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Research activities: Department of Power Engineering

In the past the research activities of the Department of Power Engineering were focused on segments of production of water serving as a medium for power generation (especially using ion exchangers) and corrosion phenomena in power engineering. Nowadays, the traditional research interests were shifted more towards environmental matters: usage of ion exchangers and other sorbents for specific removal of heavy metals and other contaminants from water, water treatment using membrane processes, material science including corrosion phenomena, alternative source of energy and heat. The research projects of the Department are closely connected with practice and are solved in collaboration with research institutions in Czech Republic and abroad.

Present research

In the field of water treatment the Department is involved in the following areas: selective removal and recovery of metal cations and oxoanions from contaminated water, utilization of biosorbents and composite sorbents in water treatment, recovery of metal values from waste waters via combination of electrochemical and ion exchange methods. Desalination of water using membranes and ion exchangers is also investigated. Attention is also paid to degradation of ion exchangers (total and breakthrough capacities, grain size analysis, pressure drop across the column) during their life-cycle. For the analysis of heavy metals the Department possesses excellent tools: ion coupled plasma and for the analysis of anions ionic chromatography instruments, respectively.
Research in biomass and waste fuel field is focused on efficient chemical energy release, its recovery and GHG´s emission reduction. Physical and chemical properties of fytomass residues other than wood are evaluated as an alternative fuel option with the potential to replace petroleum and natural gas fuels for domestic heating. Due to its potential in replacing landfilling option the properties of waste fuels are studied with the aim to understand the behavior of fuel and ash under wide range of conditions. Collaboration on the evaluation of the behaviors of the biomass/waste components in inert and oxidative atmosphere particularly for nonconventional fuels, processing byproducts and various wastes is offered including expertise use of analytical methods XRF, DSC-TGA and bomb combustion calorimetry in fuel R&D.
In the field of corrosion research, the activities of Department are currently focused on study of formation and properties of corrosion layers formed on nuclear fuel cladding under conditions of primary circuit of pressurized water reactor (PWR), corrosion protective properties of physical vapour deposition (PVD) coatings, environment-friendly corrosion inhibitors development, corrosivity and corrosion protection in air-conditioning systems, corrosivity and electric properties characterization of liquid alcohol-based biofuels. As an important research tool, electrochemical techniques and surface analysis techniques are applied. New methodological approach is developed including such techniques like Micro Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (MEIS), Acoustic Emission (AE), Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA) and Thin-Layer Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (TLEIS). The Department is equipped with electrochemical measuring systems, autoclaves, experimental loops and loading machines and has possibility to use surface analysis techniques of Central Laboratories of Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (XPS, SEM etc).

Expected future orientation 

 Preparation of highly selective polymeric and composite sorbents. 
 Design and application of low-waste ion exchange and hybrid technologies for metal recovery from waste waters. 
 Study and modelling of degradation of ion exchangers and polymeric sorbents. 
 Biomass and waste fuel pretreatment paths and methods for modification of waste biomass fuels before combustion. 
 Mitigation of superheater corrosion in a high pressure boiler during combustion of fuels other than currently used woody biomass. 
 Better control of alkalis, chlorine and sulfur compounds being present in the flue gas in order to increase the boiler integrity and its lifetime.
 Exploration of inorganic mineral matter content on devolatilization process, the catalytic effect of mineral matter on thermal degradation and methods to increase ash sintering temperatures.
 Development of methodology of Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy in special applications (high temperature systems, high resisitivity systems).
 Study of corrosion under specific conditions like super critical water systems, material degradation with focus on special alloys for power producing industry. 
 International cooperation in the framework of research of IV. generation of nuclear reactors. This cooperation will be focused on localized types of corrosion like pitting stress corrosion cracking and corrosion fatigue, oxide layer characterization.
 Study of oxide layers will be oriented on structure, chemical analyses, morphology and influence on heat exchange phenomenon, protective properties of oxide layers created under supercritical water conditions and under conditions of intensive heat exchange.
doc. Jan Macák, CSc.
 +420 220 44 3125, 3133
E-mail: Jan.Macak@vscht.cz
Updated: 15.12.2014 14:22, Author: Lenka Matějová

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