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The challenge

Tedious and time-consuming catalysts

For some chemical manufacturing processes, a metal catalyst needs to be added to the reaction mixture to facilitate a chemical reaction.

Floworks team member Yutong Zhu inspects a catalytic static mixer ©  Nick Pitsas

Traces of the catalyst are still found at the end of the reaction and need to be removed at the end of the process. This is often an extremely tedious, time-consuming and costly task.

Batch chemistry is also limited by the size of the reactor in which the chemicals are placed. This can make chemical processes time-consuming.

Our response

Flow chemistry and catalyst static mixers increase production speed

We've developed a processing platform for chemical reactions that combines all the benefits of flow chemistry, with a much simpler and user-friendly way of using metal catalysts.

The catalyst coated static mixer system removes the need to filter any catalyst metals out at the end. The method works by immobilising the metal catalyst on the rod-shaped static mixer which is present in the flow reactor. This eliminates the need to remove the catalyst from the reaction mixture at the end of the process.

Catalytic Static Mixer

This process leads to better chemical processes that enable a simpler, easily scalable, and safer production of chemicals.

Each of the static mixers is custom designed and 3D printed by CSIRO's Lab 22 to ensure maximum efficiency. The catalyst is then applied to the static mixers using our Cold Spray technology.

The results

Efficient production of an antibacterial pharmaceutical

We've used this process to create a key ingredient in the antibacterial pharmaceutical, Linezolid, more commonly known as Zyvox.

The technology is theoretically viable for any industry that requires catalytic processing. The simpler processing system could have vast impacts on chemical manufacturing in general, including in the pharmaceutical, food and fine chemical industries.

The process means we can create a better result in a shorter period of time, lending itself to a more efficient scale-up.

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