Shape optimization as a tool to design biocatalytic microreactors

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Reactor design is commonly constrained to already well-known reactor shapes. This article presents an innovative application of shape optimization techniques to design biocatalytic microreactors.
Currently, the optimization of reactor performance is often done by considering solely the process conditions. However, common reactor types used in (bio)chemical processes do not always give the optimal conditions for executing the reaction, and it is therefore necessary to look into new approaches to further improve the performance of reactors. The new application of shape optimization described in this paper has as its main goal the design of a reactor by compensating for the limitations of the reaction system by modifying the reactor configuration. Random search was the optimization method chosen for transforming the initial reactor configuration to a more optimal one.
The case study presented here investigates the impact of a change to the microreactor shape on the active mixing of two parallel streams (one containing an enzyme, amino transaminase, and the other the substrates, acetophenone and isopropylamine) and consequently its influence on the reaction yield. Compared to the original reactor configuration, the shape optimization resulted in changes of the microreactor wall surfaces leading to an 8.4 fold improvement of the reactor yield. This innovative optimization also offers the opportunity to obtain new structures which can later be tested experimentally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Pages (from-to)215–223
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Shape optimization
  • Reactor design
  • Enzymatic reaction
  • Microreactor

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