Good heat transfer is achieved because of the high surface to volume ratio, which means reactions can often run at much lower temperatures than in batch.
Processes can be scaled up by having multiple reactors in parallel.
From fine chemicals to pesticides and drugs, chemical manufacturers are rethinking the start–stop batch processing model which has served them for the past 50 years.
The drivers are varied: the push for sustainability, improved safety requirements and changing supply chain models are all taking manufacturers in the same direction: towards flow, or continuous, processing.
The German company has just been allowed to reveal that its technology has enabled Chinese agrochemicals maker Shaoxing Eastlake Biochemical to run an alkoxylation reaction continuously since last September.The industry is no stranger to continuous processing in cases where megatonnes are produced, but for the smaller scale, flow chemistry is offering tangible benefits.The evangelists for this emerging technology point to improved yields, less waste, greater purity of the finished product and, in some cases, a safer process.It can be scaled to full production size with the same structure and channel geometries, using Ehrfeld’s own technology or licensed from others.UK-based Syrris has just completed an Innovate UK funded project with GSK and the EPSRC Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) which characterised the heat and mass transfer and mixing capabilities of its modular continuous processing system.