In nearly all chemical production processes, purification is an essential step to obtaining the product with the desired quality. Increasing customer demand, stiff competition from emerging markets and constraints on energy consumption and emissions define the need for innovative purification techniques.
TNO offers several innovative processes based upon the TNO Hydraulic Wash Column for crystallization, and membranes for gas separations and low energy distillations using pervaporation.
Melt crystallisation is a valuable tool for the production of ultra-pure chemicals. TNO has developed the TNO Hydraulic Wash Column for crystallisation from the melt. This proprietary technology (TNO HWC) provides opportunities for producing ultra-pure products in a solvent-free process using relatively little energy. The combination of melt crystallisation and wash columns has been proven for various applications such as the purification of organic chemicals, inorganics, metals and the recovery of pure salts and water from process and waste-water streams. Another example of a smart purification process developed by TNO is the recovery of acids/bases from organic salts with electrodialysis, which can be performed in compact and flexible units.
TNO has an extensive track record in smart combinations of separation techniques with membrane technology providing breakthrough advantages. For instance, membrane distillation doubles the capacity of conventional distillation columns and is of particular interest for the oil processing industry. Membrane gas absorption is another process that is a very promising technology for gas cleaning. Proven applications are carbon dioxide recovery, ammonia recovery and desulphurisation. Olefin recovery is another very promising application. In addition, pertraction has been developed at TNO for the continuous purification of liquid product streams, and for the recovery of organics from waste streams. Finally, pervaporation, low pressure distillation through a membrane, is used for dehydration of water and for aroma recovery. A common feature of these processes is that they all reduce energy use, cost of operation and emissions. In all applications, TNO offers feasibility studies, process development and implementation of these innovative purification processes (under licence). Also, we demonstrate processes in pilot plants or on-site.