THIRD FLOW CHEMISTRY DEMONSTRATION WORKSHOP

OCTOBER 18, 2018

Open House 2018

At this event you will discover the entire range of Fraunhofer IMM’s capabilities in the field of continuous liquid and gas phase processing centered on process development, multi-step organic synthesis, in-line monitoring, process control and scale-up and, linked to that, our contribution to future chemical production concepts.

You will see the continuous synthesis of Grignard reagents in a novel process window constituted by a large excess of magnesium activated in situ. Have a look at the photochemical isomerization of stilbene including NMR and IR on-line analysis, a continuous polymerization process using micro- and millistructured reactors for the controlled setting of product properties, the continuous electro-organic synthesis using the example of the Kolbe Electrolysis in electrochemical microreactors, the size-controlled continuous synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles and systems for the continuous on-line determination of ion concentrations and the on-line monitoring of chemical compositions. Complete the picture by a visit to our demonstration facility in container-format showcasing the conversion of pyrolysis oil to synthetic gasoline via synthesis gas and methanol.

Grignard reagent synthesis and Grignard reaction in flow

Grignard pilot reactor
© Fraunhofer IMM

Grignard pilot reactor

You can expect to experience the continuous synthesis of Grignard reagents in a novel process window constituted by a large excess of magnesium activated in situ. Immediate consumption of the freshly prepared Grignard reagent in the actual Grignard reaction with no need to store large quantities of the reactive intermediate goes hand in hand with an improved thermal management which allows mixing all-at-once speeding up the process while maintaining high product quality. The overall quality improvement through continuous processing leads to cost savings as well as an increase in production flexibility. At laboratory scale process development and optimization for a variety of Grignard reagents have been established. The implemented Mg replenishing unit is rendering the process truly continuous. At pilot scale the process for the on-demand production of Grignard reagents has already been optimized.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • On-demand Grignard reagent production with throughputs of up to 10-20l/h.
  • Multi step synthesis e.g. in API production including in situ generation and consumption of Grignard reagents.
  • Applicability to other organometallic reagents.
  • Fast scale-up to industrially relevant throughputs.

Your contact:

Gabriele Menges-Flanagan
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Gabriele Menges-Flanagan

Dr. Gabriele Menges-Flanagan, PhD graduate chemist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2005. Her research focuses on reactive intermediates, solid processing in flow, C-C bond formation, and in-line analytics.

Photochemical isomerization of stilbene including NMR and IR on-line analysis

Flow cell installed in benchtop NMR spectrometer
© Fraunhofer IMM

Flow cell installed in benchtop NMR spectrometer

You can expect to experience the photochemical isomerization of trans-stilbene into cis-stilbene in a capillary photoreactor (Ru(bpy)3 as sensitizer, acetonitrile as solvent) coupled with NMR analysis via a flow cell and on-line IR analysis via IR sensor for process development on the lab scale. Our process allows for an improved synthesis process due to an optimized irradiation on the microscale, an advanced wavelength-specific irradiation of the photochemical system, a defined irradiation time in the microcapillary and it prevents hotspot formations by exact temperature adjustments. With the use of LED technology we achieve a lowered energy consumption, no expensive filter equipment is necessary and an easy exchange of the LED arrays is possible.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • Photochemically catalyzed reactions in general
  • In situ singlet oxygen formation for photooxygenations, photooxidations and hydrogenations
  • Activation of diazonium salts for metal-free C-C coupling reactions
  • Modular on-line analysis of product streams via orthogonal analytical methods (NMR vs. IR)

Your contact:

Thomas H. Rehm
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Thomas H. Rehm

Dr. Thomas H. Rehm, graduate chemist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2011. His research focuses on flow photochemistry for fine chemicals synthesis and on-line analytic methodologies.

Continuous polymerization process using micro- and millistructured reactors for the controlled setting of product properties

Lab-scale modular microreactor realized by additive manufacturing to perform polymerization reactions
© Fraunhofer IMM

Lab-scale modular microreactor realized by additive manufacturing to perform polymerization reactions

You can expect to experience how a continuous, intensified processing approach helps to attain defined reaction times, to handle reaction heat and to assure an efficient mass transport in the context of polymerization reactions. With that defined and tailored polymer / polymer particle properties like particle size and size distribution can be obtained in a flexible and adaptable production approach.

