The companies ChemConnection B.V., Ajinomoto Omnichem N.V. and Flowid B.V., in cooperation with ISPT, started a combined project, partially funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), to investigate the potential of performing organic synthesis with butyl lithium as reagent in a SpinPro Reactor.

Motivation of the project was to proof the outstanding performance of the SpinPro Reactor for reactions that normally require extreme reaction conditions. Butyl lithium based chemistry is conventionally executed in batch vessels that operate at low temperatures of -80°C in order to control the rate of reaction. If reaction conditions can be intensified, potentially to ambient temperatures, this would be beneficial for: energy consumption, ease of handeling and thus safety.

Flowid realised a transportable pilot set up with the novel SpinPro Reactor technology integrated. The SpinPro reactor is capable to keep reaction conditions under control, even on production scale throughputs. Increased mass and heat transfer capabilities enable these process intensified conditions. In practice this means that reactions can be performed at elevated pressure and temperature.

In 2015 parties joint forces. The chemistry is supplied and tested by Omnichem on a laboratory scale. In October the SpinPro Reactor of Flowid is placed at ChemConnection’s facilities for the proof of principle experiments. The proof of principle experiments were positive. It is demonstrated that a butyl lithium reactions can be performed at elevated temperatures of +30°C. Furthermore, compared to other continuous reactors, the SpinPro Reactor proved that it operates stable for applications in which gasses and liquids are dosed, and a suspension is formed. Also, knowledge was generated about the hydrodynamics in the SpinPro Reactor.

Based on this information Flowid developed a mathematical model to predict the hydrodynamic behaviour of fluid in all SpinPro Reactor devices. Based on the executed project, further collaboration between parties is for seen. ChemConnection showed their capability of facilitating hazardous chemistry by novel equipment on a pilot scale, which is beneficial for Flowid and/ or Omnichem. Flowid demonstrated the potential of their SpinPro technology, which is now part of the continuous flow chemistry toolbox of Omnichem