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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L021889/1
Title: Continuous Chemical Manufacture with Light (C2ML)
Principal Investigator: Poliakoff, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Pickering, Professor SJ George, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AstraZeneca Britest Ltd Chemistry Innovation
Enlumo Ltd GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) HEL Limited
Novartis SanofiAventis Deutschland GmbH Syngenta
Thomas Swan Uniqsis Ltd
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 31 March 2016 Value (£): 294,044
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Nov 2013 Manufacturing with Light Interviews : 13 & 14 November 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

The manufacture of chemicals makes a major contribution to the UK's economy; £10 bn p.a. in the chemicals and £9bn in the pharmaceuticals sectors alone. The recent report of the Chemistry Growth Strategy Group states that 'By 2030, the UK chemical industry will have further reinforced its position as the country's leading manufacturing exporter and enabled the chemistry-using industries to increase their Gross Value Added contribution to the UK economy by 50%' with "smart manufacturing" as one of three priorities in realising their vision.

Our proposal aims to contribute to this smart manufacturing by transforming the way in which continuous photochemistry can be applied to commercial chemical manufacture. There is considerable current academic interest in new photochemical reactions for organic synthesis but how they might be used industrially is usually ignored. Nevertheless the potential of photochemistry in manufacturing is widely recognized if only it could be made scalable and efficient. Traditionally the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries have used batch reactors for manufacture, which are difficult to adapt effectively for photochemistry. Therefore, this proposal focuses on continuous reactors which not only permit innovation in design to overcome technical limitations of current photoreactors but also provide a direct route to increased throughput via scale up or scale out.

We will tackle some of the technical and engineering issues inherent in conventional photoreactors. These engineering problems include getting light efficiently into the reactors, build-up of opaque material on transparent surfaces key safety issues, particularly in reactions involving oxidation, as well as cost issues related to low efficiency of many light sources and difficulties of scale up.

Our project proposes to create new engineering approaches to continuous photochemical manufacture of chemicals, which could transform chemical processes and cost. Our proposal addresses key technical/scientific barriers frustrating current commercial use of photochemistry and promises cheaper products in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and fine chemicals sectors. Our team consists of three investigators with a proven track record of taking chemical processes from laboratory to commercial plant. Between us, we have the expertise needed for success; namely, in photochemistry, continuous organic reactions, manufacturing, mechanical and chemical engineering and process monitoring.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk