Process development

Increasing the production efficiency, and reducing the material costs are generally the main goals, both when planning for the improvement of an already existing process, and when developing a brand new one. Process development involves the planning, testing, supervising and optimizing of the procedures, techniques and workflows of a certain process.

Trials and pilot plants

There are generally a few different steps in developing a new process. First off, laboratory trials are planned, tested and optimized to ensure satisfactory reaction conditions and product yields. This often includes testing of different materials, solvents, and reaction settings, to reach suitable results. The process is later moved over to a pilot plant for pre-commercial production runs, and further large-scale process optimization. This will offer a chance to study the set-up in a situation resembling the final process. In this step, parameters can be adjusted to ensure a maintained quality of the process at a larger scale. During these two initial phases it is also common to test out partially or complete automation of the process, as well as the incorporation of new tools and technological solutions. After the process has been tested and optimized for satisfactory results, it is ready to be moved on to production.

Rotating bed reactors

SpinChem offers help with the development of your heterogeneous processes, from bench-top screening, to full-scale production. Due to the generic design of the SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR), the technology is fully scalable, and performs just as well in liquid phase volumes of a few millilitres (MagRBR), as in several thousand cubic metres of solution (ProRBR). If the existing set-up makes it impractical to use the RBR in-tank for batch processing, SpinChem offers other solutions, such as flow systems, where the RBR is used in a separate vessel connected to the main tank. The SpinChem® RBR can also be used in connected systems of reactor vessels, where the RBR is used in one or more of these vessels.

The efficient mass transfer achieved with the RBR, along with the fact that the solid phase is not exposed to mechanical forces or pressure, makes for quick and clean reactions. Downstream processing is cut to a minimum as there is no need for filtering of solid phase resin or debris from the reaction solution. This makes the SpinChem® RBR a very cost and resource efficient alternative both in research and production.

SpinChem’s fields of expertise include chemistry, engineering, experimental design, solid phase materials, and fluid flow simulations. Through rapid in-house prototyping, testing, simulating, analysis and optimization, SpinChem is able to develop clever, custom-made solutions to fit your processes and applications.

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 L1604
Catalytic hydrogenation of d-xylose over Ru decorated carbon foam catalyst in a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor

Tung Ngoc Pham, Ajaikumar Samikannu, Anne-Riikka Rautio, Koppany L. Juhasz, Zoltan Konya, Johan Wärnå, Krisztian Kordas, Jyri-Pekka MikkolaTopics in Catalysis, 59 (2016) 1165-1177

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 1004
Consequences of viscous solutions on the reaction rate with rotating bed reactors

Log-log plot of how viscosity affects the reaction time for a mass transfer limited reaction at a fixed rotational speed of a rotating bed reactor (RBR). The RBR behaved very predictably and delivered reaction times that increased linearly with reaction media viscosity up to at least 500 mPa·s.  Keywords: Ion exchange, Organic molecules, Technology, Viscous solutions  

Application 1030
Decolourization of highly viscous solutions using a rotating bed reactor and a stirred tank reactor

The performance of a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) in the treatment of highly viscous solutions was compared to that of a conventional stirred tank reactor (STR). Both reactor set-ups were used for the extraction of Allura red dye from a glycerol-dye mixture using an ion exchange resin. The RBR removed 10 times the amount of dye in just over 40 % of the time, compared to the STR. This comparison underlines the efficient mixing and clever design of the SpinChem® RBR, as well as the broad spectrum of applications for which this technology is highly relevant.  Keywords: Decolouration, Fast reaction, Ion exchange, Technology, Viscous solutions    

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 L1601
Deconstruction of Nordic hardwood in switchable ionic liquids and acylation of the dissolved cellulose

Valerie Eta, Jyri-Pekka MikkolaCarbohydrate Polymers, 136 (2016) 459-465

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  

Merry Christmas
Effective extraction of spices for mulled wine production using a rotating bed reactor

Video showing how to promote holiday spirit by seasoning mulled wine using a rotating bed reactor. Assorted spices and sugar were used to transform white wine mixed with a clear liquor into a festive and flavourful Christmas drink. The temperature of the mixture was kept at 70°C and the outside temperature at -6°C, using a heating jacket and a northern latitude, respectively.  Keywords: Behind the scenes

Application 1003
Effective phase-transfer between immiscible liquids and an ion exchange resin

