UK Catalysis Hub


Information-Rich Experimentation via Microreactor Technology

Prof. A. Gavriilidis

Catalyst and reactor design can be expedited by continuous flow microfluidic technology that allows for rapid manipulation of reaction conditions, fast response times, precise control of the hydrodynamic environment, minimal consumption of reagent and catalyst. The transport intensification inherent to microstructured reactors makes them useful laboratory tools so that even fast, highly exothermic reactions can be performed isothermally and usually in the absence of mass transfer limitations. This allows not only the study of intrinsic reaction kinetics but also investigation of reactions under more extreme conditions (e.g. high temperature/pressure, solventless, flammable regime). Furthermore, microchannel reactors can be easily integrated with spectroscopic tools to gain insight into catalyst operation.

The talk will present key advantages offered by microreaction technology in terms of safety, reactor volume reduction, operating conditions. Various examples will be discussed that demonstrate the capability of microreactors to simplify kinetic data acquisition, expand the operational space and allow exploration of demanding reaction conditions to enable acquisition of the true intrinsic kinetics of reactions. Some processes can be simplified by microreaction technology, through the use of undiluted feeds and single pass reactions, without compromising yields and selectivities. Microreactors also offer unique advantages with regards to integration of in-situ spectroscopy tools, since they have well-defined hydrodynamic conditions and can dissipate heat generated by reaction as well as electromagnetic beams. The potential of obtaining catalytic reaction mechanistic together with kinetic information will be discussed. Interfacing such reactors platforms with automated optimisation and kinetic evaluation approaches, offer the possibility of intensification of information generation.

4-reactor system with online Raman analysis