Shape Optimization for Energy-efficient High Temperature Processes

The energy transition will only be a success story if the consumption of fossil-fuel can be significantly reduced. In Germany, 40 % of the heat consumption takes place in the industrial sector and thereof 90 % are used for process heat. Since high temperature processes go normally hand in hand with extreme thermal losses, it is clear that optimization in this field can lead to significant energy and CO2 savings, as well as cost reductions.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research we started in January in Kaiserslautern the project „Shape Optimization for Energy-efficient High Temperature Processes“ (German acronym EHFo) with partners at the TU Kaiserslautern and the Fraunhofer ITWM, in cooperation with our industrial partner ICL.

Here, the goal is to simulate and optimize a chamber furnace which is used for the production of polyphosphates. In particular, one needs a complex multiphysics model combining heat conduction, radiation, turbulent flows, chemical reactions and phase transitions. Based on this mathematical model we are planning to use techniques from shape optimization for the redesign of the geometry of the furnace, as well as optimization strategies for the positioning of the gas burner.

The main focus in this project will be on radiative effects, which are most challenging for any simulation and optimization software. Hence, we are going to employ approximating model hierarchies to speed up the optimization process.

For the next three years, two Phd students and two Postdocs will focus on this challenging project. If you are interested in further information please contact René Pinnau (



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