Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - RRD4E2 (Rational Reactor Design for Enhanced Efficiency in the European Speciality Chemicals Industry)

- a summary description of the project objectives,
The project entangles a leading European specialty chemicals producer, LONZA, with a prime research site in Chemical Reaction Engineering and Reactor Design, FAU Erlangen. The Aim of the EID project “RRD4E2” is: step-changing scientific achievements and technology improvements as well as transfer of these results into the industrial environment at LONZA.
The following three industrially relevant processes of LONZA have been selected for closer investigation in the proposed research program. Each industrial process with different chemistries and different types of engineering challenges is addressed in on independent ESR-project

A) Heterogeneously-catalyzed gas-phase processes.
B) High temperature syntheses in the gas-phase via radical mechanisms.
C) Liquid-phase condensation reactions under high temperature and pressure conditions.

In particular, each of the three deals with the industrial scale production of nitrogen bearing small molecules or hetero-cycles. These building-blocks are key to many modern products and materials in pharmacy, consumer care, nutrition, agro-ingredients and high-performance materials.
It is the central goal of the proposal to train and qualify the ESRs in the entire process of rational reactor design and its industrial implementation. In this way they will be prepared in an ideal manner for the needs and challenges for the European chemical and process industries in the 21st century.

- a description of the work performed since the beginning of the project,
RRD4E2 is a strongly application driven project. The ESR projects are not split into scientific methodologies or technologies but every ESR will deal with one specific process examples on all stages of the optimization process. By this approach RRD4E2 teaches and follows a general route to approach challenges in a rational process optimization and will make advantage out of synergies and complementariness in each phase of the scientific ESR-projects.
This model-based approach will define the optimal reactor geometry in order to realize the best reaction conditions. For the entire project, a close interlink between experimental and theoretical studies both at LONZA and FAU will be indispensable and highly instructive for the training of the ESRs.

+ The ESR took the opportunity to familiarize with the working and research environment at both affiliations FAU and Lonza.
+ Basic concepts and tasks were agreed to optimize the individual process.
+ Synergies and supporting effects in the individual ESR-projects were identified respectively and the ESRs started to team-up.
+ The data mining phase is finished.
+ First investigations, experimental measure and simulations, of the underlying thermodynamics and kinetics were started
+ The ESR-projects are on good track toward “MS1 – Reaction Matrix and Mechanisms proposed” and “MS2 – Optimum Reactor set-up is fixed” in month 21 and 30.

- a description of the main results achieved so far,
+ WP1 – Setup of reaction matrix and mechnisms is completed.
+ MS1 - Reaction matrix and mechanisms proposed, due in project month 21, is reached in project month 27 for every process/project.
+ WP2 – Thermodynamic and kinetic modeling for reactor design is on track.
+3 poster and 2 oral contributions to international conferences are in preparation
+ 3 publications in peer review journals are under preparation also

Contrary to bulk chemicals, industrial production processes for specialty chemicals are often not fully explored with regard to rational process optimization. Instead, processes are improved gradually in an iterative manner based on practical experience. The reactor concept is not always adapted to the requirements of the chemical reaction which leads to inefficiencies in material and energy consumption. Most relevant, many chemical reactions are not operated within the ideal process window concerning activity, selectivity and spacetime-yield. It is obvious that such inefficiencies also affect the process economics and the ecological footprint of the chemical operation. In the light of increasing economic pressure of European speciality chemicals producers from competitors of emerging economies, it is very timely to implement the recent progress in rational reactor design and modelling into industrial practice.
In this male-dominated scientific field, the RRD4E2 project recruiting teams have managed to encourage suitably qualified female applicants, consistent with the EC work programme and the objective of gender mainstreaming.
It is planned that the students together with the hosts will enhance public awareness of the significance of Marie Curie EID projects by multiple activities. The developed Outreach Activity Plan is well balanced and will address pupils and students, scientists in economy and research, about 10,000 Lonza employees worldwide, as well as general public.

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Life Sciences
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