Small colorful globules are the element of Dr. Edith Kühl. With their help, the engineer from Freudenberg filters gases from the air and ensures the smooth interaction of industrial plants.
Dr. Edith Kühl and Dr. René Engelke discussing pellet quality following a pellet test.
They are highly sensitive systems that can knock entire companies or even industries off track if they are defective: data centers, switchgear or engine control units are exposed to harmful gases or moisture around the clock. If they are not filtered out of the air, corrosion can occur and, in the worst cases, the entire system can fail. Together with her colleagues, Dr. Edith Kühl is researching the optimal solution to this problem. The idea is to use small, porous beads or pellets to absorb harmful gases, bind them or transform them into harmless salts. This process is called gas phase filtration and is far more than a product for its users. It is an insurance policy against an incalculably high risk.
With her fundamental research on the pellets, the chemical engineer from Lüneburg has contributed decisively to the further development of this innovative filtration process. During her PhD at the Technical University Clausthal, she was already researching different recipes in collaboration with the Business Group Freudenberg Filtration Technologies and testing their effectiveness in a specially constructed experimental plant. The challenge for the passionate scientist is that the pellets need to be both porous and as permeable as possible, but also solid. “It was an indescribable feeling when I realized that my formula actually worked,” the 29-year-old explains.
Since November 2015, she has been a permanent member of the Freudenberg Filtration Technologies team and has moved from the Harz to Darmstadt, from where she commutes daily to Weinheim. But she is happy to make the journey. “I’ve always been interested not only in chemistry, but also in business”, Kühl explains. “Here I find both: practical chemistry research in a business context – for me, it’s the perfect mix.”
Her range of tasks is correspondingly diverse. Alongside the creation of measurements and data sheets, she supports sales, holds training courses and advises clients. In addition, the hobby choral singer is working on new products and the improvement of existing pellet recipes. She also made a decisive contribution to ChemWatch, an online monitoring system for corrosivity in the room air. “The market and the possible applications for gas phase filtration are large. This makes my work exciting every day”, Kühl observes.