Process Intensification

This research area aims the development of intensified processes with the combination of reaction and separation in the same unit (PSAR, SMBR, PermSMBR). Process intensification, regarding the integration of reaction and separation in a single device, provides the most feasible engineering solution to sustainable production of chemical compounds involving equilibrium limited reactions, since at least one of the products is being removed from the reaction zone, thus increasing the conversion of the limiting reactant. The concept of simulated moving bed reactor (SMBR) is a good example of process intensification by the integration of reaction and separation in a single unit. This concept has been applied for the production of butyl acrylate, ethyl lactate, GEA, DEB, DEE, DME, DBE, and p-xylene. Further improvements can be made by integrating the membrane technology with SMBR resulting in the PermSMBR concept which allows mitigating the product dilution that usually is associated with the SMBR process (butyl acrylate, ethyle lactate, GEA, DEB). Hybrid processes combining different separation technologies have been also studied for increasing the efficiency of the xylenes isomerization and separation plant. Regarding gas phase, the concept of process intensification found its application, within LSRE-LCM, in sorption enhanced steam methane/ethanol reforming (SE-SMR, SE-SER), and water gas shift for the production of hydrogen by PSAR technology.  Membrane reactors application in the isomerization and separation of hexane isomers for the enhancement of gasoline’s octane number have been also targeted at the LA.