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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R41644/01
Title: Supercritical Fluid Chemistry Without Gases Miniaturisation and Optimisation.
Principal Investigator: Poliakoff, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Thomas Swan
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 November 2001 Ends: 31 October 2004 Value (£): 218,091
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Gas & Solution Phase Reactions
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Chemicals
Related Grants:
GR/R41668/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Supercritical fluids (SCFs), particularly supercritical COZ (scC02), are becoming increasingly popular solvents for chemical reactionson grounds both of increased selectivity and of greater environmental acceptability. The University of Nottingham has played asignificant role in pioneering the use of continuous reactors for heterogeneous catalysis in SCC02. This Proposal addresses two keyproblems in this area, namely (1) the need to miniaturise such reactors for use by Discovery Chemists and (2) accelerating theoptimisation of catalytic reactions in SCFs, which is currently extremely time-consuming. The starting point is our demonstration thatbulky gas cylinders can be eliminated from SCF reactions by generating high pressure mixtures of HZ + COZ (300 bar) by the catalyticdecomposition of HCOOH. We are now poised to exploit very recent results showing that decomposition of HCOOEt can lead to thegeneration of supercritical COZ + CZH6. Thus we can generate high pressure SCFs from organic liquid precursors without the need forgas handling and a patent is being filed. We propose a collaboration between Chemists at Nottingham and Chemical Engineers atSheffield, combining Sheffield's experience in microscale reactors with Nottingham's expertise in SCF chemistry. Our objectives are(i) to demonstrate successful operation of microreactors for heterogeneous catalysis in SCFs and (ii) to interface such a microreactordirectly to a gas-chromatograph for the automated optimisation of reactions. The major engineering challenges involve the efficientinterfacing of microreactors to high pressure systems and developing effective methods for introducing heterogeneous catalysts into thereactors. Overall, the project will deliver techniques which will have very much wider applicability than conventional gas-based SCFchemistry.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk