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Continuous Chemical Processes Unit. Services for industry

15 March 2021

The offer of R&D&i services that IQS Tech Transfer provides companies has been expanded since 2020 with the launch of the Continuous Chemical Processes Unit, installed in the CTPTI at IQS, which is aimed at improving fine chemistry processes to make them safer, faster, and cleaner.

The offer of R&D&i technology transfer services that IQS Tech Transfer provides companies has been expanded since 2020 with the launch of the Continuous Chemical Processes Unit or Flow Chemistry Unit, installed in the IQS Process Transfer and Integrative Technologies Centre (CTPTI).

The CTPTI is a university facility for advanced research and technology transfer that is open to collaboration with industry and offers contracted research services, technological development projects, and collaboration in industrial innovation through its various units.

Flow chemistry technology can improve fine chemistry industrial processes, thus focusing on controlling the quality of the production, its efficiency and hygiene, and the reduction of its environmental impact.

All this implies a reduction in costs, increased sustainability, and a significant reduction in the times associated with the production of APIs and their supply chain.

General services

The approach to flow chemistry requires extremely close collaboration between chemists and chemical engineers, just like IQS has always offered to industry.

The Continuous Chemical Processes Unit, integrated within the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Group (GQF), facilitates the application of new advanced manufacturing technologies in fine chemicals to transform and optimize production systems from batch to flow, thereby converting them into more efficient, more stable, safer, faster, and cleaner processes.

Some of the services offered by the Flow Chem Unit include:

  • Testing (Screening) and selecting chemical reactions, supported by microwave reactors
  • Laboratory tests to develop new processes or improve existing ones
  • Process optimization, through design of experiments (DoE)
  • New or existing processes scaling
  • Small batch production 

The range of services offered even includes the use of the unit’s two continuous reaction devices: the Syrris ASIA reactor for small tests, and the TITAN for small batch scaling and production, up to around a kilogram of a product. Process Analytical Technology (PAT) enables continuous monitoring of processes and guarantees the quality of the results.

In addition, the unit offers the possibility of research and innovation in the design of new continuous reactors especially aimed at working in multi-phase systems and applying knowledge and innovative technologies in membranes and adsorption systems, among other possibilities.

Finally, we can't forget to highlight the work-up or downstream part, in which the unit's work team has experience and in which it has incorporated operations such as cross-flow filtration, phase separation units, or atomization.

Flow Chem Unit leadership

The operation of the Flow Chem Unit and the quality of the service is based on the experience of the IQS team directly involved in the project:

  • Dr Julià Sempere (Director of the Flow Chem Unit), PhD in Chemical Engineering and Tenured Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
  • Dr Rosa Nomen, PhD in Chemical Engineering and Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
  • Dr Xavier Berzosa (Project Manager), PhD in Chemistry and Professor of Industrial Chemistry and Process Chemistry.
  • Dr Eduard Serra (Director of the Thermal Analysis Laboratory), PhD in Chemical Engineering, Professor of Reactor Design and Industrial Safety, and Head of Safety and Emergency Response Director at IQS.
  • Dr Núria Vallmitjana (Director of IQS Tech Transfer), PhD in Economics and Business and Chemical Engineering.
To acquire these devices within the framework of the File 2015 FEDER S-05 project, IQS has received co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund, granted by the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Business and Knowledge, through the Directorate General of Research (File 2015 FEDER S-05). This grant forms part of the call for grants to select unique institutional projects to construct, acquire, equip, and/or substantially expand buildings for R&D infrastructure that make it possible to produce excellent research, attract talent, and develop knowledge transfer and valuation activities, which can be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).