Disruptive technology for fine chemicals synthesis with catalyst-coated tube reactors


1. School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
2. Department of Biotechnology and Chemistry, Tver State Technical University, Tver, Russia


Catalyst-coated tube reactors have the potential to halve the manufacturing costs across the fine chemicals industry. The technology delivers high mass and heat transfer rates in reactions providing higher reactor utilization and efficiency promising to disrupt this industry. The reactors can be applied to a wide range of catalysts covering more than 90% of the needs of chemical industry in manufacturing of nutraceuticals, agrochemicals, flavours & fragrances and speciality chemicals.


Fine chemicals represent a wide range of compounds used as vitamins, drugs, fuel additives, dyes, fragrances, agrochemicals and many others. Only agrochemicals (including animal food supplements), as well as flavours & fragrances (F&F), contribute to a substantial share of the world’s fine chemicals production. The market for fine chemicals was worth €700 billion in 2015. As the population grows, the need for agrochemicals and F&F speciality chemicals will be increasing. Within developing countries, the market of animal food supplements is projected to increase rapidly over the next few decades (average 10% per year) mainly due to the standard of living increase. The synthesis of fine chemicals nowadays relies almost exclusively on the batch reactor technology. Batch reactors allow multi-product manufacture from a single unit, which significantly reduces the initial capital cost of plants. Batch synthesis has high manufacturing costs due to ample repetitive non-productive operations, high safety infrastructure costs to address the possible risk of explosion, poor reaction control that results in decreas ...