Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Flexible chemical reactor

The contemporary industry has ever increasing processing requirements. To cover this need process intensification technology is employed. As such, the innovative FlexReactor consists of an in process system consisting of reconfigurable subsystems for providing increased flexibility of application. In this way, this chemical reactor offers a large range of throughputs for laboratory, pilot or full-scale processes for improved plant efficiency without shortcomings.
Flexible chemical reactor
The developed FlexReactor is the result of a five-years’ research and development work. It is a compact and high efficient in-process equipment that offers increased advantages to the process plant. Thereby, its adoption assures the continuous process of material at the optimal rate with the lowest capital and operating cost. Simultaneously, it eases the faster and safer operation of the plant resulting to high quality products of improved yield.

The FlexReactor consists of a set of static mixers in tubes that are linked with demountable U-bends. Forming a bundle that is placed in a shell, the tubes allow the flow of a heat transfer fluid through them. The various interconnectivity patterns of the tubes offer a large variety of flow paths that are necessary for different reaction. For instance, the serial connection of tubes is valuable for the slower reactions, while the parallel connection for the faster reactions. Moreover, the assembly of the FlexReactor allows the introduction of other instrumentation and equipment through their end fittings, for additional functionalities, such as process control.

This patented development can be designed for a wide range of family reactors covering a large range of throughputs, from laboratory and pilot scale to full-scale production plants. Whatever its application may be, its key features, including the flexibility of operation remain the same.

Currently, four fine chemical companies have conducted pilot plant trials with different reactions such as neutralisation, sulphonation, nitration and polymerisation. Their key findings showed that the incorporation of the FlexReactor in a chemical plant is quite promising: a 50%-75% energy savings; reduced carbon emissions (by 1million tones per year); an almost 99.9% reduction of reacting inventories that prevents explosions and accidents; more than a 50% reduction of the excess of reactants limiting the solvent usage (consequent avoidance of hazardous off-gases) and the waste production (significant reductions of by-products).

The FlexReactor technology, designs and specialised equipment are available from BHRSolutions.
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