The activities in Industrial chemistry at Åbo Akademi started in 1920 as the Borgström professorship in chemical technology was established within the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. Today the faculty has two chairs in the field of Industrial chemistry and reaction engineering: chemical technology (Dmitry Yu. Murzin) and chemical reaction engineering (Tapio Salmi).
Industrial chemistry and reaction engineering, the hard core of chemical engineering focuses on catalysis, chemical kinetics and chemical reactor technology. The key domain in our research is process intensification through the development of new catalysts and new chemical reactors and the use of non-conventional forms of energy, such as acoustic and microwave irradiation. Micro- and millistructured reactors are developed for energy-efficient, for more enhanced and more selective chemical processes. New structured catalysts, such as fibres, monoliths and solid foam structures are utilized for process intensification. The trend of today is to shift from batch processes to continuous reactor technology: we are among the global pioneers in this domain.
The use of ultrasound and microwave irradiation has resulted in breakthroughs, particularly in the valorization of the components originating from biomass. The use and valorization of molecules from biomass is a core area in our research, particularly hydrogenation, oxidation, epoxidation and isomerization of multifunctional molecules. The reaction products are used as fine and specialty chemicals, components in green fuels as well as ingredients in pharmaceutical and alimentary products.
In our strongly multi-disciplinary approach, we successfully combine the experimental activities with the most advanced mathematical modelling of chemical kinetics, transport phenomena and flow pattern in multiphase systems. The chemical spectrum of our research is broad, but still strongly focused: from reaction mechanism to reactor design, from green chemistry to green process technology.
Education and research are strongly connected in our daily activities. We provide courses at the bachelor (TkK) and master (DI) levels in chemical reaction engineering – homogeneous reactors, industrial reactors, advanced reactor systems, heterogeneous catalysis, chemical process and product technology as well as courses at the postgradual level on reaction kinetics and computer-aided chemical reaction engineering.
The environment in the Laboratory is strongly international – around 15 languages are spoken among the team members from different continents. Quality is the most important criterion for us: in recent years, several prizes in excellence have been awarded to the members of the Laboratory: Magnus Ehrnrooth Prize (Societas Scientiarum Fennica), Chancellor’s Prize of Åbo Akademi (three times) and the Nobel Prize Winner A.I. Virtanen Prize in chemisty, alimentary chemistry and biochemisty (a national prize awarded every 6th year to chemical sciences).
Atte Aho, Docent in Characterization and Testing of Catalysts
Adriana Freites Aguilera, Docent in Chemical Reaction Engineering for Multiphase Systems
Jussi Rissanen, Project Reseacher (Academy of Finland)
Zuzana Vajglová, Project Reseacher (Academy of Finland), docent in practical heterogeneous catalysis
Pasi Virtanen, Project Reseacher, Docent in Industrial Chemistry, Application of Ionic Liquids to Chemical Systems and Processes
Leolincoln da Correia Silva