work has been published as a scientific article (see ccv).

The grand vision was (and is) to change the raw materials in the chemical industry away from the petrochemical resources and replace them with biomass. But this requires a change of the entire chemistry that has been developed for using petroleum feedstocks in the chemical industry over the last 100 years.

Automobiles can be powered with petrochemical fuels or biofuels, and in scarcity of these hydrogen or electricity are possible energy carriers with electrical engines eg. coupled with fuel cells. The chemical industry does not have this flexibility, however - it requires carbon to build carbon-containing chemicals, and biomass is the only renewable source of this in a foreseeable future. Refineries used for upgrading biomass to chemicals can be called biorefineries.






Sidst opdateret mandag 13. februar 2012


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