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A nature-inspired approach to reactor and catalysis engineering

Coppens, M-O; (2012) A nature-inspired approach to reactor and catalysis engineering. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering , 1 (3) 281 - 289. 10.1016/j.coche.2012.03.002. Green open access

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Abstract

Mechanisms used by biology to solve fundamental problems, such as those related to scalability, efficiency and robustness could guide the design of innovative solutions to similar challenges in chemical engineering. Complementing progress in bioinspired chemistry and materials science, we identify three methodologies as the backbone of nature-inspired reactor and catalysis engineering. First, biology often uses hierarchical networks to bridge scales and facilitate transport, leading to broadly scalable solutions that are robust, highly efficient, or both. Second, nano-confinement with carefully balanced forces at multiple scales creates structured environments with superior catalytic performance. Finally, nature employs dynamics to form synergistic and adaptable organizations from simple components. While common in nature, such mechanisms are only sporadically applied technologically in a purposeful manner. Nature-inspired chemical engineering shows great potential to innovate reactor and catalysis engineering, when using a fundamentally rooted approach, adapted to the specific context of chemical engineering processes, rather than mimicry. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: A nature-inspired approach to reactor and catalysis engineering
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.coche.2012.03.002
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coche.2012.03.002
Additional information: © 2012. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1364162
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