Microreactors gain interest

This blog has already commented on the attraction of microreactors for greener chemical production, noting recently that one of the winners of the ICIS Innovation Awards – Oxford Catalysts – won it for microreactor developments.  Now market research firm Frost & Sullivan has released a fascinating study into the uptake of this technology.

Oxford Catalysts’ microreactor

Says Frost & Sullivan: “The advent of microreactors makes it easier to conduct one-step reactions. Hence, the conventional chemical reactions that produce by-products and waste products can easily be utilized in microreactors to eliminate these alternate reactions, thereby preparing high-quality products.

“Moreover, the fast reaction rates ensure higher yields of up to 100% with high quality and no side reactions. Product quality is enhanced through the accurate control of operation parameters such as pressure, temperature and space velocities.”

Oxford Catalysts’ raising of a further £21m for future development bodes well for its efforts in biofuels and Fischer-Tropsch reactions in microreactors. Many other players are looking at the technology, which, says the report, has high potential. It points out though that there are risks in implementation:

“The scope for microreactors in fuel and chemical processing is high. However, the non-availability of any commercial demonstration unit that can be retrofitted to an existing facility prevents manufacturers from taking a huge financial risk in their facilities.”


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