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Process Intensification for Green Chemistry

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Process Intensification for Green Chemistry

1. As environmental regulations become more stringent there is an ever-growing need for chemical processes that produce less environmental impact.
2. One concept that can be applied to reduce environmental impact is process intensification: quote – a strategy that aims to achieve process miniaturization, reduction in capital cost, improved inherent safety and energy efficiency and often improved product quality – unquote.
3. Ultrasonic and radiation energy sources are a couple of examples of ways certain processes can be intensified.
4. Process intensification also offers the benefit of reducing the volume of potentially hazardous compounds required for a reaction.
5. Another primary goal of intensified process design, quote - is to move away from batch processing to small continuous reactors, the latter giving more efficient overall operation – unquote.
6. Intensified reactors that are now under development or in use include, quote – spinning disc reactors (SDRs), HEX reactors, oscillatory baffle reactors, microwave reactors, microreactors, cross- corrugated membrane reactors and catalytic plate reactors – unquote.
7. Use of these designs may offer the ability to use significantly higher reactant concentrations, take advantage of intensified mixing kinetics, or allow for better thermal control.
8. Intensified reactors also offer significant improvement in heat and mass transfer, two of the most common process limiting considerations in process design.
9. The Spinning Disc Reactor (SDR) involves combining reactants on the top of a thermally controlled spinning disc inside an environmentally controlled reactor. As the reactants are forced outward via centrifugal force the mixture forms, quote – highly sheared thin films – unquote, capable of extremely high heat and mass-transfer rates.
10. Thin film formation also encourages micro-mixing further improving reaction efficiency.
11. The reaction surface of the disc can be smooth, channeled, or rough depending on the desired
residence time and specific reaction requirements.
12. The author describes a trial in which an SDR was used to perform polymerization of styrene and
required approximately one third of the time required by the standard batch process.
13. Microreactors are another design offering the benefits of an intensified process. These are reactors machined to a very small scale and high tolerance. Small amounts of reactants are mixed, quote - within submillimeter scale channels – unquote, providing excellent heat transfer and a tightly controlled reaction environment.
14. Flat sheet membrane and cross-corrugated membrane flow cells also offer intensified process benefits through better heat transfer allowing reactions to progress more rapidly.
15. Membrane reactors also offer the benefit of engineered selectivity; they may be designed to allow certain reactants or catalysts to pass but selectively block byproducts improving the overall efficiency and reducing environmental waste products.
16. The primary benefits of process intensification are reduced reaction times - leading to reduced energy requirements, reduced solvent volumes – leading to a reduction in resource requirement, and less downstream processing – leading to less waste.
17. While many of these processes are currently in use, adoption needs to become more widespread if their promise of environmental benefit is going to have a significant impact. Fortunately, many of the aspects of their design which reduce their environmental impact also offer economic benefit.

Source: Jachuck R. Handbook of Green Chemistry and Technology. Chapter 15: Process Intensification for GreenChemistry. 2002:387-392. doi:10.1002/9780470988305.


Review by: SP

Process Intensification for Green Chemistry

CO2 Cavitation Device Used for Pumping and Sonochemistry Experiments

CO2 Cavitation Device Used for Pumping and Sonochemistry Experiments

Producing Alcohol from Liquid CO2

Infinity has already built lots of closed-loop supercritical CO2 systems, and experimented with CO2 cavitation to make a one-moving-part liquid CO2 pump.

Infinity currently sells a cart-mounted portable on-demand supercritical CO2 phase change system for $150,000 which can be used for the experiments listed below, along with many others. It is a cart which was designed to fit through any standard door, hallway, or elevator and has heaving duty casters for mobility.

We are currently looking for funding to develop the following:

1. On-Demand CO2 to Alcohol: Using our closed-loop liquid CO2 phase change system, adding Nafion in the process to make alcohol. Inputs: Liquid CO2, water, and electricity. About 3-4 kW to make a liter of alcohol (from lab experiments).

2. CO2 to Alcohol with In-Situ Power Generation: Using our closed-loop supercritical CO2 phase change system, produce the power via miniature CO2 turbine generator of static electricity generator (SEG) to power the conversion via Nafion.

3. Spin-To-Liquid (STL): A novel one-step approach to producing alcohol from liquid CO2 using a cavitation device with Nafion. This is a one-moving-part device employing sonochemistry with inputs of water and liquid CO2. Electricity is produced in-situ. Shaft rotation is required to spin the device (this can be done via a electric motor, pressure expanding turbine, or other shaft rotation such as a wind turbine).

You can further our efforts by buying our $150,000 systems (which we build - and have four in stock) or by considering an investment to fund our development.

Teaser: Why was Nikola Tesla so fascinated with static electricity and spinning discs ? Our guess is that he had already found the worlds best battery - water. The Tesla turbine (while a fascinating pump) was actually a static electricity generator originally designed to charge water. All of his Colorado Springs experiments revolved around static electricity. Power generation and (wireless) transportation was via static electricity.

The New Chemistry of Fuel Cells (pdf download)

Email: Investor for Reverse Fuel Cell CO2 to Alcohol Questions

Innovative Reverse Fuel Cell Converts Waste CO2 Into Valuable Chemicals 10x Faster (note: Infinity did this in 2004)


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