Catalyst Testing Campaigns you haven’t thought of

Catalyst testing is an important practice in the process of developing a new or improved catalyst. Over the years, Avantium has executed numerous catalyst-testing projects in the various phases of a catalyst development trajectory, varying from discovery, screening, process optimization, or commercial selection phase.

These phases are typically led and executed by the Research & Development departments but we see more and more that customers outsource to external parties to utilize internal resources on the most important projects (read here more). Besides these conventional catalyst-testing activities, there are additional non-R&D related domains, where services on a small scale parallel reactor high-throughput setup can provide additional value.

1. Catalyst testing for quality assurance purposes

In the process of manufacturing of new or improved catalyst, Quality Assurance Services (QAS) are important to guarantee consistency in quality. However currently, many of the QAS focus mainly on the physicochemical characteristics of the catalyst, such as elemental composition, surface area, crush strength,  porosity, or color. The quality assurance of catalysts sales or specific batches within a catalyst production can be increased by measuring catalyst performance under the same industrial conditions as it will be used later on.

The challenge is that these performance tests are very time and cost consuming when executed on a microflow or larger pilot-scale facility; moreover, the numbers of reactors are limited and therefore only a restricted amount of conditions/catalyst batches can be analyzed. The use of a small-scale high-throughput parallel reactor system for quality assurance can add significant value for the business managers and technical service engineers as it delivers real data of the final catalyst and not a prototype or lab sample.

With up to 64 parallel reactors, the analysis of multiple catalyst batches at the same time delivers insights into the consistency and quality in the catalyst manufacturing process. Catalyst manufacturers can use this essential information in their communication to customers, providing them with more data points related to the catalyst’s quality and performance. In addition, over time the large data of production processes and activity data can be collected, which allows finer tuning of conditions

2. Catalyst testing for benchmarking purposes

A second service to consider is Benchmarking Catalyst Testing with a small-scale, high-throughput parallel reactor system executed by an independent testing company. This could add value to your next long term research goals or would help you to get a better understanding of your market.  Avantium as a truly an independent partner with a large catalyst library and accessible network to commercially available catalyst systems can support benchmarking services across catalysis.

This unique combination of suited catalyst testing infrastructure and independence gives our customers a competitive advantage – better insight into the catalyst performance and reliable data providing important input for eventual catalyst improvement

3. Catalyst testing for marketing purposes

In recent years, more companies approach us to execute catalyst-testing services based on real test data for marketing purposes. As an example, Avantium recently provided high-throughput catalyst testing services for Lubrizol to independently benchmark different sulphiding agents. The process demonstrated the comparative performances of a conventional sulphiding agent and an agent that offers safer and cleaner catalyst activation.

More details and a publication in PTQ can be found here and the catalyst-testing program for marketing purposes delivered the following:

  • Tests tailored to show the bests performance of your catalysts
  • Data which the customer owns and can use as leverage in negotiations validated by an independent company

Conclusion

Avantium is an independent testing company with advanced catalyst testing infrastructure which offers possibilities for ‘non- R&D’ related catalyst services, more specifically in areas such as quality assurance, benchmarking, and marketing. Contact us to discuss your particular business needs and the relevant solutions we can offer.

Quality Assurance Benchmarking Marketing
Catalyst Development Stage Production Established Product in the Market New Product Launch
Next Goal Improve Production costs Define long term Goals Expand to new clients or marekts

Single-Pellet-String-Reactors (SPSR)

No dead-zones, no bed packing & distribution effects. The catalyst packing is straightforward and does not require special procedures. A single string of catalyst particles is loaded in the reactors with an internal diameter (ID) that closely matches the particle average diameter. This applies to single catalyst systems, as well as stacked-bed systems. The use of a narrow reactor avoids any maldistribution of gas and liquid over the catalyst bed, thereby eliminating catalyst-bed channeling and incomplete wetting of the catalyst.

