Press release of September 27, 2022

Improving energy efficiency in distillation with math

HZDR graduate receives award for outstanding PhD thesis

The European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE) has honored Dr. Vineet Vishwakarma with the „EFCE Excellence Award“ in the field of fluid separations. The 33-year-old researcher received the prestigious award for his outstanding PhD research conducted at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), which he defended last year at TU Dresden. Vishwakarma accepted the award on Wednesday, September 21, at the „Distillation & Absorption Symposium 2022“ in Toulouse, France. It is only granted every four years and comes with a prize money of 1,500 Euros.

Foto: Dr. Vineet Vishwakarma ©Copyright: privat

Dr. Vineet Vishwakarma

Source: privat


„I am honored and deeply grateful to receive such a prestigious award for my research,” says a delighted Vishwakarma, who came to Germany from India in 2015. „My work benefited from many insights that I gained during my time at the Institute of Fluid Dynamics at HZDR, where I collaborated and exchanged ideas with my colleagues. Therefore, this achievement not only reflects my own performance, but is also a testament to the scientific excellence of the entire team.“

The EFCE jury based its decision on the fact that Vishwakarma’s thesis stood out for its scientific impact, innovation and industrial relevance among other contenders. In his work, he dealt with distillation technology that is often applied in large devices, so-called columns, in chemical, petroleum and pharmaceutical industries. Such columns are particularly considered as energy-intensive, and together they consume an estimated three percent of the world’s energy reserves.

In order to improve their energy efficiency and environmental footprint, Vishwakarma developed a new mathematical model to accurately predict the separation performance influenced by complex two-phase flow patterns encountered during column operation. His new model considers distillation trays as compartmented flow domains, which much better accounts for real-world particularities, such as liquid and gas flow maldistributions. With that, the model is widely applicable for different industrial tray configurations. To feed his model, Vishwakarma applied both computational and experimental techniques including a recently-patented flow profiling sensor. The former PhD student is confident that his work will play an important role in the future development of such columns for the industry.

Vineet Vishwakarma studied Mechanical Engineering at Nagpur University in India between 2006 and 2010. After working in the corporate sector for several years, he earned a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 2015. In the same year, he received the doctoral scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and began his scientific career as a staff member in the Institute of Fluid Dynamics at HZDR – under the mentorship of Prof. Uwe Hampel and Dr. Markus Schubert – and as a PhD student in the Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering at TU Dresden. After successfully completing his doctorate with „summa cum laude“ last year, he moved to University of Michigan (USA) in June 2022 for the postdoctoral research on fluid dynamics in the field of nuclear reactor safety.

Further information:

Prof. Uwe Hampel
Institute of Fluid Dynamics at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 2772 | Email:

Media contact:

Simon Schmitt | Head
Department of Communication and Media Relations at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 3400 | Email: