Ways to Maximize the Benefits of Fine Chemical Hydrogenation Reaction: Saving Catalyst or Extend Catalyst Life by Catalyst Filter

Vitamin E was discovered in 1922, isolated in 1935 and first synthesized in 1938. Alphatocopherol, either naturally extracted from plant oils or, most commonly, as the synthetic tocopheryl acetate, is sold as a popular dietary supplement, either by itself or incorporated into a multivitamin product, and in oils or lotions for use on skin. Vitamin E may have various roles as a vitamin. Many biological functions have been postulated, including a role as a fatsoluble antioxidant.

The current global demand for VE exceeds 70,000 tons per year, most of which come from artificial synthesis. The raw material for synthetic VE is geranialdehyde. The synthesis of geranialdehyde requires cumbersome steps, most of which are catalytic hydrogenation reactions. The catalyst is generally an expensive heavy metal catalyst, which is also the largest investment in a hydrogenation unit.

The loss of the catalyst is mainly caused by its own deactivation or poor filtration retention. The money they’re throwing away in catalyst each year can quickly mount because of poor filtration retention across a variety of industries – from food and ingredient manufacturers to specialty chemical and dye companies, to API plants.

The key to solving this problem is to choose a filter with excellent performance, like the SHINKAI’s catalyst filter, uses sinter powder metal filter cartridge as filter element. This product has two major advantages. First, it obviously means high particle retention and thus excellent product quality and catalyst capture. However, it helps keep all solids on the surface of the media to establish an effective filter cake. This cake, comprised of solid particles from the feed stream, enhances performance, resulting in improved particle retention. 

More importantly, since the cake and solids sit on the surface of the media rather than within the depths of the media, it can be efficiently backwashed or backpulsed off the media. This allows for downstream handling, or in the case of precious metal catalyst recovery, the ability to reuse or reclaim the catalyst. With a properly designed liquid filter, all of this can be done in a single pass, with a fully automated online clean in place system. These two advantages help reduce the loss of the catalyst and extend the life of the catalyst (because it will not contact the outside world).

At present, a large number of SHINKAI’s catalyst filters have been used in VE production equipment, which has significantly improved economic benefits.

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