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“Intensification Strategies for Liquid-Liquid Processes”

Laurence R Weatherley PhD Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering The University of Kansas

Lawrence KS66045


Process intensification is the term used to describe process and equipment technologies which result in higher process efficiency, energy saving, inventory reduction, equipment size reduction, and space saving in chemical engineering processes. These advantages may be achieved for example through the application of better catalysts, and use of reaction media with improved thermodynamic properties. Another very important area for intensification in multiphase system is the development of equipment which promotes optimal fluid mechanics, resulting in higher heat and mass transfer fluxes. In particular the latter are of significant relevance to both reactor design, and to separations. In this presentation two examples of process intensification which are topics of our recent research will be described. Both examples are concerned with the intensification of a mass transfer limited liquid-liquid contacting process involving reaction. In the first example the use of electrostatic dispersions to intensify the enzyme catalyzed hydrolysis of a tri-glyceride ester to free fatty acid in an experimental co-current liquid-liquid contactor will be described. The relationship between applied electrical field and conversion will be presented and the substantial enhancement in specific reaction rate illustrated. The application of a novel finite element modeling technique to describe reactor performance will be discussed, and the potential for investigating alternative reactor geometries demonstrated. The second example focuses on the development of an impinging jet parallel plate spinning disk reactor for the intensified methyl esterification of tri-glyceride to biodiesel and glycerol. The conversions achieved in the reactor under a range of conditions will be presented, including the effects of disc rotational speed, inter-disk spacing, and temperature. Comparison with a simple stirred batch reactor show large reductions in residence time in the spinning disk reactor for equivalent conversion. The hydrodynamic conditions within the inter- disk space were studied using finite element modeling and used to predict spatial variation of composition within the reactor, and thus overall conversion at the reactor outlet.

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 Supercritical Fluid Extraction Weatherley.pdf Page 001
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