SNC-Lavalin and SpinChem have a collaboration agreement to deploy Spinionic® solutions in the nuclear sector. Spinionic® is a registered trademark owned by SNC-Lavalin Products & Technology, LLC.

As industries expand to meet human needs, our reliance on nuclear energy has considerably increased to meet our energy requirements. The nuclear power industry, like any business or energy production system, generates waste. Depending on their radioactivity, nuclear waste can be grouped into three categories: low-level, intermediate-level, or high-level. Each effluent has its own characteristics, which determine whether it must be disposed of, recycled, or stored onsite. It is important that these nuclear waste is treated to ensure that nuclear power remains a viable choice and a key contributor to the energy mix for future generation.

For the treatment of liquid water, several well-established technologies exist. One such technology that aims to increase efficiency and to reduce cost is Spinionic®.


Spinionic is a non nuclear solution to decontaminate liquids, it is the Rotating Bed Reactor (RBR) which is tested and patented, and is called Spinionic. This design is flexible and can be used for numerous applications in situ to treat tanks for radioactive waste, or in processes to treat continuous waste streams. It can be used as a pre-treatment upstream of installed equipment to remove immunities, and also as a polisher downstream of existing equipment.


The RBR technology removes radioactive or unwanted elements from wastewater or other fluids, while improving the efficiency of the clean-up process through better use of the media and a simplified method. Using RBR results in a faster process, higher decontamination factors, and or reduced generation of secondary waste. In addition, the RBR extends the lifetime of the solid-phase particles by minimizing, grinding, and attrition, while at the same time simplifying the solid phase collection, recycling, or disposal.

Availability in various sizes and volumes

The RBR can range in size from less than one liter to over 100 liters of media capacity depending on application (drums, totes, large tanks, ponds, fuel pools, sumps, or large area basins).

The first deployment of this RBR technology was in the pharmaceutical industry to improve chemical processing of liquids, and now it is being used in nuclear environments. To accelerate the deployment of this technology, SpinChem has plans to further mature Spinionic® to develop a range of products to address the challenges of nuclear waste treatment.

Application 1015
A remote controlled raft for treatment of surface water using rotating bed reactor technology

Time lapse video demonstrating a prototype vehicle capable of processing two cubic metres of coloured water within five minutes. The raft was carrying two rotating bed reactors that neutralized the basic surface water in a square pond by ion exchange.  Keywords: Cleantech, Ion exchange, Seamless scaleup, Technology

Application 1008
Activated carbon decolourization comparing rotating bed reactor and stirred tank reactor

Accelerated video showing the enhanced adsorption rates of methylene blue onto activated carbon using a rotating bed reactor (RBR) compared to a stirred tank reactor (STR). The RBR decolourized the solution almost twice as fast, did not create any visible fines and required no filtration.  Keywords: Activated carbon, Decolouration, Fast reaction, Organic molecules, Simple cleanup, Technology 

Application 1012
An externally connected system for large scale heterogeneous downstream processing

Time lapse video illustrating how an externally connected rotating bed reactor (RBR) can pump and process large liquid volumes by the convective flow created by the spinning RBR. The concept enables handling of volumes at least 10-100 times larger than the external vessel, thus facilitating installation of RBR technology into existing plant equipment.  Keywords: Activated carbon, Continuous flow, Decolouration, Organic molecules, Seamless scaleup, Technology

Application 1007
Automated semi-continuous batch processing system with rotating bed reactor

Video showing the principle of an automated rotating bed reactor system capable of filling a solution, neutralizing it by ion exchange and draining it. By microcomputer control, unattended semi-continuous batch processing was accomplished for many cycles until the ion exchanger was completely saturated.  Keywords: Automation, Ion exchange, Seamless scaleup, Technology

