Special Issue "Challenges in Chemical Processes"

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A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Volker Hessel (Website)

Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, P. O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Interests: micro process technology; flow chemistry; process intensification; green processing; holistic process design evaluation; flow systems engineering; life cycle analysis; cost analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Timothy Noël

Micro Flow Chemistry & Process Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2, Helix, STW 2.49, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Interests: continuous manufacturing; photochemistry; micro process technology; homogeneous catalysis; organic synthesis; reaction design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few decades, tremendous efforts have been devoted towards the development and design of new chemical processes. These processes are required to be more selective and energy efficient in order to reduce production costs, as well as reducing its impact on the environment. Research towards this goal is still gaining momentum and there are still many challenges ahead of the scientific community. In this special issue, published in Challenges, we create a forum to publish research with respect to “Challenges in Chemical Processes”. We envision manuscripts both with chemical and engineering focus, i.e. highlighting recent, cutting-edge developments on chemical reactions, their processing and their reactors/plants. In particular, this includes challenges in employing alternative energies in chemical processes, hydrogen production for fuel cells, developing novel pathways for organic synthesis and in particular for biofuels/biomass, devising new and improved reactor designs, improving synthetic methodologies by means of microreactor technology, flow chemistry, process intensification, photochemistry, green chemistry, green processing, catalysis or biocatalysis, and developing and using tunable and green solvents (e.g. ionic liquids, fluorous solvents, etc.) for the chemical industry. We will consider any submissions associated with novel and advanced Chemical Processes.

Prof. Dr. Volker Hessel
Dr. Timothy Noël
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • alternative energy
  • hydrogen production
  • photochemistry
  • reactor design
  • biofuels/biomass
  • microreactor technology
  • green chemistry
  • green processing
  • tunable solvents
  • sustainability
  • process intensification
  • novel synthetic pathways

