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UA Researchers involved in a European project that seeks energy efficiency in chemical synthesis

Alicante , 18th September, 2013

Researchers at the University of Alicante participate in the European project MAPSYN:" Microwave, Acoustic and Plasma assisted SYNtheses" , which aims to design, simulate and manufacture innovative reactors that efficiently allow the performance of assisted chemical synthesis by unconventional energy sources.

Specifically, according to researcher Roberto Gómez Torregrosa, Director of the Group in Semiconductors Photochemistry and Electrochemistry (GFES) and head of the initiative at the University of Alicante “the purpose of this project is the research and development of highly efficient synthesis using alternative energy sources. It is intended to design, manufacture and scale of flow microreactors which integrate heterogeneous catalysts and in which hydrogenation is carried out assisted by ultrasounds, microwaves or plasma”.

"The application of innovative processes other than those commonly used for chemical reactions , can help improve the process performance and may open new cleaner and more efficient ways for chemical processing, in line with energy saving and environmentally friendly” Roberto Gómez states.

Organic synthesis with energy input by conventional means (heating) is being displaced by synthesis in which the heating takes place by microwave irradiation. Also, synthetic processes in which ultrasounds are applied or plasma (ionized gas) generated by discharge are gaining ground. On the other hand, there is a growing trend towards miniaturization and the use of flow systems in the field of chemical reactor design, Gómez Torregrosa highlights.

These trends, along with other more traditional use of heterogeneous catalysts, are displayed in the project MAPSYN. Also, the project wants to contribute to a more sustainable chemical industry and within this context, they try to minimize the energy and economic cost of the processes and the use of reagents and solvents .

"The results of all this research should lead to the development of industrial facilities which can perform both hydrogenations of alkynes and nitrogen fixation reactions, processes of great importance in the pharmaceutical and food processing” , Roberto Gómez explains.

GFES Research Group, in collaboration with researchers from the UA groups CONCEPT “Computer Optimization of Chemical Engineering Processes and Technologies” and Acoustics, will use different methods, both computational for modeling and simulation of microreactors, and experimental to help achieve the project objectives.

The initiative, funded by the European Commission, has a total budget of over 3.5 billion euros and will be in force until mid- 2016 . With the participation of universities , research centers and businesses in the UK (C-Tech Innovation Limited, Coventry University, University of Hull, Syrris limited), Germany (Institut Fuer mikrotechnik Mainz Gmbh, Evonik Industries AG, Konstandin & Partner Engineering Gmbh, Uwe Hofer), Netherlands (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven), Italy (Universita Degli Studi di Torino), Switzerland (Dsm Nutritional Products ltd) and Spain (University of Alicante)



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