Catalytic Static Mixer (CSM) technology – a new 3D printed catalyst platform for continuous flow hydrogenations
Continuous heterogenous catalysis is a central component of continuous flow chemistry. Herein we provide a brief overview of CSIRO’s Catalytic Static Mixer (CSM) technology, an immobilised structured catalyst platform, as alternative to traditional fixed bed technologies for easy deployment in continuous flow reactors. We outline the essentials of this catalyst platform and demonstrate its potential through a selection of hydrogenation processes.
Fixed-bed reactors have been a mainstay of catalytic reaction processing for many decades. While easy to construct and implement, they suffer from a number of well-known shortcomings when designing a continuous flow process, including high pressure drop, irregular flow patterns, and poor temperature control (1, 2). In considering these limitations we considered the possibility of combining the well-known advantages of continuous flow processing with the benefits of well-defined structured catalysts systems. To this end additive manufacturing techniques were pursued given their demonstrated potential for advanced hardware design and fabrication beyond the limitations of conventional subtractive manufacturing methods.
In recent years, chemical engineers and chemists have utilized the potential 3D printing has to offer in order to construct more efficient chemical reactors with geometries that had not been possible previously (3-6). The ability to tailor the reactor geometry to best suit a chemical process, and the ability to rapidly prototype the device, can give 3D-printed reactor components a competitive advantage over ...