Guidelines to Scale-Up with the Rotating Bed Reactor

To bring your process to life means to bring it to scale, and this comes with its own set of challenges. In this newsletter we bring you the essentials for scaling your reaction or downstream process with the SpinChem® RBR.

This covers insights into:

  • solid loading in the RBR
  • optimal stirring speed rate of the RBR
  • total volume treated flexibility of the RBR
  • a biocatalytic example scaled from 0.3 to 750 L using the RBR

Need help with upscaling your process? Reach out today!

Impact of the solids loading

Many heterogeneous processes (e.g., adsorption or catalysis) are made faster by increasing the solid-to-liquid ratio. In some instances, however, it can show that the heterogeneous phase is not limiting the rate or ultimate conversion. Hence, it might be economically and ecologically sound to reduce its amount employed. Fortunately, the versatility of the RBR allows to operate effectively at fractional solid loadings. On the other hand, if your process efficiency is limited by the solid-to-liquid ratio, our RBR Plus series provides a simple and quick solution to boost your process efficiency with increased solid loadings.

 

 

Optimal stirring rate

To overcome external mass transfer limitations, it is essential to minimize the stagnant boundary layer between the heterogeneous phase and the bulk phase. This is achieved by improved mixing. The RBR facilitates effective, a quick screening typically suffices.

 

 

Varying the liquid volume

The rotating bed reactor creates a strong flow of liquid through the solid phase and efficiently mixes the entire liquid. This means that the same RBR can be deployed in liquids of different volumes. The specific productivity translates very well from smaller to larger scale, as demonstrated by increasing the treated liquid volume by 33-fold!

 

 

Case Study: Biocatalytic Hydrolysis

The versatility of the RBR was put to the test by successfully scaling the biocatalytic hydrolysis of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) with an immobilized lipase from 0.3 to 750 L. For details on this process, check out our published application note.

 

Modes of scale-up deployment

Key factors like the capacity of the solid phase and the target rate of the process will decide reaction conditions. However, other aspects such the access to existing infrastructure (vessels, piping, drainage, etc.) as well as operational safety can dictate the deployment strategy of the reactor, which might vary between:

  • direct in-tank deployment
  • the plug-in deployment, where the RBR is installed in a separate vessel
  • autonomous vehicles, e.g., as raft
  • modular units for IBCs and drums

Contact us today for help with designing your process and bringing it from an idea to full production.

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