By Steven T. Perry, Ph.D, Senior Product Manager
Parr tubular reactor systems are used in a wide variety of applications, most of which are continuous flow rather than batch or semi-batch. The small diameter long length characteristics of a tubular reactor are ideal for creating a continuous plug flow reactor when packed with powdered or pelletized catalyst particles (i.e. forming a packed bed reactor). The small diameter of a typical tubular reactor also makes it easier to transfer heat and control the temperature profile along the length of the reactor (throughout the reaction duration). Although packed bed applications are the most common application for Parr tubular reactor systems, they are also made use of as homogeneous catalytic and non-catalytic reactors (e.g. for pyrolysis). Although technically Parr tubular reactor systems can be modified for use as fluidized bed reactors, several important differences make our 5410 product more appropriate for fluidization applications (a blog topic for a different day).
Parr tubular reactor systems are ideal for laboratory/pilot scale product and process development or for small-scale production in oil refining and upgrading, bulk chemical synthesis, specialty chemical/pharmaceutical synthesis, supercritical extractions, electrochemical reactions, waste/biomass recycling, corrosion testing, biological reactions, geological testing, and separations. Common reactions which may be carried out in these systems include hydrogenation, hydrocracking, hydrotreating, syngas generation, synthesis (such as Fischer-Tropsch), oxidation, polymerization, nitration, denitrification, desulfurization, methanation, and pyrolysis.
Parr tubular reactors are especially appropriate where high pressures, high temperatures, or exotic alloy materials of construction are required. Just as with our batch reactors, these reactors are easily customized to provide features such as: multiple backup reactor assemblies, multi-point internal centerline thermocouples, multi-zone furnaces for better temperature control, upflow/downflow, co-current/countercurrent gas/liquid flow, jacketed vessels for heating/cooling via heat transfer fluid, dip tubes for sampling, high-pressure differential pressure measurement, internal stirring, internal catalyst retention features, internal preheater, internal support structures, and catalyst loading accessories.
Parr continuous reactor systems offer a virtually limitless customization options including multiple gas and liquid feeds, external preheat and vaporization, gas liquid separation (options for tapered bottom, vessel heating, etc.), two-phase or single phase back pressure regulation, automated pressure control including ramping, automated sampling, automatic liquid drain, and remote operation.
Parr’s new 5420 Tubular Reactor with touchscreen interface is another popular option which makes setup and operation easy for entry level applications not requiring advanced controls (such as automated pressure control or auto liquid drain). The 5420 is an ideal platform for use in university unit operations laboratories or research labs. Whatever your continuous flow reactor system needs, I would love to discuss your application and how Parr may be of assistance- please contact us today and let us build one for you!
Steve has over 17 years experience in the design and testing of laboratory-scale and pilot-scale microchannel continuous methane steam reformer reactors and Fischer-Tropsch reactors (Pacific Northwest National Lab, Battelle, and Velocys). He also has experience working with organic synthesis batch reactors (Resodyn), combustion (PNNL, BYU), and solids handling (MTU, BYU, Velocys). During his time at Battelle and Velocys, Steve was a contributor on 29 patents.