ThalesNano makes hydrogenation reactions 'academic'

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hydrogenation Hydrogen

ThalesNano Nanotechnology has launched a new version of its H-Cube
flow reactor for use in higher education laboratories - the H-Cube

The H-Cube Tutor hydrogenation reactor is based on the 2005 R&D Top 100 award winning flow hydrogenation reactor the H-Cube but has been optimised for use in an educational environment by making it easier to use and building into a reactor with a smaller footprint.

By using water electrolysis to generate the hydrogen and a catalyst cartridge system in conjunction with a continuous flow reactor set-up the shoe-box sized H-Cube reduces the risks involved in hydrogenation reactions while increasing yields.

Continuous hydrogenation reactions are performed in the H-Cube flow reactor in a safer and more efficient manner than conventional methodologies which can lead to Universities not allowing students to run hydrogenation reactions.

"Undergraduate chemists at many universities are not allowed to practice hydrogenation during their practical session, due to safety concerns with handling hydrogen cylinders and pyrophoric catalysts," said Dr. Ferenc Darvas, president of ThalesNano.

"It is essential for their future industrial or academic career to gain first hand practical experience with hydrogenation during their educational years, since approximately 5-10 per cent of reactions in the whole of the chemical industry are a kind of hydrogenation."

The H-Cube flow reactor is controlled and monitored using a touch screen display panel and uses hydrogenation catalysts that are packed into disposable CatCart cartridges that have filters at either end that allow the substrate solution pass through while preventing the catalyst from leaking out.

This removes the need for catalyst filtering and weighing which avoids potential fires being caused by pyrophoric metal catalysts.

ThalesNano provides a range of CatCarts that include the commonly used palladium on carbon and Raney nickel catalysts as well as more selective hydrogenation catalysts such as rhenium.

The company is currently developing a range of catalysts for chemo- stereo- and enantioselective hydrogenations as well as for carbon - carbon coupling reactions based on immobilised homogenous catalysts.

In addition, the company is willing to discuss making specific catalyst cartridges if customers need them.

The H-Cube does away with the need for hydrogen cylinders by generating the hydrogen in the instrument from a water electrolysis reaction.

This not only saves researchers time by removing the need to change cylinders, but also minimises the space needed to perform reactions with its small footprint and reduces costs by removing the need to rent hydrogen cylinders.

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