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ACHEMA PRESENTATION: Solids Handling in Flow - Advances in Multi-Tonne Production

ACHEMA is just around the corner, taking place on the 22 - 26 August in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. AM Technology will be exhibiting our Coflore flow reactors at the event in hall 9.1 booth E64, the perfect opportunity for interested parties to get hands on with the flow reactors, and see the Coflore ACR in operation!

For those interested in learning about applications related to Coflore, AM Technology flow chemist, Martin Monedero, will be presenting a lecture on work outlining the solids handling capabilities of Coflore flow reactors on Thursday 25th August at 10:00. The presentation abstract can be found below for reference.

Abstract: Solids Handling in Flow – Advances in Multi-Tonne Production

Flow chemistry is well-established within bulk chemical manufacturing. Industrial-scale flow processing presents an attractive alternative to traditional batch manufacturing techniques through advantages such as; improved reaction selectivity and yield, reduced running costs, lower waste to product ratio, smaller reactor footprint and improved reaction safety. The potential advantages versus traditional batch methods have now generated significant interest from within the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries and has resulted in the increased development of novel flow processes from laboratory research-scale towards production at plant-scale.

Solids handling in flow has presented a significant challenge across all scales of production, with the tendency of particulates to bridge or block flow reactor channels being a major barrier to the widespread adoption of flow at production-scale. Solids handling issues can be mitigated through immobilisation of solids on porous supports, or through tuning solvents and concentrations to avoid precipitation. However, for many industrially significant chemical processes, such mitigation methods are either too inefficient or not possible. Dilution or other solvent alterations can negatively impact reaction kinetics and reduce productivity, while precipitation may be required to achieve a favourable reaction equilibrium. Immobilisation can be a useful method for heterogeneous catalytic reactions, but the semi-continuous nature can limit throughput and efficiency when compared to a continuous feed of free-flowing slurry.

When developing a flow process with slurries, particles that bridge generate a lower limit of channel size, and particles that settle favour a turbulent flow regime. Turbulent flow can be achieved through high fluid velocities, often aided by static mixers, or mechanical mixing. Multiphasic reactions are often relatively slow due to the inherent mass transfer limitations, limiting the applicability of static mixing or high fluid velocities. Therefore, to maintain the desired turbulent flow regime at a wide range of reaction times, mechanical mixing is favoured. Here, we outline recent advances in developing a range of multiphasic flow reactions with scale up to production. Continuous hydrogenations have been of particular interest to reduce the mass transfer limitations when using solid catalyst, liquid medium and gaseous hydrogen, alongside reduced working volumes of pressurised, highly flammable gas. Reagent slurries are also significant, where solids loading should be high to maximise productivity. Recent advances with reductive deoxygenations and acetylations have shown the productivity, energy and performance benefits achievable through transferring a process from batch to flow.


“One of today's most important tools for modernizing the pharmaceutical industry is a process known as continuous manufacturing”

Director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research,

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