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“Characterization and Comparison of Intensified Polyphasic Reactors”

My Ph.D. project is part of the DATAFAB project, a collaboration between CP2M and Processium whose goal is to develop skills in flow chemistry and process intensification. My supervisor is Dr. Claude de Bellefon (CP2M), Dr. Régis Philippe (CP2M) is my co-supervisor and Dr. Estevan Tioni is Processium’s senior engineer in charge of this project.

Process Intensification is a methodology for conceiving and analyzing chemical processes that aims to improve yield, energy efficiency and process safety and reduce operational costs.

The application of Process Intensification principles to polyphasic chemical reactors results in equipment capable of optimizing the contact between chemical species from each of the phases mixed together. The consequence of such contact is the homogenization of process conditions in the reactant stream and the decrease of dispersion, which increases yield and selectivity for chemical reactions. This is often achieved by reducing the characteristic size of the reactor, generally the diameter of its channels.

This reduction also increases the surface available for heat exchange, allowing better thermal control of the reaction, which may be critical for some applications.

Technical solutions have been proposed by some companies, such as Corning (Advanced-Flow Reactor), Ehrfeld (Miprowa) or Kobelco (SMCR), but the industry shows some resistance to the incorporation of these technologies, mainly because there is a lack of practical information on their performance.

In this context, our work aims to understand the characteristics of the three intensified reactor technologies mentioned above. The main objectives are as follows :

In chemical engineering, a classic approach to design and analyze physical phenomena (e.g. heat/mass transfer, hydrodynamics) is to correlate them to operational parameters of the system, such as temperature, pressure and flow-rates. Our goal is to apply this approach to these innovative reactors, in order to facilitate their incorporation into industrial processes.

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