Basically the application of micro- and millistructured reactors for the continuous processing of chemical reactions brings the potential of an improved control over central process conditions compared to other, more conventional approaches like batch processes. Improved process control on the other side is the basis for the achievement of desired reaction results like high yields, high selectivities and tailored product properties.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • Production of polymer particles with defined properties.
  • Homogeneous polymerization.
  • Emulsion polymerization.

Your contact:

Patrick Loeb
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Patrick Löb

Dr. Patrick Löb, PhD graduate chemist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2001. Since 2016 he is Deputy Head of the division Energy and Chemical Technology. His activities focus on micro process engineering and the application of microstructured components within organic synthesis. He coordinated the two EU projects CoPIRIDE and POLYCAT centered on novel processing approaches and production concepts including Evonik´s EcoTrainer.

BIOGO – Conversion of pyrolysis oil to synthetic gasoline via synthesis gas and methanol

Ecotrainer® for synthetic fuel production
© Fraunhofer IMM

Ecotrainer® for synthetic fuel production

You can expect to experience the continuous conversion of synthetic gasoline from pyrolysis oil in a miniplant environment, which is currently set up at Fraunhofer IMM and which was developed in the scope of the European project BIOGO (www.biogo.eu). The basic idea of the process envisaged is the utilization of renewable non-food related biomass for the production of synthetic gasoline-grade fuel. Wood residue, as it is available in large quantities e.g. in Germany (annual available quantity: about 12 million tons vs. a gasoline consumption of 16 million tons) has been chosen as source material which is converted through a thermochemical process to pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil is then converted to synthesis gas, which is further converted to yield methanol after a purification process. In the last methanol-to-gasoline (MtG) step, synthetic gasoline is generated over zeolitic catalysts (ZSM-5) in a process remotely similar to Fischer-Tropsch but avoiding the wax formation which complicates this well-known technique inevitably. The miniplant is already set up in a containerized environment (Evonik’s Ecotrainer®).

 

Thinking ahead:

  • De-centralized production of synthetic fuels from organic residues in the size range of up to 100 barrel/day: Lowering transportation costs for the source material.
  • Easy scale-up through the early implementation in a container environment during the miniplant phase.
  • Easy scale-up through utilization of microstructured reactors for a majority of the process steps.

Your contact:

Gunther A. Kolb
© Fraunhofer IMM

Prof. Dr. Gunther A. Kolb

Prof. Dr. Gunther A. Kolb, graduate chemical engineer, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2001. Since 2016 he leads the Division Energy and Chemical Technology at IMM. His research focuses on heterogeneous catalysis, fuel processing and microreactors for energy related applications. He was co-ordinator of the large European project BIOGO.

Continuous electroorganic synthesis using the example of the Kolbe Electrolysis in electrochemical microreactors

Divided electrochemical microreactor with integrated heat exchanger
© Fraunhofer IMM

Divided electrochemical microreactor with integrated heat exchanger

You can expect to experience how a well-known reaction for industrial applications becomes economically attractive applying an innovative approach based on the application of micro thin gap flow cells with thin (5 µm) Pt-coated stainless steel electrodes to reduce material costs and to improve productivity:

  • using fatty acids from renewable resources produced by olefin metathesis of bio-oils or fermentation of bio-waste,
  • using renewable energy from wind and photovoltaic,
  • giving the possibility of considerably simpler and cost-efficient direct storing of surplus energy in high quality products,
  • utilizing water and water-based emulsions for electrolysis,
  • while hazardous and expensive organic solvents are redundant,
  • including a cost reduction with regard to waste deposition and product extraction.

Due to easily exchangeable electrodes the flow E-micro reactor can be used for diverse applications, even as undivided cell by using a separator or polymer membrane electrolyte (PEM). Operation can be in parallel, serial or mix operation mode of stack compartments.  Integrated heat exchangers allow for an effective thermal control. A fast scale-up to industrially relevant throughputs is possible.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • Applicability to other electroorganic syntheses and electrocatalysis, such as the electroorganic synthesis of paraffin’s by Kolbe Electrolysis.
  • On demand Kolbe Electrolysis production with throughputs of up to 100l/L electrolyte solution.
  • Alcohols, ethers and esters by non-Kolbe electrolysis for lubricant formulations used in food, personal care and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Precalculated mixtures of fatty acids / alkanoates in water lead to tailor made products.

