ERTFlow: flow reaction technologies and process intensification

Summary of the technology

ERTFLOW is a technology development unit from the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), generated by the know-how produced by the research group of Prof. Miquel Pericàs, to develop and implement technical solutions in process intensification.

Our goal is to develop propietary technologies related to catalysis and flow chemistry and offering products and services to the fine chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries for the production of new products with high added value and guide them in the paradigm change from batch to flow.

Details of the Technology Offer

Which Is the Problem to Be Solved ?

Batch processing, the most usual production scheme in the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries, presents important disadvantages:

  • Low intensification
  • Waste generation
  • Risks associated to large volumes
  • Problems in scale-up

Flow Processing as a Convenient Alternative

From the microfluidic to the mesofluidic scale, flow processing solves most of the problems associated to batch processing:

  • Large productions can be achieved with small reactors (intensification)
  • Production can be instantaneously adapted to needs
  • Risks are minimized
  • Waste is minimized
  • Scale-up is straightforward

Which are the Advantages of Flow Techniques?

Flow techniques present a series of advantages that make them a very convenient alternative for the production of organic compounds:

  • Faster mixing
  • Increased heat transfer (avoids exotherms and runaway reactions)
  • Reactions with temperature-dependent selectivity issues are more easily controlled
  • Improved safety profile (even in the worst case, the reacting volumes are so small that possible damages are limited)
  • Process intensification (reduced footprint, increased sustainability profile)
  • Flexible production
  • Facilitates optimization of reaction conditions (saving time and volume of reagents)
  • Amenable for automation

ERTFLOW: your batch to flow partner!

We have detailed below a representative list of some of the reactions carried out in continuous flow in our lab:

  • Aldol and cross-aldol reactions
  • α-Aminoxylation of aldehydes and ketones
  • Syn– and anti-Mannich reactions
  • Three-component anti-Mannich reactions
  • Michael additions
  • Domino Michael-Knoevenagel reaction
  • α-Amination of aldehydes
  • Friedel-Crafts alkylation & aza-Friedel-Crafts reactions
  • Aziridinations
  • Epoxidations
  • Allylic amination
  • Alcohol oxydations
  • Carboxylation
  • Photoredox reactions
  • Carbene transfer reactions

Related Keywords

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Industrial Manufacture
  • Chemical Technology and Engineering
  • Pharmaceutics
  • Colours, dyes related to Chemical Technology and engineering
  • Special chemicals, intermediates
  • Chemicals and Materials
  • Polymer (plastics) materials
  • Coatings and adhesives manufactures
  • Other speciality materials
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemistry
  • flow process
  • catalysis

About Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia represents one of the very first fruits of the new scientific policy of the government of Catalonia (Spain) aimed at creating new research centres in strategic areas. ICIQ, in particular, has been created with the ambition of becoming a reference for chemistry in the European Research Space.

Our society faces important challenges in the XXI century, among which health and environmental concerns are of outmost importance. Chemistry will play an essential role in both of these challenges. To succeed, our increasingly knowledge-based economy will require a solid and strong chemical industry; currently 150.000 jobs in Catalonia (and more than 2 million in the EU) directly arise from the chemical industry. In order for this industry to be successful in the future, it must take a sustainable approach based on the rational use of feed-stocks and raw materials. For this, fundamental chemical research needs to be funded and novel approaches into transforming matter must be developed.

We at ICIQ consider that catalysis is the key activity for sustainable chemistry. Catalytic processes can minimize raw materials and energy consumption, and can lead to the selective formation of target products with minimal generation of wastes. In line with this consideration, we have taken catalysis as one of our main research topics.

Complementary to our research focus, attention has been paid to the development of a simple and efficient organizational model for ICIQ, able to overcome known difficulties normally associated with larger and more traditional research institutions. The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia aims at bridging the gap between academic research and industry, focusing its research on catalytic chemical processes for applications in health, energy and sustainability.

At ICIQ, we consider that patents are highly efficient, safe and solid tools to provide protection from competitors. This is why we file patents for our in-house developed-technologies: to give our co-development projects with industry a strong starting IP position. As a research centre our goal is always to co-develop our technology adapting it to the industrial partner’s specific needs and ultimately transfer the technology to this company, with a flexible licensing strategy adapted to each case.

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