Catalisti projects PIF, SuMEMS and CAPRA approved!

On October 26th 2017 Hermes Committee approved 3 new Catalisti projects: PIF, SuMEMS and CAPRA.

PIF – Particles In Flow

Organic nano- and microparticles are very important in all kinds of industries, products and applications. Three examples of particles with a high added value for Flemish companies are: organic micron sized crystals of active pharmaceutical ingredients, nano dispersions of coating resins and microcapsules with active ingredients. Four Flemish companies: Omnichem, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Allnex and Devan Chemicals have combined forces with three academic groups, with a proven track record in this field, to tackle problems associated with the production of these particles. Currently, batch reactors are used to produce the particles, but limitations in heat and mass transfer result in little control over the average particle size and particle size distribution and batch to batch variations. Higher standards maintained by the companies and their customers necessitate the industrial researchers to explore new and more robust technologies of particle synthesis. Upon executing this project, a large step in the direction of implementation of continuous processing technology in the Flemish nano- and microparticle production industry is taken
Read more about the PIF project.

SuMEMS – Sustainable membrane technology-based solutions for solvent-rich wastewater treatment

Today, huge amounts of waste water from chemical/pharmaceutical companies is transported for incineration at specialised facilities, even though these companies have large on-site waste water treatment plants. Companies as Janssen and Omnichem thus have to treat in this way several 1000s of tons per year per factory. Currently, biodegradation of these streams via conventional waste water treatment is excluded, since these waste water contain (1) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API’s), (2) other ecotoxic substances, (3) too large volumes of solvent and/or salts, and/or (4) traces of metals such, as Zinc or Palladium as remainders of homogeneous catalysts.
This project aims at realising a breakthrough in this field by developing innovative, efficient and economic membrane-based technology solutions for the sustainable treatment of these very complex solvent-rich waste waters in a holistic approach. The partners envision that the most optimal processes will be hybrid processes combining appropriate, robust membranes in synergy with powerful pre- or post-treatment (e.g. adsorption, advanced oxidation or others), allowing a (semi)-continuous on-site treatment of large volumes of waste with minimal effort.
Read more about the SuMEMS project.

CAPRA – Upgrading steel mill off gas to caproic acid and derivatives using anaerobic technology

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from steel mills, mainly in the form of syngas, can be converted to ethanol and acetic acid via gas fermentation. Ethanol has a relatively low market value and its distillation from diluted broths is an energy intense and costly process. Diluted ethanol can be upgraded to higher value products caproic and caprylic acid by a secondary fermentation (biological chain elongation). These products can be also more easily recovered due to their low water solubility. The proposed approach has the potential to broaden the applicability of carbon capture and utilization, creating added value from GHG and decreasing these emissions.

This project aims at developing a mixed culture reactor technology (TRL5) to valorize syngas fermentation effluent. It will define the best product extraction method, operational conditions and the required nutrient additions. It will allow ArcelorMittal to upgrade effluents from the Steelanol project, OWS to develop a new anaerobic reactor technology and Proviron to obtain and test syngas-based chemicals. A successful project will result in a new value chain from syngas to product that can be embedded in the chemical industry in Flanders.
Read more about the CAPRA project.