The advent of microreactors has furthered the scope for various manufacturers to address the growing challenges of margin shrinkage and environmental concerns associated with this industry. Increasing evidence shows that certain issues related to mixing such as mass transfer, heat transfer and hydrodynamics in the conventional batch processes can be easily overcome with the use of microreactors.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (technicalinsights.frost.com), Microreactors--Technology Trends and Opportunities, finds that the pertinent characteristics of microreactors were instrumental in the development of several high-quality products catering to different application segments. Several governmental and non-governmental agencies fund some of these application sectors and the gains should surface in a span of a few years after microreactors commercially establish themselves in a majority of the industries.
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"Issues with conventional mixing processes have resulted in unnecessary slow transformations that invariably result in the creation of side reactions as well as unwanted products," notes Technical Insights industry analyst Rajaram Vijayan. "The smaller sizes of microreactors or microchanneled reactors ensure that fast reactions occur with reaction kinetics considered to be the main limiting factor."
The advent of microreactors makes it easier to conduct one-step reactions. Hence, the conventional chemical reactions that produce by-products and waste products can easily be utilized in microreactors to eliminate these alternate reactions, thereby preparing high-quality products. Moreover, the fast reaction rates ensure higher yields of up to 100 percent with high quality and no side reactions. Product quality is enhanced through the accurate control of operation parameters such as pressure, temperature and space velocities.
The scope for microreactors in fuel and chemical processing is high. However, the non-availability of any commercial demonstration unit that can be retrofitted to an existing facility prevents manufacturers from taking a huge financial risk in their facilities. The risk factor becomes quite high due to the high capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) associated with manufacturing and any negligent conditions could alter margins in a substantial manner.
"Pilot-scale units have been developed in the biomass-to-liquid and gas-to-liquid processes where prime importance will be accorded to resolution of the problems associated with retrofitting of microreactors to the existing facility," says Vijayan. "Moreover, successful deployment of processes involving microreactors spurs the oil and gas industries to tap the potential of process intensification equipment."
Microreactors--Technology Trends and Opportunities, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides an overview of the market scenario as well as the factors that are aiding or deterring the growth in this market. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Microreactors--Technology Trends and Opportunities / D25A