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Micro-Structured Reactors and Catalysts for the Intensification of Chemical Processes

[+] Author Affiliations
Albert Renken

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, Switzerland

Paper No. ICNMM2009-82147, pp. 1361-1369; 9 pages
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels and Minichannels
  • Pohang, South Korea, June 22–24, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4349-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3850-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Process intensification is the term which describes an innovative design approach in chemical engineering aiming on a significant increase of the specific performance of chemical reactors and plants miniaturization, of at least an order of magnitude. In addition, the running costs should be reduced and the process should be more efficient, safer, and less polluting than the existing ones. Micro process technology is considered as means of process intensification leading to better use of raw materials and energy. Chemical micro-structured reactors (MSR) are devices containing open paths for fluids with dimensions in the sub-millimeter range. Mostly they consist of multiple parallel channels with diameters between ten and several hundred micrometers where the chemical transformations occur. This results in a high specific surface area in the range of 10,000 to 50,000 m2 m−3 and allows a more efficient mass and heat transfer compared to traditional chemical reactors having usually ∼100 m2 m−3 . Another important feature of micro-structured reactors is that the heat exchange and the reaction are mostly performed in the same gadget. Intensification of heterogeneous catalytic processes involves besides of innovative engineering of micro-structured reactors, the proper design of the catalyst. This requires the simultaneous development of the catalyst and the reactor. The catalyst design should be closely integrated with the reactor design taking into consideration the reaction mechanism, mass/heat transfer and the energy supply / evacuation resulting in high selectivity and yield of the target products. Besides general criteria for the choice and proper design of micro-structured reactors for process intensification, particular needs for homogeneous and multiphase reactions will be discussed.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Catalysts



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