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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Process intensification for energy saving

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Much chemical process equipment is highly energy intensive. The processes involved also raise questions over safety, as they involve the use of significant quantities of unstable substances. This project looked at opportunities for process intensification. The results contribute to the future miniaturisation of chemical plant, helping to reduce risk and improve energy efficiency in chemicals processing. Many chemical reactions or unit operations are dependent on mass and heat transfer using gravity. These processes require the use of mixing and heat exchanging devices such as batch reactors or packed towers to achieve these reactions. This project exploited the centrifugal forces (acceleration=>100g) produced on a spinning disc, and thin films of liquids, to achieve process intensification. This method allows a very fast reaction to be achieved in devices much smaller than conventional chemical process equipment. When fully developed this concept will permit the "miniaturisation" of chemical plants. Better mass/heat transfer will allow for considerable energy saving and also require the use of smaller quantities of unstable substances. This will reduce operation costs and also dramatically increase the intrinsic safety of chemical plant.

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