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Micro-chemical: From "bigger is better" to "small and efficient"
As one of the important means for strengthening the chemical process, micro-chemical technology has the advantages of process enhancement and miniaturization. It has the features of strong heat transfer, good safety, easy process control and direct amplification, and can significantly improve the safety of the process. , Production efficiency, rapid advancement of the practical application of laboratory results. Micro-reactions can subvert the “bigger and better” thinking mode of traditional chemical technology and provide important inspiration for the reform of the development model of the chemical industry. This was the conclusion of the 2017 micro-chemical process optimization engineering design and equipment application symposium held in Nanjing, Jiangsu on November 16-17.
Strengthen the reaction process
At present, China's environmental protection and safety supervision is increasingly strict. In particular, the State Administration of Work Safety strengthens the supervision of 18 types of dangerous processes, and raises higher safety requirements for chemical production. Dr. Ma Bing, general manager of Shanghai Huihe Huade Biotechnology Co., Ltd., said that compared with traditional process technology, microreaction technology can reduce the reactor volume by 1,000 times, the reactor heat transfer efficiency by 1,000 times, and the mass transfer by 100 times. The reaction time can be precisely controlled, and there is no amplification effect from the laboratory to industrial production, which helps the chemical production to achieve safety, environmental protection, and high efficiency.
Professor Xu Jianhong, a researcher at the Department of Chemistry at Tsinghua University, said that in the traditional chemical industry, the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and chemical intermediates is mostly carried out in batch or semi-batch tank reactors, but it has obvious defects. The auxiliary operations such as loading and unloading take time and the process is not continuous; due to the weak thermal mass transfer capacity of the traditional tank reactor, the stability of its product quality is poor, and the ability to control strong exothermic reactions is poor. The characteristic scale of the micro-reactor internal channel is in the micro-scale range (10~500μm), which is much smaller than the characteristic size of the traditional reactor. The specific surface area is large, the heat and mass transfer effect is good, the reaction conditions can be precisely controlled, and the product quality and yield can be improved. And so on, to provide an important support for the realization of the key technological innovations in chemical process safety, efficiency and fine chemical products.
“The chemical system with micro-chemical equipment as the core can operate chemical processes in the confined space of micron or sub-millimeter level, and enhance the process efficiency and safety by reducing the flow or dispersion scale of the system to enhance the mixing, transfer and reaction processes. The laboratory results can be quickly and reliably applied to industrial processes, with the advantages of fast thermal mass transfer rate, high internal safety, low process energy consumption, high integration, small amplification effect, and strong controllability, etc. Fast, low cost, good safety, widely used in machinery, electronics, materials, biology, medicine, chemistry and other fields.” Xu Jianhong told reporters.
Suitable for multiple reactions
Zhang Yuecheng, professor of the School of Chemical Engineering of Hebei University of Technology, believes that micro-reaction technology is an effective way to reduce waste liquid discharge, enhance process safety, and reduce energy consumption. For most of the 18 types of processes that focus on hazardous processes, intrinsic safety can be well achieved using micro-reaction technology. The modular, intelligent, and flexible continuous-flow microreaction technology combines the advantages of continuous reaction and batch reaction, prompting the chemical reaction to be faster; the amount of chemicals staying in the reactor is very small and easy to control, prompting the chemical and chemical process Safer; rapid and effective mixing, precise control of residence time and reaction temperature, improved conversion rate and selectivity of chemical reaction; at the same time, the micro-reaction process is strengthened to reduce the amount of solvent used. Such processes as azidation reaction, Grignard reaction, nitration reaction, oxidation reaction, tandem reaction and aldol condensation reaction can adopt continuous flow micro reaction process to achieve high efficiency, economy, safety and environmental protection.
Chen Guangwen, a researcher at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a winner of the National Natural Science Outstanding Youth Fund, said that the development and progress of the chemical process strengthening technology has injected new impetus and vitality into the relevant chemical industry. As an effective process enhancement technology, microreaction technology has been successfully applied at home and abroad. In foreign countries, Bayer, BASF, Swiss Longsha, United States Corning and other companies have successively established departments responsible for micro-chemical technology to develop and promote their micro-chemical equipment products. In China, the microchannel reaction technology developed by DAL has achieved 80,000 tons/year of industrial production of ammonium dihydrogen phosphate, 5000 tons/year of magnesium hydroxide flame retardant, and 10,000 tons of petroleum sulfonate production. Industrial demonstration test; Tsinghua University's key laboratory of chemical engineering at the United Nations adopted the membrane emulsification technology and successfully developed a 10,000-ton membrane-dispersed micro-structure reactor to produce monodisperse nano-calcium carbonate and a 150,000-ton/year wet-process phosphoric acid purification industry. Device. These fully prove the feasibility and superiority of micro-chemical technology in industrial scale application.
Technical problems remain
Chen Guangwen stated that despite the rapid development of micro-chemical technology in the past decade or so, it is necessary to soberly realize that while microreactors are the preferred device for certain reaction processes, there is still a part of the reaction that is not suitable for micro-chemicals. Within the system. As an emerging field, micro-chemical technology has many problems that need to be further studied, such as structural optimization design of micro-reaction systems and advanced manufacturing technologies, system automatic control technologies, micro-reactor anti-corrosion and anti-clogging technologies, and industrial applications. "The application of microreactors is conditional, which is closely related to the chemical reaction principle and the control of reaction conditions such as temperature and flow rate. It is not only the use of microreactors that can improve production efficiency, selectivity, and reduction." "Three wastes", no safety problems." Ma Bing stressed.
"This requires relevant companies to conduct in-depth and substantive cooperation, carry out long-period industrial application demonstration operations for different types of chemical processes or reaction types, and accumulate experience to provide a theoretical basis for the design, amplification, and operation of micro-chemical technologies." said Chen Guangwen, During the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” period, we must strengthen our efforts to overcome the technical difficulties of micro-reactions. Related companies need to vigorously strengthen the basic and applied basic research of micro-chemical engineering and technology, and solve key common scientific issues in micro-chemical engineering and technology. At the national level, efforts should be made to recommend the promotion of micro-reaction technology to companies that can achieve advanced chemical technologies such as chemical process enhancement, process safety, and energy conservation and emission reduction.
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