Application 1035
Column vs RBR

A performance comparison between a column (fixed bed reactor) and rotating bed reactor (RBR) for de-ionizing 1000 L of tap water. Using best-in-class standard protocols for both technologies, we tested which technology could de-ionize to a desired endpoint conductivity value the quickest. The result show that the RBR is significantly faster, reaching 3.7 times faster a conductivity level of 0.15 µS/cm compared to the column.  Keywords: Cleantech, Deionization, Fast reaction, Technology  

Application 1024
Comparing rotating bed reactor and fixed bed reactor for adsorption purification

Comparison of rotating bed reactor (RBR) technology and fixed bed reactor (FBR) column during activated carbon decolourization. The more efficient use of the adsorbent with a SpinChem® RBR enabled completion of the process within 40% of the time at the same material amount or allowed reduction to 50% material while still being able to finish the process within the same time as the FBR.  Keywords: Activated carbon, Decolouration, Fast reaction, Organic molecules, Purification, Technology  

Application 1006
Comparison of reaction speed with rotating bed reactor and stirred tank reactor

Video revealing the efficient mass transfer and resulting shorter reaction time with a rotating bed reactor (RBR) during ion-exchange neutralization of a base. The reaction with the RBR finished 30% faster and left a completely clear solution without any particles. Keywords: Fast reaction, Ion exchange, Technology

Application 1031
Decolourization in an IBC tank using the ProRBR IBC add-on

Adsorption of methylene blue (3 g, 5 mg/L) onto Purolite® NRW1160 (4.2 L) placed in a SpinChem® S5 RBR operated at 147 rpm. The SpinChem® S5 RBR was placed within a 600 L IBC tank, using the ProRBR IBC add-on, where the tank was filled with water. The data was acquired using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer.  

Application 1034
Decolourization using 79 L of activated carbon in a 7000 L vessel

A large scale decolourization experiment using the SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S100, packed with 79 L of activated carbon. The vessel contained 7000 L of water with added methylene blue dye. In under 40 minutes, 95% of the initial concentration of methylene blue was removed from the water, which shows that the RBR S100 can achieve fast reaction times in large scale processes.  Keywords: Activated carbon, Cleantech, Decolouration, Fast reaction

Application 1033
Deionizing 7000 L of tap water using the SpinChem® RBR S100

The SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S100, with a solid phase capacity of 100 L, was used to deionize 7000 L of tap water. The RBR S100 was operating at 160 rpm and filled with 36.5 L of mixed bed ion exchange resin. The results show that the RBR S100 can efficiently process large liquid volumes. As shown by the successful deionization, the performance of the RBR remains high even when it is partially filled, which proves the extreme robustness of the RBR technology.  Keywords: Ion exchange, Seamless scaleup, Technology  

Mass transfer revolutionized

Learn how SpinChem rotating bed reactors (RBR) can eliminate poor mass transfer in heterogeneous reactions during chemical synthesis and biotransformations. Preserve activity and facilitate recycling of solid phases with the RBR. This brochure shows technology and applications.  Keywords: Biotransformation, Brochure, Fast reaction, Immobilized enzymes, Molecular sieve, Preserved activity, Simple cleanup, Synthesis, Technology

Application 1010
Rotating bed reactors completely avoid grinding of molecular sieves

Photos showing how grinding caused by stirring of molecular sieves can be completely avoided by using a rotating bed reactor (RBR). Molecular sieves contained in a RBR for a 200 mL vessel can theoretically hold 0.23 moles of water. This allows synthesis of product in the range of 100 gram by ester condensation or drying of 25 litres of analytical grade organic solvent. Keywords: Easy handling, Molecular sieve, Purification, Simple cleanup, Synthesis, Technology, Water

Application 1036
Screening of activated carbon using the SpinChem® RBR S2

In co-operation with ZHAW, two students screened various types and sizes of activated carbon using the SpinChem® RBR S2. Five different carbons were screened by decolorizing solutions of methylene blue in distilled water. The decolorization process was monitored using inline UV-Vis spectrometry (PAT). The results show the importance of choosing the correct media for your application. In this case of activated carbon, the source and type of the activation was shown to have a major impact on performance.  Keywords: Activated carbon, Decolouration, Fast reaction, Rapid screening, Technology

