Marcus Wenzel honoured as the best Ph.D. student of the Department of Process and Systems Engineering in 2019

Closing the Carbon Cycle: Research on Syngas Production from Carbon Dioxide

November 22, 2019
Dr.-Ing. Marcus Wenzel, scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems Magdeburg, has been selected as the best Ph.D. student in the period 2018 - 2019 within the Department of Process and Systems Engineering at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. He received this honour during the annual ceremony held by the university on 21st November 2019 in the Johanniskirche of Magdeburg city.

Dr.-Ing. Marcus Wenzel has been distinguished as the best Ph. D. student by the Department of Process and Systems Engineering of the Otto von Guericke University in the period 2018 - 2019 for his Ph.D. thesis on ”Reverse Water-Gas Shift Chemical Looping for Syngas Production from CO2”.

Syngas is widely used in the chemical industry as building block for the production of many bulk chemicals and chemical intermediates. Replacing the traditional syngas production routes from fossil fuels with sustainable production routes based on CO2 and renewable electricity has the potential to drastically lower CO2 emissions and help to close the carbon loop to pave the way for a circular economy. The activation of CO2 is a key step in the context of carbon-capture-and-use (CCU) and power-to-chemicals (P2Chem) concepts.

“The dissertation thesis authored by Dr.-Ing. Marcus Wenzel investigates different process options for converting CO2 by use of hydrogen via the reverse water-gas shift reaction (RWGS). This reaction is a versatile tool for producing syngas as a starting point for a whole spectrum of chemicals and fuels, e.g. synthetic Fischer-Tropsch fuel components.”, says the supervisor Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kai Sundmacher in his evaluation of the dissertation. In particular, the reverse water-gas chemical looping (RWGS-CL) process is analyzed in detail. This process uses an oxygen storage material (OSM) as an intermediate for converting CO2 via the RWGS reaction into syngas.

“The thesis deals with an extremely important topic in Process Systems Engineering, namely the design of a process for the activation of CO2 by use of the chemical looping process concept. The work is distinguished by a unique combination of systematic model-based process evaluation and experimental validation.“ says Prof. Sundmacher. Above that, Marcus Wenzel succeeded to finish his project in a short period of time at the age of 30 and, at the same time, to care for his young family and his daughters. This is an impressive example of reconciling family life and scientific career.

Marcus Wenzel has studied Process Engineering at the Hochschule Anhalt in Köthen, Saxony-Anhalt, and graduated with the Bachelor of Engineering in 2010. From 2010 to 2013 he studied Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg in the master degree course, including one semester at the Technical University in Lappeenranta, Finland. For his master thesis he already cooperated with the Max Planck Institute Magdeburg. From 2013 to 2018 he worked as a Ph. D. student at the Max Planck Institute where he successfully defended his Ph. D. thesis in October 2018. He gained work experience during several internships, e.g. at ContiTech AG in Dannenberg, Wacker Chemie AG in Burghausen and Ningbo Oceanking Chemical Development Corporation in China. Currently, Marcus Wenzel is working as a postdoctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Magdeburg where he continues to investigate the activation of CO2 via the reverse water-gas-shift (RWGS) reaction as well as the sustainable production of syngas from CO2.

The Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg traditionally honors excellent research and teaching as well as the best Ph. D. graduates of its nine departments every year.

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