Nanofiltration-enabled in situ solvent and reagent recycle for sustainable continuous-flow synthesis

Tamas Fodi, Christos Didaskalou, Jozsef Kupai, Gyorgy T. Balogh, Peter Huszthy, Gyorgy Szekely

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The solvent usage in the pharmaceutical sector accounts for as much as 90% of the overall mass during manufacturing processes. Consequently, solvent consumption poses significant costs and environmental burden. Continuous processing, in particular continuous-flow reactors have a great potential in the sustainable production of pharmaceuticals but subsequent downstream processing remains challenging. Separation processes for the concentration and purification of chemicals can account for as much as 80% of the total manufacturing costs. In this work, a nanofiltration unit was coupled to a continuous-flow rector for in situ solvent and reagent recycle. The nanofiltration unit is straightforward to implement and control in a continuous operation. The hybrid process was continuously operated over 6 weeks recycling about 90% of the solvent and the reagent. Consequently, the E-factor and the carbon footprint were reduced by 91% and 19%, respectively. Moreover, the nanofiltration unit concentrated the product 11 times and simultaneously increased the purity from 52.4% to 91.5%. The boundaries for process conditions were investigated to facilitate implementation of the methodology by the pharmaceutical sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3435-3444
    Early online date23 Jul 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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