Skip to main content

Process intensification for energy saving


Process intensification may be defined as the use of methods or equipment which will increase the throughput by a factor greater than three for a given plant size. One of the benefits of process intensification is improved energy efficiency.

The objective of this project is to study intensified processes by exploiting the centrifugal fields produced on a spinning disc in order to generate thin liquid films or produce small bubbles/droplets. The above concept will be used to study the intensified performance of a rotating polymer reactor, a double disc heat exchanger, and a rotary extractor.

The project contains two categories: Intensified Heat Transfer and Intensified Solvent Extraction.

Intensified Heat Transfer Intensified heat transfer on rotating surfaces received JOULE I funding (JOUE900041). The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the extent to which tailored surfaces and elevated acceleration can stimulate high heat transfer intensities. Experimental results indicated that an enhancement in excess of 20% can be achieved. Under the present project it is foreseen to extend the spinning disc concept and explore the performance of a spinning disc version of a polymerisation reactor in order to achieve improved heat and mass transfer characteristics. The polymerisation of polyesters will be studied and the effect of disc temperature, rotational speed and the feed flow rate on the intrinsic viscosity and the degree of polymerisation will be studied. In addition, the heat transfer characteristics of a double disc heat exchanger will be studied. The unit will consist of a vertical rotating shaft on which two flat discs with 20-30 cm diameter will be attached. The results obtained could form the basis for developing multi-stack spinning disc reactors or heat exchangers.

Intensified Solvent Extraction This work will aim to measure the hydraulic capacity and mass transfer performance of a rotary solvent extractor for the removal of chlorinated hydrocarbons from water. A statistical model will be developed to describe how rotational speed, phase flowrates and packing size affect the surface area for mass transfer. The model will be tested by measuring droplet sizes in a transparent rotary extractor. If the machine and the extraction system fulfill theoretical expectations, then the combination could be a very cost effective basis for tackling many of Europe's aqueous effluent problems.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Merz Court Claremont Road
NE2 4AA Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Centre for Renewable Energy Sources
Km 19Th,marathonos Avenue
19009 Pikermi Attiki