Taylor-vortex membrane reactor for continuous gas-liquid reactions

    • Baldassarre Veneziaa
    • David C. Morrisb
    • Asterios Gavriilidisa
    • aDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London, UK
    • bAutichem Ltd, Unit 4, Gatewarth Industrial Estate Barnard Street Warrington WA5 1DD

    A unique Taylor-vortex membrane reactor (TVMR) design for continuous gas-liquid reactions is presented in this work. The reactor consists of a cylindrical rotor inside a stationary concentric cylindrical vessel, and a flexible system of equispaced baffle rings surrounding the rotor. This restricts the annular cross section to a small gap between the baffles and the rotor, and divides the annulus into 18 mixing zones. The baffles support a 6 m long PFA tubular membrane that is woven around the rotor. At 4 mL/min inlet flowrate, the TVMR showed a plug-flow behaviour and outperformed the unbaffled reactor, having 5 – 12 times lower axial dispersion. The continuous aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohol was performed for 7 h using the Pd(OAc)2/pyridine catalyst in toluene at 100 °C and 1.1 MPa oxygen pressure. A stable conversion of 30% was achieved with 85% benzaldehyde selectivity, and no pervaporation of organics into the gas phase.

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