Illustrative video showing how a phenolic colourant is deprotonated and extracted from an organic to an aqueous solvent. Using SpinChem® RBR in a flower-baffled reaction vessel created fine emulsion droplets resulting in effective phase-transfer between the two liquids and the solid phase. Keywords: Immiscible liquids, Ion exchange, Organic molecules, Technology

Application L1301
Efficient biocatalysis with immobilized enzymes or encapsulated whole cell microorganism by using the SpinChem reactor system

Hendrik Mallin, Jan Muschiol, Dr. Emil Byström, Prof. Dr. Uwe T. BornscheuerChemCatChem, 5 (2013) 3529-3532   "...the immobilized transaminase was better protected from mechanical forces in the SpinChem device."    Keywords: Alginate, Biotransformation, Encapsulated cells, Immobilized enzymes, Organic molecules, Scientific literature

Application 1002
Efficient synthesis of chiral lactones by encapsulated cells in a rotating bed reactor

Comparison of SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) with traditional reaction set-ups for a demanding biotransformation. SpinChem® RBR matched or outperformed the other systems and gave a 10 to 25-fold more time-efficient recycling of the encapsulated cells.   Keywords: Alginate, Biotransformation, Encapsulated cells, Gas-distribution, Organic molecules, Quick recycling

Application 1028
Enzyme immobilization screening using magnetic rotating bed reactors

The SpinChem® MagRBR ECR screening kit, pre-packed with Purolite® Lifetech™ resins, was used to screen six different enzyme carrier resins in parallel for the immobilization of lipase CalB. Easy sampling and monitoring of the process, together with effortless handling, established the MagRBR as a time and labour efficient screening device. Keywords: Biotransformation, Easy handling, Immobilized enzymes, Rapid screening

Application L1802
Epoxidation of fatty acids and vegetable oils assisted by microwaves catalyzed by a cation exchange resin

Epoxidation reactions with in-situ formed percarboxylic acids were enhanced by heterogeneous catalysis and optimized with respect to product yield. The authors concluded that “SpinChem RBR, was beneficial, in terms of eliminating mass transfer limitations, it enabled a simpler collection and recycling of the catalyst and minimized mechanical wear of the solid catalyst”.  Keywords: Easy handling, Ion exchange, Organic molecules, Scientific literature, Synthesis

Application 1016
In situ filling and emptying of rotating bed reactors

Video showing how a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) was charged with solid particles, followed by draining and replacing the reaction liquid without escape of solids. Lastly, the solid phase was removed without opening the RBR. This procedure illustrates a concept for automatic handling of solid phases in production scale equipment without opening the reaction vessel.  Keywords: Easy handling, Seamless scaleup, Technology

Brochure
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 1001
Optimizing the rotational speed of rotating bed reactors in baffled reaction vessels

Investigation of how rotational speed influences the efficiency of rotating bed reactors (RBR) for a diversity of processes such as adsorption, neutralization and ammonolysis. It was demonstrated how reaction rates could reach a plateau with the SpinChem® RBR when mass transfer efficiency exceeded reaction speed.   Keywords: Activated carbon, Fast reaction, Immobilized enzymes, Ion exchange, Technology

Application L1703
Reaction engineering of biocatalytic (S)-naproxen synthesis integrating in-line process monitoring by Raman spectroscopy

A traditional stirred tank reactor setup was compared to a rotating bed reactor (RBR) for the biocatalytic synthesis of the anti-inflammatory drug (S)-naproxen. Both setups performed well during five repetitive bathes giving an enantiomeric excess of 99% and an isolated yield of 92%, but the RBR was easier to handle and the authors concluded that “… the rotating bed reactor concept can be regarded as a promising option for industrial applications”. Keywords: Biotransformation, Immobilized enzymes, Organic molecules, Scientific literature

Application 9001
Recycling of Immobilized Enzymes – Simple and Streamlined Biocatalysis

Immobilized catalyst recycling using a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) and a Mettler-Toledo EasyMax™ 102 Advanced synthesis workstation. The process proved very time efficient as no filtration steps were needed between cycles, or for the samples extracted for analysis during each run. Washing of the resin between runs was fast, simple and robust, without running the risk of material loss. Keywords: Biotransformation, Immobilized enzymes, Mettler-Toledo, Organic molecules, Preserved activity, Quick recycling

Application 1032
Rotating bed reactor for immobilized enzymatic reactions

Poster on a case study of applying the rotating bed reactor for the lipase-mediated stereoselective acetylation of a racemate amine as a model reaction for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical building blocks. The results showed that enzyme recycling and synthesis scale up was easy to achieve with preserved yield, enantioselectivity and catalytic activity.   Keywords: Biotransformation, Easy handling, Immobilized enzymes, Quick recycling, Seamless scaleup

