Projects, Physical chemistry, process modelling and reaction technology


17. Oktober 2022

Novel tool for process development

Together with members of the association Miniplant 4.0 the group of Prof. Dr. A. Zogg has developed a novel Scale-Down-Reactor. The new prototype reactor is installed within the process technology center at the FHWN-HLS. The hart of the novel Scale-Down-Reactor is a heat exchanger, the heating / cooling – finger (H/C-Finger), used to imitate the heat transport behavior of the production-scale plant.  The H/C-Finger has the same heat transport behavior and surface to volume ratio as the production plant. The H/C-Finger is 3D printed and can be made of stainless steel, Hastelloy as well as glass lined. Based on this novel heat transfer principle it is now possible to investigate the impact of the wall temperature as well as the wall material on the process already in early stages of process development.  Effects such as the formation of by-products due to a hot reactor wall, the formation of different polymorphs during crystallization due to a cold reactor wall or the impact of metal ions dissolved from the reactor wall on a catalytic process can now be investigated prior to the scale-up into production scale. The novel Scale-Down-Reactor thus shortens the development time and minimizes the needs for intermediate process trials in pilot scale equipment.

Also, in the context of laboratory safety, the novel Scale-Down-Reactor shows significant improvements compared to commercially available glass pressure reactors: The reactor is surrounded with a pressure proof safety container. In case the glass reactor breaks, the safety container prohibits the spillage of the reaction mass as well as the throw of splinters into the lab.

Viedeo showing performance of the safety container:

Application example 1: Hydrogenation

Together with the company Siegfried AG the Scale-Up of hydrogenation reactions was investigated using this technology. The project was sponsored by the Forschungsfonds Aargau – Thanks a lot!

The results of the project is summarized within the following publications:

T. Furrer, B. Müller, C. Hasler, B. Berger, M. K. Levis, and A. Zogg, “New Scale-up Technologies for Hydro-genation Reactions in Multipurpose Pharmaceutical Production Plants,” CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, vol. 75, no. 11, pp. 948–956, Nov. 2021,

A. Zogg and T. Furrer, “New Scale-Up Technologies for Hydrogenation Reactions in Multipurpose Plants,” presented at the Praxiszirkel Life Sciences, Dec. 07, 2021.

T. Furrer, B. Berger, M. K. Levis, and A. Zogg, “New Scale-Up Technologies for Hydrogenation Reactions in Multipurpose Pharmaceutical Production Plants,” 2022.

Application example 2: Electrostatic discharges

Together with the company Syngenta the Scale-Down-Reactor was modified by B. Brönniman during his Bachelor Thesis in order to allow the measurements of electrostatic discharges.

Schlagworte: hydrogenation, process safety, reaction calorimetry, scale-down-reactor, scale-up

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