Micro Reaction Engineering

Dr. Heike Ehrich

The group targets with the chemistry in microstructures and the transfer of multiphase batch reactions into continuous processes. Micro reactors are characterized by small reaction and mixing channels and a continuous operation mode. The resulting surface-area-to-volume ratio is highly advantageous for a fast mass and energy transport. This leads to enhanced mixing or heat dissipation compared to conventional reactors. Micro reaction engineering enables us to run very fast and mixing-sensitive reactions, or highly exothermic or endothermic reactions safely in a continuous mode, with well-defined residence times and precise parameter control. Therefore, higher selectivities can be obtained. The small internal volume lowers the input of chemical resources and energy as well, which leads to a higher process economy.

With our knowledge in catalysis and the wide tool of microstructured devices of different materials and producers we transmit catalysis and micro process engineering. The work is focused on selective hydrogenation and oxygenation, photochemical reactions (photochlorination, photooxygenation), reactions with toxic reagents or instable intermediates (direct halogenation, sulfonation, aminolysis, ozonolysis), and the chemical and energetic use of renewable sources (hydrogen generation e.g. for PEM or SOFC fuel cell application from ethanol, methanol, and acetic acid, methanization of CO2), and waste water treatment. These topics are accompanied by research activities in the synthesis, characterization and application of nanoparticles in catalytic reactions.

Chemical reaction in the modular microreaction system (Ehrfeld Mikrotechnik BTS) with mixer, reactor, heat exchanger, sensors, and vents
Microreactor from the Little Things Factory made of borosilicate glass for liquid/liquid reactions