Beverly, MA- November 12, 2014- Navolta was issued patent 8875981, “System and method for a microreactor”, based on the strength of previous work done on developing systems to improve reactor intensification. This technology can be used to reduce energy consumption and improve production efficiency. Microreactors have many advantages over traditional reactors, due to their high thermal uniformity, laminar flow, and inherent improved safety due to the small amounts of toxic chemicals present in the system at any given time.
The real strength of the system is the ability to place high surface area catalysts inside of the microreactor. This enables the development of high value novel new catalyst formulations for producing a product, which can be quickly integrated into a manufacturing facility through a simple drop in module replacement. Additionally, downtime in a manufacturing plant is minimized as each small parallel reactor system can be taken offline independently, and as catalysts break down over time the entire module can be replaced quickly and easily without requiring extensive downtime.
One critical advantage of the ability to use these sorts of high end, inexpensive, replaceable microreactor systems is that it becomes feasible to nearly eliminate the pilot scale from development. In a traditional manufacturing process, you take a chemistry developed in the lab, take it to prototype scale, then to pilot scale, and then to production scale where at each stage new challenges occur due to differences in the reactor design necessary at each stage. In contrast, the Navolta microreactor system can be used at the initial chemistry development or prototype stages, and then simply reproduced many times and placed in parallel to scale up slowly. Thus, your prototype system becomes your pilot plant becomes your manufacturing plant where at each stage you are simply adding more capacity by a duplication and parallelization process with minimal new engineering.
In addition, our system is able to achieve very high temperatures and pressures, making it an interesting system for use in scaling up complex chemistry to a continuous manufacturing process, where yields are often very low in single steps of many step manufacturing processes. Much of the learning we did in developing this invention is still used in our supercritical CO2 reactors where they are used in coating particles and flakes with supercritical fluid deposition.
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