Development of an Innovative, Continuous Ozonolysis Platform for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Department of Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Oxidation is a common synthetic transformation in the chemical industry, but it often involves the use of toxic,
environmentally unfriendly and expensive heavy metal oxidants. An alternative that is often used on gram-scale is to use
ozone, although the risks inherent with scaling up such a process (thermal instability of the reaction intermediates leading
to highly exothermic decomposition) have rendered this approach unscalable. This project will deliver a safe, scalable, lowinventory
method of performing kilo-scale ozonolysis in a continuous manner, and demonstrate its utility via application to
an existing drug compound. Additionally, by using a fully sustainable starting material (ozone is generated in-situ from
oxygen in the air), we will demonstrate a sustainable approach with significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Vellingiri R (2014) Absolute and convective instabilities in counter-current gas-liquid film flows in Journal of Fluid Mechanics

 
Description The main objective was to undertake a number of theoretical-computational studies with the ultimate aim to understand fundamentally the interplay between hydrodynamics, reaction and heat-mass transport in micro-reactor and micro-separator devices. So far we have been looking at a simple prototype for such devices, a microchannel with an air-liquid meniscus advancing into it. This problem is being modelled using a simple diffuse interface/Cahn-Hilliard model. More complicated scenarios, e.g. flows in strongly perforated domains will be addressed using the effective macroscopic Canh-Hilliard equations we have obtained in another project.
Exploitation Route As mentioned earlier this is fundamental research, however, there are potential applications as the flows considered in the project are often encountered in a wide variety of technological applications and natural phenomena, e.g. flows in packed-bed reactors, part of the general class of flows in porous media, which in turn are relevant to a wide variety of natural settings, from underground reservoirs to the human body.
Sectors Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://www.imperial.ac.uk/complex-multiscale-systems
 
Title Development of modelling tools for multiphase flows in microengineered devices (MED) 
Description We considered as a simple model system a typical MED which can be found in a micro-scale fluid separation system. And we have tried to analyse computationally, using a diffuse-interface/Cahn-Hilliard type model, the hydrodynamics of multiphase flows in this MED. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact We have tried to characterise the hydrodynamic critical transitions in MED, in terms of critical phenomena and universal laws, thus opening up a new interdisciplinary framework that connects the communities of critical phenomena theory (modern theoretical physics) with micro-fluidics (modern engineering). The primary aim was the fundamental understanding of the interplay between hydrodynamics, heat-mass transport and possible chemical reactions in MED. 
URL http://www.imperial.ac.uk/complex-multiscale-systems
 
Title Development of numerical methodologies for multiphase flows in microengineered devices (MED) 
Description The research facilitated by this project has formed the precursor for the development of state-of-the-art rigorous numerical methodologies with the capability of providing accurate and reliable multiscale simulations of complex reactive fluid flows in a wide variety of settings. Such codes did not exist prior to this project. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Trying to understand manufacturing and design without understanding the basic research issues is a serious shortcoming. As already noted, the research facilitated by this project formed the basis for the development of state-of-the-art rigorous numerical methodologies with the capability of providing accurate and reliable multiscale simulations of complex reactive fluid flows in a wide variety of settings. These computational tools should be of benefit to the control and optimisation of microscale industrial processes and devices that exploit microscale flows of complex fluids as they would allow their rapid design and also designer surfaces for targeted microfluidic applications. High-quality software is a pre-requisite to economic impact and invaluable platform to interact with end users, even at the basic research stage. 
URL http://www.imperial.ac.uk/complex-multiscale-systems