The spinning cloth disc reactor for immobilized enzymes: A new process intensification technology for enzymatic reactions

Xudong Feng, Darrell A Patterson, Murat Balaban, Guillaume Fauconnier, Emma A C Emanuelsson

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The Spinning Cloth Disc Reactor (SCDR) is an innovative enzyme reaction intensification technology. Based on spinning disc technology, the SCDR uses centrifugal forces to allow an even spread of a thin film across a spinning horizontal disc which holds a cloth with immobilized enzyme. This geometry promotes accelerated reactions due to high mass transfer rates and rapid mixing. Here, the SCDR has been benchmarked against a conventional Batch Stirred Tank Reactor (BSTR) using tributyrin emulsion hydrolysis as a model reaction and lipase immobilized on woolen cloth as the biocatalyst. Reaction intensification has been shown to occur: the conversion in the SCDR was significantly higher than that in a conventional BSTR under comparable conditions. Spinning speed and flow rate control reaction rate and conversion: conversion increased nearly 7% on average as the flow rate rose from 2 to 5 mL s-1 and the highest conversion (72.1%) occurred at 400 rpm. A Ping Pong Bi Bi kinetic model fitted reaction progress data well. The immobilized lipase showed excellent stability to repeat reactions in the SCDR: 80% of the original activity was retained after 15 consecutive runs. The robustness of the SCDR to industrially relevant feeds was also demonstrated through successful hydrolysis of different vegetable oils at reaction rates 5 times higher than other reactors in the literature. Overall, the above results indicate that the SCDR is an innovative, superior and robust technology for enhancing enzyme reactions, taking enzyme reactors beyond the current state-of-the-art. This concept can readily be extended to other enzyme-catalyzed reactions, where enhanced mass transfer and enzyme stability is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-417
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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