High-Pressure Reactors Development of Advanced Catalysts for Biomass Transformation
Working closely with researchers at the Centrale Lille Institute in Lille, France — Asynt has developed and supplied two custom high-pressure reactors to assist them in their development of new advanced catalysts for biomass transformation.
The Catalysis and Solid State Chemistry Unit in Lille brings together a large group of experienced researchers, technical and administrative support staff, plus doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers. The unit's scientific activities are divided into three fields: heterogeneous catalysis, catalysis and molecular chemistry, and solid chemistry. Within the Vaalbio group, the Cat-Bio-Innov team (led by Dr Robert Wojcieszak) is focused on the advanced catalytic upgrading of biomass materials for biorefineries, alongside research into streamlining the use of fossil resources.
According to Dr Robert Wojcieszak, the new Cat-Bio-Innov project aims to develop catalytic processes for the conversion of C1 to C6 lignocellulosic molecules, isolated from biomass, to chemical intermediates for bio-polymer and energy-driven applications such as the production of biofuels and additives for biofuels. To support this R&D the researchers decided to invest in two high pressure reactors. The team chose to source these units from Asynt because of their flexibility in their high-pressure reactor production to meet individual customer needs in terms of reactor size, construction materials, pressure ratings plus a huge range of options for agitation, heating and sampling, Wojcieszak explains. Since usually, there are only milligrams of catalysts to handle, they chose a relatively small overall volume for their high-pressure reactors. This allows them to work with a large range of different catalyst metal/substrate ratios. The possibility to work at high pressures was also very important. As the catalytic reactions are often undertaken in corrosive media the choice of the Hastelloy for the reactor construction was logical.
Dr Wojcieszak concluded that the two 50 ml Hastelloy C276 high pressure reactors supplied by Asynt enabled a considerable shortening of the trial-and-error phase necessary to design the new catalyst formulations. Using these reactors, the team can perform several tests per day and study the kinetics of the reactions. The Asynt high pressure reactors are also very easy to use, further reducing the time needed to perform two sequential reactions.