DEINOVE (Euronext Growth Paris: ALDEI), a biotech company that discovers, develops, and produces high-value compounds from rare bacteria, notably from the Deinococcus genus, announces the launch of the industrial production of its first carotenoid. The company's fermentation platform has developed an optimized process in terms of performance and robustness on a 20-liter scale. At the same time, the collaboration with Processium lead to the definition of the downstream process of extraction, purification, and formulation, and the drafting of the "Process Book" detailing its implementation.
Our customer wishes to characterize thermophysical properties (heat capacity, vapour pressure, viscosity, density, thermal conductivity, etc.) of new heat transfer fluids used in a wide range of temperatures.
Our teams of experts conducted tests on the fluids with in mind the temperature dependence of each property in order to optimise the number of experimental points to reduce the cost for the client.
A complete mapping of physical properties to provide technical datasheet of each thermal fluid.
Our customer wishes to know the kinetic of deactivation of its catalyst under industrial conditions in order to adapt the sizing of corresponding process accordingly. In addition to this, the definition of the frequency of replacement of the catalyst was also an issue to secure productivity.
Test should be performed continuously over hundreds of hours on a reactive mixture under conditions which precisely represent the operating conditions (temperatures over 250°C and pressures of 6 bar).
The test needed to implement a dedicated bench to test the catalyst in continuous mode.
- Design and development of a continuous reaction bench equipped with a tubular reactor working in conditions close to those of the process (6 bar and 250°C).
- Regular sampling from the reactor for 30 days.
- Analysis of the samples to obtain a follow-up of the kinetic of deactivation.
- Definition of a reliable kinetic model integrating a term of deactivation.
Sizing of the process is adapted according to this new model. The frequency of replacement of catalyst is also defined on the basis of the model.
This model allows to secure the annual production of several thousand tons of products.
In November 2016, DEINOVE launched the shift from laboratory to industrial scale, accompanied by the company Processium* . The first phase of this program consisted of:
Selecting and characterizing a first carotenoid that will be market-ready, validating both its biological properties and its economic potential;
Optimizing the production strain and increasing the yields in the laboratory, with a view to obtaining a strain suitable for industrial production;
Evaluating the various extraction processes in order to define the best one in industrial production conditions.
This phase I has been conducted successfully.
A first molecule has been selected for its innovative feature, with the goal of obtaining a competitive advantage on the market. DEINOVE has demonstrated its total safety, but also its antioxidant and healing properties, which position this first molecule as particularly favorable for cosmetic applications.
The carotenoid-producing strain was optimized and tested in fermenters of up to 20 liters. The yields obtained were significantly higher than the target yields, ensuring the economic viability of the production process.
The work carried out with the company Processium led to the evaluation of various extraction and purification techniques available on the market. It is now necessary to validate the performance of these techniques in order to prepare the transition to the industrial scale. The first laboratory-scale tests yielded an extract with a purity level suited for an actual commercialization.
The quality of the results obtained makes it possible to start phase II of this program, which aims to validate all the technical conditions and to select the subcontractors best suited for production at an industrial scale. This phase II should continue until the end of 2017 and lead to the production of the first batches of this carotenoid.
The Client produces ester in a batch process (reaction + distillation column). Processium services were requested to enhance unit productivity by decreasing the duration of each batch. Improvement of co-product quality is also requested and part of the Project.
The first task issued by Processium was a statistical study on process data issued from SNCC to identify the reasons for dysfunction among all parameters (quality of reactants, temperature, stoechiometry, …). This study highlighted several parameters responsible of malfunctions of the unit. Thanks to the management of these identified parameters during production, productivity increased of 5%.
Following this first study, Processium conducted a new study based on kinetics and thermodynamics measurements, development of corresponding models and process optimization using ASPEN simulation.
Unit had been debottlenecked (10%) without investment, purity of the co-product improved (97% to 99%). In addition, Processium also proposed technical investments to reach additional 20% potential debottlenecking.
The Client uses distillation to purify an added value product. One of the impurity is an odorous molecule that causes two limitations:
- the product can not be supplied for specific application because of the smell given to the product by the odorous impurity,
- in order to limit the quantity of odorous impurity in the product, the yield of purification has to remain low.
The Client asks to Processium to identify a technical solution to retain the odorous impurity in the bottom of the distillation column.
To be able to propose technical solutions, Processium developed the following methodology:
- identification of a technical solution (bibliography, internal know-how),
- screening of existing activated carbons using in-house database including exhaustive data on possible suppliers,
- development of a design of experiments to minimize experimental work (amount of carbon, number of batches, temperature),
- experimental trials conducted on several activated carbons under different conditions according to the developed design of experiments,
- sizing of industrial unit operation.
Processium issued a recommendation report describing the selected technology and corresponding operating conditions. In addition to the removal of odorous impurity for the product, distillation yield was improved (25% increase of productivity).
The Client has developed a new process to treat a waste stream:
- possible unit operations are chosen,
- theoretical mass and thermal balances are available, theoretical sizing is also available,
- CAPEX and OPEX estimate is issued.
The Client asks to Processium to challenge the developed process in order to secure its operability, its productivity and to minimize uncertainities during its industrialisation
For each unit operation, Processium studies:
- the relevance of the technology,
- its performances (expected yield and purity),
- Its limitations.
The process, as a whole, is studied to fully understand the product specifications, the yield, and all process limitations.
Processium issued a recommendation report containing explanation on:
- an "alert" on impurity accumulation on a recycling loop,
- a risk of reaction on activated carbon,
- an uncertainty on thermodynamics (impact on distillation feasibility),
- an optimization to reduce energy consumption.
Processium development comes along with the construction of new premises which will locate in the same place its team of experts and enhance its technical means with, in particular, a new technological and demonstration hall which will allow Processium to validate experimentally the processes, to produce samples and to accommodate the pilots of its customers.
The Client is a specialist of natural ingredients extracted from biomass and dedicated to cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets.
The solvent (ethanol) used for the extraction is regenerated by the Client on its own industrial plant.
Processium was in charge to develop a process for the regeneration of ethanol, and to determine the best operating conditions:
- to insure the robustness of the process to manage the variability of impurities,
- to respect the conformity of the solvent to standarts (impurity < ppm).
Furthermore, the Client wishes to avoid any investment, or at least to limit the amount.
After a process synthesis phase, it had been decided to develop an adsorption process (carbon black) followed by a distillation (the equipment already exists on Client plant). Processium proposed a methodology devided into three phases:
- Phase 1: Processium made measurements to determine the performances of several carbon black.
- Phase 2: Processium determined the optimal operating conditions (temperature, quantity of reactive, volume of coal). A design of experiments is built to minimise the number of laboratory scale experiments.
- Phase 3: Processium validated experimentally adsorption and distillation processes to validate that the specifications on the regenerated solvent are respected.
A technical process package of the industrial scale unit was proposed and built on the existing plants.
The Client develops specialised raw materials for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries such as lipidic excipients. A neutral basis is produced from oil and from additives thanks to a transesterification reaction. This neutral basis is conditioned in the form of capsules. However, one of the residual additives reacts with the envelope of the capsule and damages its mechanical properties.
Thus the Client wishes to reduce the content of this residual additive from 30 % to 5 %. Processium was in charge of the process technical feasibility study to eliminate the additive.
The methodology developed by Processium was based on:
- Process synthesis to propose processes able to purify the neutral basis.
- Identification of solvents able to extract the additive.
- Sizing of the best process.
- Laboratory and pilot scale validation of process sizing.
- Production of samples.
A process flowsheet of the industrial scale unit was proposed, as well as hypothesis to reduce the energy costs.