Application 1009
Simultaneous extraction of two dyes selectively onto different resins

Video illustrating how a mixture of red and blue dyes with different chemical properties can be selectively extracted onto different adsorbents within the same run using a rotating bed reactor (RBR). The dyes were separated based on ionic and hydrophobic interactions, respectively.  Keywords: Cleantech, Decolouration, Extraction, Ion exchange, One-pot multistep, Organic molecules, Polymeric resin, Technology

Application 9003
Simultaneous Selective Decolouration – Illustrating a Concept for Cascade Reactions

Two dyes were selectively extracted onto different adsorbents within the same run using a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) and an EasyMax™ 102 Advanced synthesis workstation. This experiment illustrates performing cascade reaction for one-pot multi-step synthesis.  Keywords: Cleantech, Decolouration, Extraction, Ion exchange, One-pot multistep, Organic molecules, Polymeric resin, Technology

Application 1037
In-tank deployment of large scale rotating bed reactor

To further demonstrate the use of RBR:s at process scale, a decolorization using ion exchange resin was performed at 7500 L scale. An RBR S14 was filled with strongly acidic cationic resin NRW1160 from Purolite and used to remove blue dye from an aqueous solution in a stainless steel tank of 7500 L volume. The solid-to-liquid ratio is a fraction of percent, showing the efficiency of the RBR technique for convectional mass-transfer and global mixing. The RBR was spun at 340 rpm while the transmittance at 663 nm was monitored for ca 4 h at which point the transmittance had recovered the baseline value for colorless de-ionized water.   Keywords: Ion exchange, Cleantech, Nuclear, Scale-up  

Application 1039
Remediation of wastewater stored in High Integrity Container

The versatility of the ProRBR IBC add-on (picture below) was demonstrated by mounting it on a high-integrity container (HIC) (picture above) and running a sample reaction. The ProRBR IBC add-on can be placed on most reasonably stable supports. In this case, the RBR add-on was placed over the HIC opening by support of a common construction scaffold. A common ion-exchange reaction, de-ionization by 7 L of mixed-bed resin to 3000 L of municipal water, was carried out to measure the performance. The ion concentration/ conductivity was halved after ca 30 min and after 2 h it was down to our LOQ.

Application 1042
How large liquid volumes can a rotating bed reactor process?

Large volumes of liquid waste will often accumulate at industrial sites. It may be very time-consuming and resource-intensive to adequately treat these waste streams for release, so the problem often compounds over time. The rotating bed reactor (RBR) is a tool for treating very large volumes of liquids; valuable batches of product or problematic liquid waste. In the latter case, the contamination is concentrated to a smaller volume of solid waste, often reducing the mass and volume of the waste many thousands of times. SpinChem will design a treatment system for your individual case and to your requirements. We have the capabilities to build and test complete systems, as well as predict performance using computational models and in-house pilot tests. Legacy waste in the nuclear energy sector, unresolved for many decades, have been cleared for release in weeks after the implementation of a rotating bed reactor. Contact us today for a consultation on your liquid application. To prove the application of an RBR in very large liquid volumes the benchtop model RBR S2 (which normally operates on 120 mL of liquid) was installed in an IBC containing 780 L of water and 400 mg of methylene blue. The RBR was filled with activated carbon and rotated at 800 RPM. The amount of dye in the solution was measured by spectrophotometry. Roughly 90% of the dye was removed in the first 70 hours. The liquid-to-solid ratio was more than 27800(!), and still the RBR homogeneously treated the entire volume. The rotating bed reactor technology was deployed in the nuclear energy sector on a tank containing 90 m3 of water, wherein a contaminant was removed by adsorption. The RBR contained only 14 L of adsorbent at a time, and the 90,000 L of liquid waste was reduced to 57 L of solid waste.

