Scottish firm plans to revolutionise chemical industry with development of world’s fastest industrial scale batch reactor

30/09/2022
An energy efficiency comparison between the PI QFlux reactor and an industry standard reactor

ALLOA Scotland based chemical engineering firm Process Technology Strategic Consultancy (PTSC) has developed a revolutionary new batch reactor that could transform chemical production across the globe. The PI QFlux batch reactor has the ability to produce chemical products much faster than traditional batch reactors while using far less energy. In a recent large-scale test carried out in Japan, it has proven to be four times quicker than other batch reactors operating under the same conditions while using up to 50% less energy than traditional technologies. 

The revolutionary batch reactor has the potential to dramatically improve energy efficiency in the chemicals sector, which is the world’s third largest industrial emitter of CO2. In a significant difference to traditional batch reactors, the PI QFlux can operate at zero carbon when using green sources of electricity. With energy prices currently at a premium, the efficiencies PI QFlux batch reactors deliver can also cut operating costs for chemical producers.

Low productivity, poor efficiency and high energy prices are long-standing challenges for chemical manufacturers. The PI QFlux can be retrofitted into existing plant systems to improve the efficiency of ageing chemical facilities. This means that there is a significant national and international market for the PI QFlux with over 500,000 traditional, inefficient batch reactors in operation across the world. It can also be installed in new purpose-built plants.

The process and technology to produce pharmaceutical and chemical products at scale has barely changed in over a hundred years. This new technology therefore represents a significant innovation in process industries. It uses a unique, heated baffle design to deliver huge performance benefits and has been awarded a patent in the USA with patents pending in Europe, India, China and Japan.

The batch reactor was developed as part of an international effort involving specialists from across Scotland, the UK and overseas. The University of Aberdeen and Glasgow Caledonian University, along with numerous manufacturing partners across Scotland and the UK helped develop the prototype. Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co Ltd of Japan and Scotland headquartered Aggreko worked with PTSC to create the purpose-built test facility in Harima, Japan to test the batch reactor in real world conditions.

PTSC also received a range of support from Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway to develop and test this revolutionary technology. Scottish Enterprise support included a £42,800 R&D (research and development) grant to assist the company with its prototype development and a further £9,000 grant to help develop its international market strategy.

Managing Director, Andrew C Wills said: “We’re delighted with the outcome of the large-scale test of our PI QFlux batch reactor in Japan. The results exceeded our expectations, and we believe our reactor has the potential to be a major disruptor in the chemical industry. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us and invested in our vision. We’re looking forward to taking the PI QFlux batch reactor to market and delivering real change in the chemicals industry by making it more efficient and in cutting carbon emissions.”

Dorothy Henke from Business Gateway said: “This is an incredibly exciting development. Having worked with Andrew and his team for the last 5 years, we’re delighted that the support from Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and Clackmannanshire Council has helped with the development of this new technology. We very much look forward to working with PTSC as their innovative product is installed globally. It’s an outstanding success for this Scottish business.”

Rhona Allison, Director of Business Growth at Scottish Enterprise, said: “With soaring energy prices and the climate emergency at the forefront of everyone’s minds, technology like that being developed by PTSC is more crucial than ever. Seeing the company’s technology move from the idea stage to a working prototype is hugely exciting for all of us who have supported them since the beginning. It also demonstrates the huge potential for this Scottish company to change the future of the chemicals industry as well as accelerating the path to net zero on a global scale.”

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