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M. Sc. Kai Künnemann

Development and testing of integrated reaction and catalyst separation of long chain alkenes

Curriculum Vitae:

Kai Kuennemann has studied Chemical Engineering at the TU Dortmund University until 2016. During this time, he attended the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland via the Erasmus+ exchange program to focus his studies on air pollution control and process intensification. He finished his studies with the master thesis ‘Parameter analysis for a continuous process control of the ruthenium catalyzed hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to N,N-dimethylformamide in miniplant scale‘. Since 2017 he works as a research associate at the Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry at TU Dortmund University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dieter Vogt. His research is aligned to homogeneous multiphase catalysis in continuous operated miniplants investigating reactions such as hydroformylation, reductive amination and hydroaminomethylation.  

Research Topic:

Homogeneous catalysis in comparison to heterogeneous catalysis is burdened by the use of a solvent, which makes catalyst recycle and product separation costly and difficult. This is probably one of the main reasons that industry prefers heterogeneous catalysis. Besides heterogenizing homogeneous catalysts, immobilization of the homogeneous catalysts in multiphase operation (e.g. two-liquid phase approach) offers promising opportunities. Therefore this research focus on different approaches to show the potential of immobilized catalysts for continuous process applications. The first approach is the use of thermomorphic multiphase systems (TMS) which utilizes the temperature dependency of the miscibility gap of the immobilized catalyst phase and the substrate phase to eliminate phase transfer limitations (Figure 1, left). The other approach is the use of cyclodextrines as phase transfer intermediaries in a biphasic system to contact the immobilized catalyst with the substrate on the interfacial area of the two liquid phases (Figure 1, right).
The research of thermomorphic multiphase systems is part of the Collaborative Research Center / Transregio 63 (CRC / TR 63) "Integrated Chemical Processes in Liquid Multiphase Systems" (InPROMPT), which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


Figure 1: Miniplant set-up using a TMS as catalyst recovery and reaction system (left). Reaction phase is homogenously due temperature dependency of TMS. Miniplant set-up using cyclodextrines for phase transfer catalysis and liquid-liquid two phase technique for catalyst recovery (right). Reaction phase is an emulsion. 

 Follow the link to moodle to get further information about current student research projects: TC - Abschlussarbeiten

Conference posters & talks:

November 2019, Orlando (Florida), USA: AIChE Annual Meeting, ‘FT-IR & Spectra Deconvolution: A Fruitful Combination for in-situ Process Monitoring in Homogeneous Catalysis’
November 2019, Brussels, Belgium: ExxonMobil Research & Development Days 2019, ‘Intensified Multiphase Catalysis in Continuous Processes: Thermomorphic Multiphase Systems & Cyclodextrins’
October 2019, Dresden, Germany: DGMK-Petrochemistry, ‘Process Intensification of Thermomorphic Multiphase Systems for the Homogeneously catalyzed Hydroaminomethylation in a Continuously operated Miniplant’
August 2019, Aachen, Germany: EuropaCat, "Rhodium-Catalyzed Hydroformylation promoted by Cyclodextrins: Scale-up approach into a Continuous Process"
March 2019, Weimar, Germany: DECHEMA Jahrestreffen Deutscher Katalytiker, ‘Reductive Amination with subsequent catalyst recovery via thermomorphic multiphase systems. From Laboratory to Miniplant'
September 2018, Aachen, Germany: Annual Meeting of the GDCh-Division Sustainable Chemistry, “Reductive Amination with subsequent catalyst recovery via thermomorphic multiphase systems: From Laboratory to Miniplant"
June 2018, Portland (Oregon), USA:  22nd Green Chemistry and Engineering conference, "Hydroformylation with subsequent catalyst recovery via thermomorphic multiphase systems: Process intensification in miniplant scale"
May 2018, Würzburg, Germany: Annual Meeting on Reaction Engineering “Investigations of the integrated reaction and catalyst separation for the homogenously catalysed reductive amination on miniplant scale"


Kai Künnemann_Homepage


Technische Universität Dortmund
Fakultät Bio- und Chemieingenieurwesen

Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie

Geschossbau 1
Emil-Figgestr. 66
44227 Dortmund

Raum: 513


Tel.: (+49)231 755-4335

Fax.: (+49)231 755-2311