A Wave of Progress for Process Intensification | AIChE

You are here

A Wave of Progress for Process Intensification

Special Section

Certain chemical products have traditionally been produced in large batches in centralized processing facilities. “You put in all the reactants, mix, heat, and pray,” says Götz Veser, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the Univ. of Pittsburgh. These huge reactors can be as big as 50,000 gal. “Controlling this monster of ingredients is difficult. As a result, the efficiency is low, and you can lose a whole batch if something goes wrong,” he explains.

The RAPID Manufacturing Institute is working to advance modular chemical process intensification (MCPI) to create more efficient and sustainable methods of chemical production. The collaborative research environment and funding that RAPID provides are helping to further innovations in process intensification (PI) and modularization, such as the work of Veser and his team.

In partnership with specialty chemicals company Lubrizol, Veser’s team converted a historically batch process for making an engine oil additive to a modular, continuous one. The modular unit employs a tubular reactor that can achieve a throughput of 5,000 m.t./yr; modules can be numbered up to match the 20,000-m.t./yr throughput of the large batch operation. The team took the process from laboratory concept to commercial deployment in under two years, reducing capital cost by 90% and operating costs by more than 30%.

This project is one of many success stories...

Would you like to access the complete CEP Article?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.