Process Optimization

Process Optimization by Conditions Screening

After identifying the best catalyst lead by the catalyst screening, an optimization of the reaction parameters is essential. This is necessary to define the window of operation. Our AMTECH platform is able to perform 16 reactions simultaneously applying different reaction conditions (such as different reaction temperature, pressure, stirring rate for each reactor). At the same time, the gas consumption of each reaction is recorded, providing the full kinetics of a catalyst system in an overnight experiment. This is a unique platform to run parallel reactions while obtaining highly detailed information about the catalytic reactions.

At this stage of the optimization, several parameters are investigated:

  • the effect of temperature
  • the effect of pressure
  • effect of stirring rate
  • effect of pre-incubation of the catalyst
  • presence of feed-stock impurities
  • solvents
  • Other parameters such as additives

For more information about our platforms for optimization, click here.

Design of Experiments (DoE)

InCatT also includes the design of experiments methodology (DoE) in its approach for process optimization. Our AMTECH platforms allow for the variation of several factors in a single set of experiments thereby providing a very powerful tool for DoE studies.

Case Study

The starting point for a project concerned the hydrogenation of a tetrasubstituted alkene which was performing with high selectivity (d.e. > 99.5%, e.e. > 99.5%) but was showing an overall low productivity.

InCatT worked on the intensification of the process by investigating the effect of solvents on the activity of the reaction. The research plan consists of two stages:

  • Screening phase: 32 reactions were performed using selected solvents at different initial substrate concentration. For each individual reactions, the gas consumption was monitored over time.
  • Kinetic analysis: Using the concept of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis, the screening revealed a strong product inhibition of the reaction in dichloromethane and methyl-tetrahydrofuran.
  • The productivity of the reaction could be improve by four times when performing the reaction in 2-propanol, while keeping a very high selectivity (duration: 2 weeks).
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