Rotating Bed Reactor Technology: A Sustainable Solution?

In today's world, there is no doubt that sustainability is more important today than ever. It improves our quality of life in the long run, protects ecosystems and preserves natural resources for future generations.

Also, living within our environmental limits to stop climate change is an implicit responsibility for all businesses and industries. Choosing a sustainable solution is not only beneficial today but it also maximizes the benefits of long-term environmental focus.

We at SpinChem AB understand these needs, our responsibilities and believe in transforming the world by providing an innovative and sustainable solution in the simplest, fastest, most stable and resource-efficient way possible as a catalyst for the global process chemistry industry. This blog provides a view into our contribution to sustainable development:

1. Nuclear waste treatment

Globally, millions of liters of radioactive liquid waste sit in “temporary” storage containers waiting to be remedied. It is a clear understatement, but development and optimization of nuclear waste treatment need to be incorporated urgently and from an early stage onwards.

In collaboration with AtkinsRéalis, SpinChem is now involved in the development and treatment of nuclear liquid waste processes all over the world. The RBR technology has been deployed in up to 95,000 L tanks to remove Caesium-137 and Cobalt-60. Different iodine species have also been successfully removed with the RBR technology.


2. Wastewater treatment

The availability of clean water is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the pharmaceutical, textile, and food and beverage industries, it has become critical to treat industrial waste water. SpinChem´s technology uses adsorbents or catalysts to treat this industrial waste by using the rotating bed reactors (RBR). This is done with the goal of preventing pollutants from entering the environment and cleaning up what's already in nature.

Lately, Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and other fluorinated compounds (e.g., PFAS) have attracted especial interest both in the media and by authorities. SpinChem’s RBR technology was implemented for the cleaning of PFAS/PFOS in leachate from soil. For this, the RBR was deployed with conventional adsorbents designed for the removal of these compounds in leachate and drinking water.

3. Solid waste treatment

Prof. Dr. Pimchai Chaiyen rightly quoted, "When trash is valuable, trash is no longer waste." In 2019, SpinChem coributed with its RBR technology to the C-ROS project, where organic waste was collected and converted into biofuels, fertilizers, and other value-added biochemical products. The RBR was used for the biocatalytic process of waste treatment. This is one of the most concrete examples of biocatalysis being used to shape a cleaner future.

4. Recycling of plastics

Enzyme-mediated biocatalytic depolymerization has emerged as an efficient and sustainable alternative for plastic treatment and recycling. A variety of plastic-degrading enzymes have been discovered from microbial sources and are used in rotating bed reactors.

5. Production of sustainable Capsaicin

XP Chemistries AB is a producer of sustainable Capsaicin, the molecule responsible for the "heat" in the chili peppers. Through their patented process, they valorize biomass such as wood into the active ingredient using biocatalysis. In the early stages, this application was evaluated for compatibility and developed with the rotating bed reactor in SpinChem's laboratories. Sustainable Capsaicin is now produced by using immobilized enzymes and rotating bed reactor technology.


6. COVID-19 drug development

An optimization study into the two-step synthesis of Molnupiravir was conducted by M4All. At the SpinChem laboratories, we screened a set of immobilized enzymes for this particular process and demonstrated 10-times recycling of the best biocatalyst. According to calculations by M4All the total raw material cost could be reduced to $160/kg, already when only assuming three productive reuses of the enzyme. This would not just cut overall cost of production but also waste generation by 38%.

Let's combat climate change together by unlocking sustainable development with this innovative technologies!

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