(283c) Design and Scale-up of Biphasic Microreactors for Biomass-Derived Carbohydrates' Conversion

Authors: 
Chen, T. Y., University of Delaware
Desir, P., University of Delaware
Bracconi, M., Politecnico di Milano
Maestri, M., Politecnico di Milano
Vlachos, D. G., University of Delaware
5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a key platform chemical, is produced from biomass carbohydrates, such as glucose and fructose, via isomerization and/or dehydration under acidic conditions. Most studies have been previously conducted in batch reactors. By applying microreaction engineering for the production of HMF, the production could be intensified, and the energy consumption could be reduced. In particular, a continuous biphasic microreactor offers orders of magnitudes better heat and mass transfer to improve selectivity, yield as well as extraction efficiency in short residence times compared to batch systems.

In this work, we use computational fluid dynamics simulations to systematically investigate various characteristics of continuous biphasic microreactor, including fluid dynamics, mass transfer, heat transfer as well as the microreactor performance in terms of sugar conversion, product selectivity and energy efficiency. A biphasic microreactor model is studied and assessed with experimental data from our own laboratory. The model enables us to identify optimal design and conditions of continuous biphasic microreactor and develop a scale-up strategy. Importantly, we estimate that this technology opens up the possibility for small-scale and distributed biorefineries.