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General and Specialty Chemicals

NiTech’s technology enables companies to adopt continuous processing and overcome many of the problems associated with batch production, which is still widely used in general chemical manufacturing.

NiTech’s® reactors and crystallizers replace stirred tank reactors (STRs) with a much smaller reactor volume to enhance throughput performance. The capital cost is significantly less than for STRs as the reactor volume is usually 90% smaller. Quality is consistent and does not suffer from the variations that are intrinsic in batch production.

Process Intensification

Process Intensification (PI) is about reducing the size of chemical and other plant equipment to enable manufacturers to achieve major increases in process efficiency while reducing waste. In many cases, therefore, it can literally enable companies to ‘use less to produce more’.

NiTech’s technology contributes to the adoption of Process Intensification by enabling companies to switch from batch to continuous processing. Its “plug and produce” model enables it to operate within existing manufacturing processes. It also allows companies to redesign their manufacturing operations to capture additional savings.

This opportunity is well described by Peter Hobin, the manufacturing technology leader at lubricants company Infineum (a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell) in a paper to the European Process Intensification Conference in June 2011, where he noted:

“One of the perceived benefits of PI is a smaller manufacturing footprint and capital cost. However, in order to take a PI process into an existing plant environment and capture the expected savings, several additional challenges need to be addressed and overcome. Simply inserting a PI plant into a traditional plant layout and using conventional screening cost tools is unlikely to yield an overall lower capital cost. Instead there is a need to adapt to a different form of plant layout, design equipment for the highest levels of reliability and establish a compact design whilst ensuring easy access for operation and maintenance.”

CPI and Croda success with surfactants using NiTech technology

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Croda have produced a video showing the successful outcome of a project to develop a continuous process for a range of market-leading surfactants using NiTech technology.
Watch video now  〉

NiTech is working on a key project with major chemical company Croda Europe and has completed a project with Bayer Technology Services (BTS).

The collaborative two-year Innovate UK project with Croda Europe, the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, aims to develop a novel method for the continuous production of a range of market-leading surfactants.

The partners are designing, building and trialling a modular unit based on NiTech’s® patented continuous oscillating baffle reactor (COBR) technology. The aim is to deliver a new process for the manufacturing of existing products that will significantly reduce operational and capital costs, and increase process sustainability, while maintaining product quality.

BTS purchased a NiTech DN15 continuous crystallizer and reactor, having identified the technology as having key potential in the future. The company successfully completed the project.

cpi Centre for Process Innovation

University of Cambridge

BTS and NiTech

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Croda video showing the successful outcome of a project to develop a continuous process for a range of market-leading surfactants using NiTech technology