An ECR in Stuttgart, Germany

My name is Maria Erans Moreno. I am a second-year PhD student in Cranfield University and I received the UKCCSRC’s ECR International Exchange Fund to spend three months in the laboratory in IFK Stuttgart in Germany, hosted by Heiko Dieter.

I arrived in Stuttgart at the beginning of September 2015 when it was still hot in south Germany compared to the grey UK weather I was coming from. The first day everyone was very welcoming, showing me around, introducing themselves and giving me an insight of the great facilities they have in the IFK lab.

The aim of this research exchange was to test some new synthetic sorbents for Calcium looping at a small-scale plant to decide which of these samples will be tested in our pilot plant. I was also a participant in their testing campaign for the 200 kWth Calcium looping plant, this gave me a great insight on how to operate bigger and more realistic plants, which will be of great use to my project.

The biggest part of my work in the lab consisted on testing several synthetic pelletised CaO-based materials for their use in the Calcium looping process. This research was conducted in a small bubbling fluidised bed in batch mode, where the sorbents were tested during several cycles under different conditions. At the beginning of my experimental work we had various issues with the quantity of sorbent, times of reaction and also with the suitable conditions to make the tests as realistic as possible. But after a few weeks all the parameters were decided and the tests ran smoothly for the following couple of months.

When my experiments were finished, snow had arrived to Germany as well as the typical Christmas markets.  It has not only been work, I arrived at the best time of the year and I had time to enjoy their Wein Fest, Wassen and Besen among other cultural activities. I also joined an evening course of German so I could make the most of my trip and learn as much as possible.

After all the data was processed, the results were even better than expected, these data would be a great ground for further improvement of these particles in the future to make them more resistant to attrition and to scale-up the process from lab-scale to pilot testing.

I would like to thank all the personnel in Stuttgart specially Heiko for facilitating this collaboration and, Andreas and Theodor, for letting me stablish in their office, for all the support that they gave me during the three months I stayed with them and for the useful advice on how to continue in a good research direction for the remaining time of my PhD; also to the rest of my colleagues, especially to Harold, Matthias and Gebhard, for making my stay more enjoyable.