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SELECTBIO Conferences Flow Chemistry Congress 2016


The Use of Continuous Flow to Facilitate Sustainable Fine Chemical and API Manufacturing in Africa

Paul Watts, Research Chair in Microfluidic Bio/Chemical Processing, Nelson Mandela University

When flow technology was first introduced it was seen as being a research and development tool suitable only for small scale production, however it is now being used in production. A key driver being safety, where the excellent mixing and heat transfer characteristics of micro structured reactors enables these highly exothermic reactions to be safely performed. Nevertheless there is now a plethora of commercial reactors on the market, which means that most companies are investigating this technology to rapidly screen reactions utilising continuous flow, leading to the identification of reaction conditions that are suitable for use at a production level. Furthermore the inherent safety associated with the use of small reactor volumes enables users to employ reaction conditions previously thought to be too hazardous for use within a production environment; such as extreme reaction conditions or the use of hazardous compounds. One challenge in South Africa is that chemicals are often imported from other countries, increasing the cost of research and production. It is envisaged that by developing small production platforms, at point of need, chemicals and drugs can be manufactured within the country.

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