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) Production from Hexoses: Limits of Heterogeneous Catalysis in Hydrothermal Conditions and Potential of Concentrated Aqueous Organic Acids as Reactive Solvent System
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 212-232; doi:10.3390/challe3020212
Received: 25 July 2012 / Accepted: 22 August 2012 / Published: 13 September 2012
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (997 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) is an important bio-sourced intermediate, formed from carbohydrates such as glucose or fructose. The treatment at 150–250 °C of glucose or fructose in pure water and batch conditions, with catalytic amounts of most of the usual acid-basic solid catalysts, gave [...] Read more.
5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) is an important bio-sourced intermediate, formed from carbohydrates such as glucose or fructose. The treatment at 150–250 °C of glucose or fructose in pure water and batch conditions, with catalytic amounts of most of the usual acid-basic solid catalysts, gave limited yields in 5-HMF, due mainly to the fast formation of soluble oligomers. Niobic acid, which possesses both Lewis and Brønsted acid sites, gave the highest 5-HMF yield, 28%, when high catalyst/glucose ratio is used. By contrast, we disclose in this work that the reaction of fructose in concentrated aqueous solutions of carboxylic acids, formic, acetic or lactic acids, used as reactive solvent media, leads to the selective dehydration of fructose in 5-HMF with yields up to 64% after 2 hours at 150 °C. This shows the potential of such solvent systems for the clean and easy production of 5-HMF from carbohydrates. The influence of adding solid catalysts to the carboxylic acid media was also reported, starting from glucose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Chemical Processes)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Particle Handling Techniques in Microchemical Processes
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 194-211; doi:10.3390/challe3020194
Received: 27 July 2012 / Accepted: 14 August 2012 / Published: 22 August 2012
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3212 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The manipulation of particulates in microfluidics is a challenge that continues to impact applications ranging from fine chemicals manufacturing to the materials and the life sciences. Heterogeneous operations carried out in microreactors involve high surface-to-volume characteristics that minimize the heat and mass [...] Read more.
The manipulation of particulates in microfluidics is a challenge that continues to impact applications ranging from fine chemicals manufacturing to the materials and the life sciences. Heterogeneous operations carried out in microreactors involve high surface-to-volume characteristics that minimize the heat and mass transport resistances, offering precise control of the reaction conditions. Considerable advances have been made towards the engineering of techniques that control particles in microscale laminar flow, yet there remain tremendous opportunities for improvements in the area of chemical processing. Strategies that have been developed to successfully advance systems involving heterogeneous materials are reviewed and an outlook provided in the context of the challenges of continuous flow fine chemical processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Chemical Processes)
Open AccessReview Continuous-Flow Processes in Heterogeneously Catalyzed Transformations of Biomass Derivatives into Fuels and Chemicals
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 114-132; doi:10.3390/challe3020114
Received: 11 May 2012 / Revised: 19 June 2012 / Accepted: 11 July 2012 / Published: 12 July 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Continuous flow chemical processes offer several advantages as compared to batch chemistries. These are particularly relevant in the case of heterogeneously catalyzed transformations of biomass-derived platform molecules into valuable chemicals and fuels. This work is aimed to provide an overview of key [...] Read more.
Continuous flow chemical processes offer several advantages as compared to batch chemistries. These are particularly relevant in the case of heterogeneously catalyzed transformations of biomass-derived platform molecules into valuable chemicals and fuels. This work is aimed to provide an overview of key continuous flow processes developed to date dealing with a series of transformations of platform chemicals including alcohols, furanics, organic acids and polyols using a wide range of heterogeneous catalysts based on supported metals, solid acids and bifunctional (metal + acidic) materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Chemical Processes)
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Open AccessReview Improving Product Quality with Entrapped Stable Emulsions: From Theory to Industrial Application
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 84-113; doi:10.3390/challe3020084
Received: 10 May 2012 / Revised: 15 June 2012 / Accepted: 25 June 2012 / Published: 10 July 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (995 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Entrapment of sub-micron scale emulsions containing active ingredients into macro-scale matrices has exhibited great potential as a delivery vehicle with controlled release capabilities, however optimization remains unrealized. Reported here are methods used to improve product quality by optimizing the emulsion formation steps. [...] Read more.
Entrapment of sub-micron scale emulsions containing active ingredients into macro-scale matrices has exhibited great potential as a delivery vehicle with controlled release capabilities, however optimization remains unrealized. Reported here are methods used to improve product quality by optimizing the emulsion formation steps. These methods are in conjunction with the precepts of Process Intensification (PI). Success with pharmaceutics and chemical reacting systems provides a strategy for a wide range of applications; the emphasis here being nutraceutics. Use of a nano-technology platform assists in: (a) product quality improvements through better nutrient dispersion, and thus bio-efficacy; and (b) production efficiencies through implementation of PI concepts. A continuous methodology, utilizing these PI concepts, that approximates a bottom-up approach to the creation of sub-micron and nano-emulsions is the basis of the technology presented here. Note that solid particles may result during post-processing. The metrics of successful processing include obtainment of nano-scale species with minimal input energy, reduced processing steps at higher throughput rates, and improved quality without over-usage of key ingredients. In addition to flavor and wellness characteristics, product stability for extended shelf life along with an appreciable cargo load in the entrapped emulsion is a major concern. Experimental protocols and path forward recommendations to overcome challenges and meet expectations in these emerging opportunities are also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Chemical Processes)
Open AccessReview Methodology for Assessment and Optimization of Industrial Eco-Systems
Challenges 2012, 3(1), 49-69; doi:10.3390/challe3010049
Received: 7 March 2012 / Accepted: 8 June 2012 / Published: 19 June 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (454 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is an emerging trend in evaluating industrial activities using principles of industrial ecology because of the emphasis on sustainability initiatives by major process industries. Attention has also been targeted at developing planned industrial ecosystems (IEs) across the globe. We point out [...] Read more.
There is an emerging trend in evaluating industrial activities using principles of industrial ecology because of the emphasis on sustainability initiatives by major process industries. Attention has also been targeted at developing planned industrial ecosystems (IEs) across the globe. We point out the current state-of-the art in this exciting discipline and subsequently identify the challenges that have not been encountered by the scientific community yet. Ecological Input Output Analysis (EIOA) may be considered as an “all-inclusive model” for the assessment of an IE because of its ability to capture the economic, environmental, and societal behavior of an IE. It could also be utilized to illustrate the detailed inter-relationships among the entities of an IE. Optimization of a fully integrated IE using conventional multi-objective optimization techniques would be too complex. For such multi-objective optimization problems, Hierarchical-Pareto optimization discussed in the literature has shown promise, but there is a need to establish a methodology to assess and/or improve the robustness of an IE using such techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Chemical Processes)

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