Process intensification. Continuous two-phase catalytic reactions in a table-top centrifugal contact separator

G.N. Kraai, B. Schuur, F. Zwol, van, R.M. Haak, A.J. Minnaard, B.L. Feringa, H.J. Heeres, J.G.M. Vries, de

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Production of fine chemicals is mostly performed in batch reactors. Use of continuous processes has many advantages which may reduce the cost of production. We have developed the use of centrifugal contact separators (CCSs) for continuous two-phase catalytic reactions. This equipment has previously only been used for mixing and separating two liquids. We have converted sunflower oil into biodiesel and glycerol by continuous two-phase reaction with methanolic sodium methoxide in the CCS in 96% conversion. Two-phase catalytic epoxidation was more problematic due to instability of most catalyst in a two-phase system. In a first attempt we managed to convert cyclooctene into the epoxide using hydrogen peroxide as oxidant and a tungsten-based polyoxometalate as catalyst with 20% conversion. Surprisingly it was also possible to perform a lipase-catalysed eserification of oleic acid in the CCS. In spite of the aqueous environment a very high conversion up to 87% was reached. In this table-top device, production of 100 Kg amounts is possible in just a matter of days. Larger-sized equipmetn also exists that can be used for ton-scale production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTwenty-second Conference of Catalysis of Organic Reactions
Place of Publication, Boca Raton
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameChemical industries
ISSN (Print)0737-8025


Dive into the research topics of 'Process intensification. Continuous two-phase catalytic reactions in a table-top centrifugal contact separator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this