Application 1025
Rotating bed reactor setup for in situ formation, loading and handling of alginate beads and whole cell encapsulation

Video showing the formation of alginate beads under conditions mimicking whole cell encapsulation. The use of a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) allowed easy collection, maturing and washing of the alginate beads. With the RBR setup, it was possible to immediately continue with filling of the reaction substrate into the same vessel, thus reducing the number of handling steps and facilitating bead recycling. The beads showed no signs of physical wear after use in the RBR.   Keywords: Alginate, Biotransformation, Easy handling, One-pot multistep, 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 1022
Transfer hydrogenation with catalyst recycling in a rotating bed reactor

Convenient transfer hydrogenation catalysed by palladium-containing beads was performed using a SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR). The set-up resulted in high product conversions throughout more than 10 consecutive batches without any need for filtration to recycle the catalyst.  Keywords: Easy handling, Organic molecules, Palladium on carbon, Quick recycling, Synthesis

Application 9004
Treatment of Viscous Solutions – Simple Extraction and In-line Monitoring

Blue dye was removed from a highly viscous liquid using a SpinChem® RBR S2 in an EasyMax™ 102 Advanced Synthesis Workstation. Monitoring of the reaction was easily recorded as no freely suspended ion exchange resin beads or resin debris interfered with the readings. This demonstrates that the RBR technology is extremely well suited for in-line monitoring. The viscosity of the solution was determined to ca 230 cP at 25°C, showing that it is possible to absorb dye even from a highly viscous solution.  Keywords: Decolouration, Extraction, Ion exchange, Mettler-Toledo, Viscous solutions

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 L2110
Process design of a continuous biotransformation with in situ product removal by cloud point extraction

In biotransformations, obstacles commonly encountered are product inhibition, product toxicity, and reaction equilibria that prevents complete conversion. Enzyme engineering has made tremendous progress in alleviating these problems. The concept of in situ product removal (ISPR) may still be an attractive alternative or complement. The authors have demonstrated concurrent enzymatic reaction and ISPR, referred to as 'extractive biocatalysis'. For the ISPR, the authors evaluated the use of aqueous micellar two-phase systems (ATPMS) as an extraction medium. For the model reaction, Penicillin G hydrolysis by CalB lipase, the demonstrated process was thus a continuous, heterogeneous extractive biocatalysis with cloud point extraction. An RBR was used during the process development work to determine the Michaelis-Menten kinetics of the CalB immobilized in gel coatings on column packing material. Also, the particles were easily re-used in stability experiments.

Application L2117
Multi‐enzyme cascade reaction in a miniplant two‐phase‐system : Model validation and mathematical optimization

In the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, AIChE Journal, the authors of this paper highlights the use of Rotating Bed Reactor (RBR) with two different immobilized enzymes at the same time in a cascade reaction. In the flow chart above of the miniplant consisting of a continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR) equipped with an RBR (highlighted in orange) (a), a buffer tank (b), an extractive centrifuge (c) and a fixed bed reactor (d)  In the reaction scheme the complete multi-enzyme cascade is shown with the two enzymes placed in the RBR is highlighted. If you would like to get in contact with us give us a call or fill in the form.

Treatment of 7.5 m3 with a 50L Plug-in system

A small rotating bed reactor (RBR) system deployed in an external loop to the customer’s regular reaction vessel. Even though RBR technique has been identified as offering advantages for a particular process, deploying it in existing an existing reaction vessel may prove difficult for practical reasons. This is were “plug-in” mode deployment of the RBR can offer a solution. The RBR and associated vessel is attached in an external loop by inlet and outlet connections to the regular vessel. The “plug-in” RBR system is typically small compared to the regular vessel. Alternatively, the RBR system can be deployed in a vessel → RBR → 2nd vessel mode. A proof-of-concept demonstration of an RBR in “plug-in” mode by a decolorization. The volume of the “plug-in” vessel is ca 0.7% of the regular vessel it is attached to.

Application L1903
L-Asparaginase production in rotating bed reactor from Rhizopus microsporus IBBL-2 using immobilized Ca-alginate beads

The present work reports on the production of extracellular l-asparaginase from Rhizopus microsporus IBBL-2 using submerged fermentation (SmF) process free of glutaminase and urease activities. Scale-up studies involving 200-mL and 1-L rotating bed reactor (RBR) using immobilized beads were done and the results obtained are 20.21 U mL-1 and 19.13 U mL-1, respectively, the increased activity with immobilization accounts for reduced shear on cells due to increased stability as compared to the free-flowing cells.

