Process Intensification Methods: from Lab to Industry
With regards to Process Intensification, the choice of the suitable equipment for a specific application is not obvious. Therefore, INPT has developed methodologies and tools for equipments choice, based on its knowledge of each technology. The objective of such an approach is to propose the optimal technology for the user, as each equipment presents its own advantages and drawbacks.
A Recipe For Successful Intensification
The recipe of a successful intensification lies not only in optimal design and/or control of the process but also in the process environment. In most cases, the key-points of process environment consist of dosing lines and pump technology, of thermal control loops and the control system. Regarding the process environment, INPT and MEPI have developed significant skills and know-how, based on collaborative relationships with equipment suppliers.
From Batch to Continuous Process
A recent study emphasizes the importance of this strategy: It deals with the transposition from batch to continuous and process intensification of an API production, including reactions and post treatment.
The synthesis of this product involves two main steps: an initial formation at an optimal temperature of 30 °C and a racemisation at a temperature level above 100 °C.
To obtain the desired product quality it is of major importance to control the application’s temperature thoroughly. For this prupose a new kind of heat exchange reactor made of silicon carbide, offering both high thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance, has been developed in a partnership between Boostec (of Mersen Group) and INPT.
Reactor Design is Result of Studie
The setup of this new reactor type is based on many elaborate lab studies. The reactor design deals with geometrical considerations like dimension and shape of channels but also with practical considerations like the application of seals and connections.
Regarding the properties of the reaction, special care was taken of the utility fluid loop to optimise the temperature control. The stainless steel utility plates are specially designed, including fins. The selected steel increases the plates’ thermal capacitance and so the passive safety of the process.