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The Board of Trustees of the VGB-FORSCHUNGSSTIFTUNG awarded the VGB Innovation Award 2020 to

  • Dr Florian Möllenbruck (35) for the flexibilisation of a gas fired power plant by integration of a methanol synthesis (award category: future-oriented).
  • Martin Skala (30) for design and development of zeolite-based sorbents for mercury capture (award category: application-oriented).

The award, endowed with a total of 10,000€, was handed over by the VGB chairman on the occasion of the event 100 YEARS VGB becomes VGB OnLine on 9 September 2020.


Georgios Stamatelopoulos, Chairman of the VGB Board of Directors, honoured the awardees

2020_Moellenbruck   2020_Skala
Florian Möllenbruck was awarded with the VGB Innovation Award 2020 (category: future-oriented)   Martin Skala was awarded with the VGB Innovation Award 2020 (category: application-oriented)


Florian Möllenbruck studied Mechanical Engineering at the Ruhr University Bochum and completed his doctorate at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Gas-fired power plants are highly suitable for compensation of volatile residual load. Florian Möllenbruck worked on the additional integration of a PtX-plant in a gas-fired power plant choosing methanol as example.

He modelled a combined cycle power plant (CCPP) serving as reference plant in the simulation software EBSILQN®Professional. The kinetic modelling of the methanol synthesis was carried out in Aspen Plus®. On this basis, CCPP and PtX plant have been combined and evaluated in an integral and fully dynamic form.

The integration of methanol synthesis in the power plant process showed a reduction of gross and net output. The technical evaluation contributes significantly to the flexibilisation of power plant operation. The innovative concept extends the knowledge in the field of flexible power generation and chemical storage.

Martin Skala studied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.

He brings an insight into the usage of solid sorbents for mercury abatement from the flue gas by setting the KPIs for sorbent efficiency and sorbent performance evaluation. Applied science-based approach allows to separate the influence of the sorbent material composition, sorbent particle features and the process itself. This approach allows to benchmark various sorbents and to tailor their formulation to fit the best into the process setup.

Within his work he focuses particularly on zeolite-based sorbents. The laboratory and early pilot testing showed promising results and has set the zeolite sorbents as materials capable to compete to pulverized activated carbon products. The envisaged competition advantage consists not only in decrease of OPEX but also in application of circular economy principles.

The topic of mercury abatement is one of the key issues coal- and lignite-fired power plants have been facing. The knowledge of solid sorbents’ behaviour contributes greatly to optimization of a flue gas cleaning processes meeting the regulatory provisions, even going beyond them.