Application L2204
Design of a green chemoenzymatic cascade for scalable synthesis of bio-based styrene alternative

In line with the call for sustainable production, researchers are focusing their efforts on the utilization of renewable resources and the development of environmentally friendly manufacturing methods. Bio-based polymers are emblematic and has potential in terms of polymerization and material characteristics. Many products are using hydroxystyrene monomer these days. Hydroxystyrenes are particularly appealing as a replacement or addition to styrene-based polymer chemistry since they are renewable lignin building blocks. These monomers are made by decarboxylating phenolic acids, and their phenolic hydroxy groups are frequently subjected to chemical changes to enhance polymerization behavior. A straightforward, scalable, and entirely (chemo)catalytic synthesis of acetylated hydroxystyrene is still difficult to come by. With functionalized polystyrene's range and potential, the question arises of how scalable and sustainable the respective monomers are that can be synthesized? Contributing to answering the above question we will discuss a recent research project INTERfaces that developed a green, one-pot, two-step approach to producing acetylated hydroxystyrenes from raw lignin. In this case, the acylated hydroxystyrenes were designed as environmentally friendly monomers for making certain polystyrenes. Also, authors suggestions on a novel chemoenzymatic pathway that uses phenolic acid decarboxylase (PAD) would be discussed. A novel chemoenzymatic pathway Authors suggest a novel chemoenzymatic pathway that makes use of a phenolic acid decarboxylase (PAD). Authors have hypothesized that limitations could be circumvented by a tailored combination of a more active decarboxylation catalyst, milder reaction conditions and a compatible reaction medium. As a renewable, non-toxic, and highly active catalyst, phenolic acid decarboxylase from Bacillus subtilis (BsPAD) was the biocatalyst of our choice to embark on this process development. Herein, we describe our systematic efforts to design an alternative, scalable, chemo-enzymatic route to access bio-based styrene alternatives in an environmentally friendly and efficient manner. An approach to process development entails a computational solvent assessment that provides information on solubilities and feasible reactor operation modes, experimental solvent screening, cascade engineering, heterogenization of biocatalyst, customization of acetylation conditions, and reaction upscale in a rotating bed reactor. Procedure Decarboxylation of phenolic acids, which can be generated from lignin, to the equivalent hydroxystyrene is the initial step. As a green decarboxylation catalyst, phenolic acid decarboxylase from Bacillus subtilis (bsPAD) was used. A significant amount of computational and experimental work was put into finding a solvent and water saturation that allowed for high enzyme catalytic activity in the non-conventional media while also offering good solubility of the phenolic acid reactant and hydroxystyrene product. MTBE and CPME that were water-saturated had all required characteristics. The more eco-friendly option was CPME because of higher boiling point, which was beneficial in the second step. The hydroxystyrene intermediate was directly acylated without switching solvents in the second stage of the one-pot, two-step synthesis. The effectiveness of the acylation of the phenol in a wet solvent was confirmed. The ideal parameters for an experiment were found to be low catalyst concentrations (0.03 eq NaOAc), moderate anhydride concentrations (2.0 eq Ac2O), and relatively high temperatures (90°C). The enzyme bsPAD was immobilized to allow for reuse and to stop it from obstructing the second step and work-up. Immobilization on Purolite ECR8415F as a carrier material was the outcome of extensive evaluation of enzyme carrier materials and chemistries for high immobilization yield, enzymatic activity, and longevity. Using the RBR The reaction was scaled up to 1 L to prove its feasibility. SpinChem RBR S3 was used to charge the immobilized bsPAD-8415F enzyme for the reaction. The application of RBR, resulted in a developed clean, one-pot, two-step procedure that makes use of bio-based phenolic acid educts, reusable immobilized PAD, and the renewable solvent CPME. On a 1 L scale, the entire chemoenzymatic reaction casscadded to produce 18.3 g of 4-acetoxy-3-methoxystyrene with a 96% isolated yield. As a result of the rotating bed reactor, the carrier beads were protected and the enzyme could be simply removed between steps one and two, thus preventing the enzyme from interfering with the second step and to be reused in the decarboxylation step. The RBR made the process fast and simple, provided efficient sampling and monitoring of the process and kept the immobilized catalyst safely confined. Interested in the rotating bed reactor? Get in touch with us to understand how the rotating bed reactor technology can simplify or improve your process.

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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