Flowrence XD – Our Flagship for Early Stage Catalysis R&D

Over the last years, Avantium expanded its Flowrence technology platform to be suitable for each stage of R&D. In this edition of the Catalysis Insider, Avantium highlights the four fixed-bed parallel reactor system for early-stage R&D – The Flowrence XD.

Since the launch in 2017, we have seen strong market demand with more than 10 Flowrence XD’s sold to companies, research institutes, and universities. Currently, 6 Flowrence XD’s are operational in the field. This high demand stems from its operational flexibility and the implementation of a variety of valuable system features suited for this stage.

Maximum flexibility without compromise

Firstly, the design of our Flowrence XD provides excellent flexibility within less than 1m2. The broad operating window enables our customers to execute a wide range of experiments for multiple applications under industrially relevant conditions. To ensure feed flexibility, Avantium equipped the XD with its microfluidic technology for accurate gas and liquid feed distribution. These microfluidic chips are indispensable to guarantee that all four reactors are operated under identical conditions and generate reproducible data for comparative evaluation of catalysts and processes.

Ease-of-use for the best customer experience

Secondly, the XD offers an excellent degree of reliability and ease-of-use through its patented reactor-in-reactor technology, self-contained housing, safety features and is powered by our robust Flowrence software. With EasyLoad®, our innovative reactor closing system, a leak-tight operation and facilitated reactor loading is guaranteed, improving uptime and reliability even more.

The value of these features is acknowledged by our customers, such as Jorge Gascon, Director & Full Professor of KAUST, who says: “With these new Flowrence XD systems we strengthen our high-throughput facilities for heterogeneous catalysis and make sure that our researchers keep having access to state of the art technology. We have an excellent experience with Avantium’s equipment and technical support and look forward to developing new catalysts by making use of these systems.”

Conclusion

The Flowrence XD is the system of choice to replace existing one-reactor systems for early discovery catalyst experimentation. This parallel reactor unit offers step-change improvements in the effectiveness of R&D efforts to generate your valuable results and facilitates the reproduction and comparison of catalyst performance over multiple runs. Are you ready to replace or expand your existing infrastructure with our Flowrence XD?

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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