Application 1043
Using a rotating bed reactor in different liquid volumes

Research and development quickly takes new directions, and the requirements on a laboratory may vary with every new project. Limiting yourself to equipment with a narrow scope of conditions and applications may become expensive, since new equipment must be acquired for anything out of scope. With budgets quickly consumed by other projects, the need for new equipment may mean significant delays and a reduced capability to take on emerging opportunities. SpinChem’s rotating bed reactors can be used with any solid phase where the particles are larger than 100 µm, and the range of possible operating conditions is large. From highly viscous solutions to varying temperatures or pressures, the rotating bed reactors are versatile. The rotating bed reactor creates a strong flow of liquid through the solid phase and efficiently mixes the entire liquid volume. This means that the same rotating bed reactor can be deployed in liquids of different volumes. In this example Methylene Blue was dissolved in similar concentrations in four different volumes of water. An RBR S2 was filled with activated carbon and used to decolorize the solutions. The decolorization followed 1st order kinetics (exponential decay), and the reaction rate coefficients were, predictably, found to be inversely proportional to the liquid volume. The time to reach a target concentration was thus simply proportional to the liquid volume. This experiment has demonstrated that a rotating bed reactor can be used in greatly varying liquid volumes, and that the performance easily carries over between scales. With a rotating bed reactor in your lab, you are prepared to try new heterogeneous applications or develop processes like catalysis, adsorption or ion exchange reactions. SpinChem provides rotating bed reactors from laboratory scale to full production for companies in Pharma, Food & Beverage, Nuclear waste management, and many other industries.

Application 1044
Simple scale-up using flexible reactors

Research and development quickly takes new directions, and the requirements on a laboratory may vary with every new project. Limiting yourself to equipment with a narrow scope of conditions and applications may become expensive, since new equipment must be acquired for anything out of scope. With budgets quickly consumed by other projects, the need for new equipment may mean significant delays and a reduced capability to take on emerging opportunities. Many heterogeneous processes (e.g. adsorption or catalysis) are made faster by increasing the solid-to-liquid ratio. Studying scale-up effects can also help to predict full-scale performance. For these reasons it’s wise to invest in equipment that can handle different operating conditions such as liquid volume, solids loading, pH and temperature. The RBR S3 Plus is the most modular rotating bed reactor for laboratory use. Made from two stacked rotating bed reactors, the S3 Plus quickly converts to a single RBR S3 for use with smaller liquid volumes. When used in the dedicated glass reactor system, this yields an operating range of 250 - 1500 mL of liquid and 0 - 140 mL of solids.   This application note investigates the effect of solids loading on the reaction rate of two applications: the adsorption of a dye and a biocatalytic esterification reaction. These two reactions are mass-transport limited and relatively fast. In the first case, an RBR S3 and an RBR S3 Plus were filled with 50 mL and 100 mL respectively of the ion-exchange resin Purolite® NRW1160. Methylene blue was dissolved in water, and the solution was decolorized by spinning an RBR at 600 RPM (reaction conditions in the details below). The results were clear; each case followed 1st order kinetics with a rate constant for the RBR S3 Plus that was twice that of the RBR S3. Note that the solid-to-liquid ratio for the RBR S3 Plus was also twice that of the RBR S3. For the enzymatic esterification, the same rotating bed reactors (RBR S3 and RBR S3 Plus) were filled with 40 mL and 80 mL respectively of the biocatalyst Purolite® immo PS. The rotating bed reactors were used in separate reactions in mixtures of lauric acid, 1-propanol and water. Also in this case the reaction rate was proportional to the solid-to-liquid ratio, yielding twice the productivity with the RBR S3 Plus compared to the RBR S3. The conclusion is that with a rotating bed reactor you are making the most out of the solid-phase. Doubling the amount of catalyst or adsorbent will generally double the reaction rate constant, which makes scaling up straightforward. Contact us today to discuss how we can scale your process.

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