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discovered 02_2012

discovered 02.12 PORTRAIT WWW.Hzdr.DE “It is definitely something quite special – being awarded a European Research Council, an ERC, Starting Grant,“ explains Rainer Maletti, head of the Program Planning and International Projects Department at HZDR. Markus Schubert did what thus far no other HZDR scientist was able to do: on April 24 in Brussels, Belgium, he successfully presented his research proposal, which is aimed at an examination of the internal fluid dynamics that take place inside chemical equipment. “Many of our everyday products and goods like low-sulfur fuels or plastics rely on these types of chemical reactors for their manufacturing processes,“ Markus Schubert explains. “But what it is that’s actually happening during these processes is something nobody quite understands – given the mostly pressure-resistant walls of the fluid containers themselves which are virtually impenetrable. Is the flow field configured in such a way that the process runs optimally? There is a definite gap in our understanding here, which we are looking to fill. Using novel experimental methods, we hope to shed light on the fluid dynamics in these types of reactors and use that knowledge to continue to develop appropriate simulation models.“ In the meantime, the European Research Council Executive Agency has drawn up and co-signed a contract with HZDR, which outlines the conditions and specifications of the research grant. “It allows Mr. Schubert to conduct his research without any restrictions, and to make autonomous decisions, like, for instance, picking his own staff,“ confirms Rainer Maletti who is intimately familiar with the whole gamut of grant options available to scientists, as he explains the idiosyncrasies of this particular European program tailored to young researchers. With the help of this grant – close to 1.2 million Euros in four years – Markus Schubert is finally able to put together his own research team. A mere five years ago, he could have scarcely imagined his present-day success. At that point, he had just assumed his first post-doc position at HZDR. Now, he supervises his own PhD and other students who are working on various individual projects. Somewhere in there, he also managed to fit in a year conducting research as a guest scientist at Laval University in Québec, Canada. Markus Schubert works at the HZDR‘s Institute of Fluid Dynamics, where processes involving complex flows are an important research emphasis. Until now, the scientists have focused on dynamics that play an important part in energy technology. In order to investigate the fluiddynamic processes in chemical plants under industry-like conditions, Markus Schubert is for now focusing his efforts on a highly specialized type of facility called a bubble column reactor. Inside it, gas is being distributed as evenly as possible and induced to react. A real “home-turf advantage“ for the young researcher are the many different kinds of measurement techniques the Institute has available for visualizing fluid dynamics. For his project, he plans on using high-speed tomography X-ray radiation. “In the end, it‘s all about making contributions to how such processes and facilities can be optimally designed to increase profits of the desired products while, at the same time, saving both resources and energy.“ // Markus Schubert receives a “Starting Grant“ by the European Research Council. The young scientist plans to use the 1.2 million Euro grant to contribute fundamentally new and important insights that will benefit the chemical industry. Text . Anja Weigl Translation . Dennis Schulz First-ever European “Starting Grant“ at HZDR CONVINCED: Markus Schubert is a methods engineer and the first HZDR researcher to receive a European Research Council “Starting Grant.“ Contact _Institute of Fluid Dynamics at HZDR Dr. Markus Schubert