The most accurate and stable pressure regulator for 16-parallel reactors

The most accurate and stable pressure regulator for a multi-parallel reactors with just ±0.1bar RSD at reference conditions. The Reactor Pressure Controller (RPC) uses microfluidics technology to individually regulate the back-pressure of each reactor. By measuring the inlet pressure of each reactor, the RPC maintains a constant inlet pressure by regulating the backpressure. As a result, the distribution of the inlet flows over the 16 reactors is unaffected and a low reactor-to-reactor flow variability is achieved.

Reactor pressure control is not only important to ensure accurate pressure control, but also to help maintaining equal distribution of the inlet flow over the 16 reactors.

Automated liquid sampling system

Programmable, fully automated liquid product sampling robot for 24/7 hands-off operation. Robot equipped with a compact manifold aiming at depressurizing the effluent immediately after each reactor to atmospheric pressure. Reactor effluent is depressurized by a miniaturized (low volume) parallel dome regulator, allowing a stable control of gas or gas/liquid product streams. This eliminates the use of valves at high pressure (such as multi-position valves), which are prone to leakage.

Gas liquid separation is sone directly by collecting the liquid products in sample vials and directing the gas products to the online gas analyzer. This approach minimizes required flushing times in the downstream section of the reactor eliminating the need for high pressure gas-liquid separators, level sensors, and drain valves.

EasyLoad® reactor closing system

Unique reactor closing system, no connections required. With a rapid reactor replacement minimizing delays, improving uptime and reliability. Sealing of up to 16 reactors by simply closing the ‘top-box’ in a single action. No leak testing required!

Stable evaporation by liquid injection into reactor

The direct injection of liquid into the top of the reactor and the consecutive conditioning zone allows feeding of broad range of liquids and concentrations. Various types of liquids, both aqueous and oil phase are successfully evaporated and fed to the reactors.

Tube-in-tube reactor technology with effluent dilution

This unique tube-in-tube feature allows an easy and rapid exchange of the reactor tubes (within minutes!) with a single o-ring at the top of the reactor without the need for any connections. The use of an inert diluent gas (outside of reactor) to maintain the pressure stops undesirable reactions immediately after the catalyst bed while serving as a carrier gas to the GC, facilitating the analysis of high boiling point components, preventing dead volumes and back flow, and reducing the time required to transfer gas and liquid effluent products to the analytical instruments.

The tube-in-tube design enables the use of quartz reactors at high pressure applications.

Compact TinyPressure module glass-chip holder with integrated pressure measurement

Holds the microfluidic glass-chips for gas distribution and measures inlet (and outlet) pressure of the 16 parallel reactors at ambient temperature, allowing online measurement of catalyst bed pressure drop.

No high-temperature pressure sensors required. Pressure range of 10 – 200 bar (high pressure) or 0.5 – 10 bar (low pressure).

The modular design enables easy calibration and quick exchange of the microfluidic glass-chip, without the need for time-consuming leak testing.

Microfluidics modular gas distribution

Unrivalled accuracy in gas distribution with patented glass-chips for 4 and 16 reactors, tested with a guaranteed flow distribution of 0.5% RSD channel-to-channel variability. Quick exchange for different operating conditions, offering the unique flexibility to cover a wide range of applications using the same reactor system.

Auto-calibrating liquid feed distribution, measurement, and control

The most accurate liquid distribution for high throughput systems with real-time liquid flow measurement and control for 16-parallel reactors. Auto-calibrating function enabled by a single flow sensor guarantees that all 16 reactors are continuously operated at the desired LHSV, all the time. Innovative design based on our microfluidic glass-chips with integrated temperature-control. The system continuously regulates the liquid distribution to all 16 reactors, and together with our Reactor Pressure Control technology, eliminates the impacts of pressure variations in the flow distribution.

Proven technology with difficult feedstocks with high viscosity, such as VGO, HVGO and DAO: no blockage and or breakage observed. Different glass-chips available for different viscosities.

Liquid distribution errors below 0.2% RSD, making it the most accurate parallel liquid flow distribution device on the market.

Option to selectively isolate the liquid flow to any of the 16-parallel reactors.

 

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