Process Intensification Methods: from Lab to Industry
Comply Unconventional Constraints
To obtain the best performances and comply with the “unconventional constraints” of the process, specific features are required regarding the heating/cooling device. To meet this challenge, a process thermostat from Lauda is used. Lauda’s Integral XT 150 provides a strong heating and cooling capacity to cope with rapid temperature changes. The combination of the small diameters of the reactor connections and the small channels inside the device calls for a strong pump with high gauge pressure. Therefore the thermostat is equipped with a pump that delivers a maximum pressure of 2.9 bar and a flow rate up to 45 l/min. The eight levels of the vario pump enable the adaption of the pressure and flow supplied to the reactor.
The resultant reactor offers at pilot scale enhanced thermal performances with a heat exchange capacity (UA/V) of 20,000 kWm2/m3.
Following the developed methodology, the process has been thoroughly characterised in terms of hydrodynamics, mixing, heat and mass transfer etc., according to benchmark procedures developed by INPT specialists.
From Lab to Industry Application
To speed up the transposition to continuous processes and improve the process control, an in-line analysis based on Raman spectroscopy has been set up. Satisfactory performances during benchmark steps allow the equipment to be transferred to MEPI, where an industrial demonstration at pilot scale is prepared. This final demonstration step allows to perform optimal control of the process and to prepare the installation on the customer production site.
Eventually, the full continuous and intensified process including reaction and post-treatment methods (like precipitation, filtration, drying) has been validated during production campaigns on end user site at a pilot scale, leading to an API production of seven tons per year.