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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R41668/01
Title: Supercritical Fluid Chemistry Without Gases : Miniaturisation and Optimisation.
Principal Investigator: Styring, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Allen, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2001 Ends: 30 September 2004 Value (£): 218,103
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Gas & Solution Phase Reactions
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Chemicals
Related Grants:
GR/R41644/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Supercritical fluids (SCFs), particularly supercritical COZ (scCOZ), 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 demonstrationthat bulky gas cylinders can be eliminated from SCF reactions by generating high pressure mixtures of HZ + COZ (300 bar) by thecatalytic decomposition of HCOOH. We are now poised to exploit very recent results showing that decomposition of HCOOEt canlead to the generation of supercritical COZ + CA. Thus we can generate high pressure SCFs from organic liquid precursors withoutthe need for gas handling and a patent is being filed. We propose a collaboration between Chemists at Nottingham and ChemicalEngineers at Sheffield, combining Sheffield experience in microscale reactors with Nottingham expertise in SCF chemistry. Ourobjectives are (i) to demonstrate successful operation of microreactors for heterogeneous catalysis in SCFs and (ii) to interface such amicroreactor directly to a gas-chromatograph for the automated optimisation of reactions. The major engineering challenges involvethe efficient interfacing of microreactors to high pressure systems and developing effective methods for introducing heterogeneouscatalysts into the reactors. Overall, the project will deliver techniques which will have very much wider applicability than theconventional gas-based SCF chemistry.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk