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Whitefox Chemicals

Whitefox membrane modules can be used for applications such as recycling solvents that are diluted (eg by water) in the course of their use and which need to be purified to be re-used in the production process.

Whitefox currently serves customers in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and solvent recycling industries for such applications.

Other applications include purification or recycling of Iso-Propanol, Butanol, higher Alcohols, Acetone, MEK, MIBK, Acetates, MTBE, ETBE, and many other applications such as Acetalisation and Esterification reactions.

The Challenge

Many chemical reactions in industry are reversible in nature. Often, products with high purity can only be obtained by removing undesired by-products as they form during the reaction. In cases where water is the undesired by-product, in-situ dehydration is required in order to improve product yield.

The Whitefox Solution

Whitefox vapour permeation technology can remove water in-situ from a reacting mixture. This raises the yield of the desired product to nearly 100% while simultaneously increasing the rate of reaction.

Our customers benefit from the following key features:

  • Direct integration with reactors
  • Azeotrope agnostic and chemically inert membrane-based design
  • Tolerance to feed water concentrations of up to 50wt%
  • Production of an ultra-dry retentate – achieving near full conversion
  • Wide range of applications (including alcohols, ketones, ethers, esters)
  • Improved overall financial return

The Benefits

A pharmaceutical company in Europe approached Whitefox to understand the benefits of installing a membrane dehydration unit directly after their reactor in place of a standard distillation column. Our calculations showed that the Whitefox process would remove water more efficiently than distillation from the reacting mixture, leading to faster conversion rates and to increased production capacity. The impact of Whitefox technology on the process is demonstrated in the table below.

ParameterReactor and Distillation ColumnReactor and Whitefox solution
Conversion Time24 hours10 hours
Production Capacity600 tonne/yr1,440 tonne/yr
Annual Revenue Increase-3,000,000 US$/yr
By completely dehydrating the reactor contents, reaction rates were improved and conversion times were reduced by more than half. This led to a doubling of plant capacity and a potential revenue increase of US$ 3 million per year.