Your contact:

Athanassios Ziogas
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Athanassios Ziogas

Dr. Athanassios Ziogas, PhD graduate chemical engineer, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 1997. He is responsible for process analytics and electrochemistry. His research focuses on electroanalysis, electrode characterization, electroorganic synthesis, as well as process on-line and in-line analytics.

Size-controlled continuous synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles

Magnetic nanoparticles with neodymium magnet
© Fraunhofer IMM

Magnetic nanoparticles with neodymium magnet

You can expect to experience the continuous synthesis of single core magnetic nanoparticles with size control. We use a water-based synthesis route without high temperatures and organic solvents. Downstream processing is done by ultrafiltration or magnetic separation. Consequently we can generate well-defined magnetic nanoparticles for technical and biomedical applications with a variety of surface properties through different stabilization. For your specific, customized application we can adapt the process as well as the nanoparticle properties.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • On-demand production of single-core magnetic nanoparticles with throughputs of up to 2 l/h.
  • Single-core nanoparticles with defined surfaces for tracers for MRI / MPI, magnetic carriers, magnetic separations.

Your contact:

Regina Bleul
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Regina Bleul

Dr. Regina Bleul, PhD graduate biotechnologist and chemist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2014. Her research focuses on magnetic nanoparticles, liposomes and polymersomes in flow, and their (biomedical) applications.

Continuous Flow Production of Functional Ethyl Cellulose Particles by a Modular System

Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles loaded with iron oxide and protein aqueous solution
© Fraunhofer IMM

Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles loaded with iron oxide and protein aqueous solution

You can expect to learn how functionalized particles/capsules can be prepared continuously from synthetic and natural polymers through nanoprecipitation and emulsification/solvent evaporation methods. A continuous and controlled feed of the components results in the formation of particles with adjustable size (between 50 nm and 10 μm) and degree of functionality. Encapsulation yield of hydrophilic and lipophilic liquid or solid agents up to 80 wt% can be reached. The process for the production of aqueous polymer-based dispersions is applicable for versatile materials, highly reproducible and scalable. The implementation of in-line/on-line process control and particle characterization is possible.
During the lab-tour you will see the formulation of ethyl cellulose nanoparticles loaded with hydrophobic organic dye molecules or inorganic nanoparticles (e.g. magnetite, quantum dots). The lab-scale set-up is compact and consists of different modular components, which can be assembled in a customized way to reach the required product properties.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • Production of polymer-based particles with defined properties.
  • Combination of materials with different properties in one particle to produce advanced products with unique synergetic effects.
  • High yield encapsulation of active agents (e.g. hydrophilic or lipophilic liquids and solid nanoparticles) for effective protection and controlled release upon physical, chemical or biological stimulus.

Your contact:

Anna Musyanovych
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Anna Musyanovych

Dr. Anna Musyanovych, graduate biotechnologist, joined the Fraunhofer IMM team in 2013. Her research focuses on the development of formulation concepts and continuous processes for the production of polymer-based particles and capsules with specific properties for industrial needs and requirements. 

Continuous Synthesis of Inorganic Nanoparticles: Core/Shell Quantum Dots

QD library with 384 samples
© Fraunhofer IMM

QD library with 384 samples

You can expect to learn how inorganic nanoparticles can be synthesized continuously by high temperature thermal decomposition in a lab-scale research system with a capacity up to several 10 liters per day. Real-time process analysis via optical in-line spectroscopy (UV/VIS absorbance and fluorescence) with parallel or multiplexed detection at multiple points is included. The computer-controlled system comprises an automated fraction collector, data logging and traceability. The design is modular, scalable and easily extendable. A tight process control over a wide temperature range allows for excellent process stability. Material properties can be tuned via adjusting flow rates, pressure and temperature as well as a wavelength control with sub-nm precision. Hence, the process yields quantum dots with precisely defined optical properties.

 

Thinking ahead:

  • “Hot injection”-type synthesis routes (transfer from batch to continuous).
  • Seeded growth.
  • Core-shell particles.
  • Nanoparticle libraries.

Your contact:

Dr. Ralph Sperling
© Fraunhofer IMM

Dr. Ralph Sperling

Dr. Ralph Sperling, graduate physicist, joined Fraunhofer IMM in 2012 and is now head of the nanoparticle technology group. Current activities include process and system development for the continuous synthesis of nanomaterials, with a special interest in in-line/on-line methods for process control.