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creating the future of production www.f3factory.eu ISSUE 1 08/2010 A new paradigm in sustainable production technology

creating the future of production


ISSUE 1 08/2010

A new paradigm in sustainable production technology for the EU chemical industry

Launched in June 2009, F 3 Factory is a major 530 million public/private initiative that is seeking to enhance the EU chemical industry’s competitive position through the development of faster, more flexible and efficient manufacturing methods.

The F 3 Factory consortium - of 25 industrial/academic partners from 9 EU States - is crossing competitive boundaries to create a new paradigm in sustainable production methodology.

As a key, large scale demonstrator project, F 3 Factory is seeking to combine the flexibility of batch manufacturing with the efficiency of large scale continuous manufacturing to establish the ‘factory of the future’ for the European chemical industry.

Key objectives of the project involve the definition and delivery of:

standardised, modular, continuous production technology to which intensified process equipment can be connected

whole process design methodology (through the application of novel process intensification concepts and decision tools)

large scale demonstration capability to test the F 3 Factory concept across a wide range of existing chemical products.

creating the future of production www.f3factory.eu ISSUE 1 08/2010 A new paradigm in sustainable production technology

Consortium partners from 25 EU organisations at the launch meeting in June 2009

Industrial application areas targeted within the project include solvent-free specialty polymers, innovative surfactants, compounds for the healthcare industry and materials from renewable resources.

Project activity is on track and the partners are confident of delivering radically new production techniques that will help to generate new business and drive estimated savings of around 54 billion for the EU chemical industry.

Spirit of engagement and creativity key to success

Sigurd Buchholz, Bayer Technology Services (Project Co-ordinator).

F 3 Factory has been running for just over a year now and much progress has been made across the various work packages.

creating the future of production www.f3factory.eu ISSUE 1 08/2010 A new paradigm in sustainable production technology

Tobias Grömping (left) and Sigurd Buchholz (right) of BTS view a modular microreactor test rig

Key developments include:

lab-scale equipment for industrial demonstrations - now in place

construction on the backbone facility infrastructure has commenced

a common agreement has been established for the infrastructure design and process intensification methodology

engagement with wider interest groups to ensure standardisation and applicability across a broad stakeholder group

A strong common F 3 Factory spirit was established from the outset of the project with a high level of engagement amongst project partners, positive

exchanges across national borders, companies and institutions and a strong commitment to good communication. Meetings and workshops have taken place across Europe to enable this inter-disciplinary teamwork. These face-to-face interactions have been complemented by web-based and teleconference meetings.

An electronic ‘sharepoint’ facility accessible to all project partners, was quickly established to allow rapid exchange of information, discussion of ideas and creation of new approaches to individual sub-project activity. In addition, a public website was launched to enable wider communication of the project’s aims and objectives and

encourage engagement with a broader range of stakeholders.

The F 3 Factory vision of a highly efficient, modular manufacturing platform - with broad applicability across the EU chemical and pharmaceutical industries - requires a simultaneous and highly interdisciplinary approach where processes, products, methodology and infrastructure are developed in parallel. Tasks, ideas, achievements and drawbacks are readily communicated with consortium partners, leading to a process of constant innovation, revision and application.

Output from the F 3 Factory will clearly be of great interest to a range of stakeholders beyond

the project partners. Seven industrial case studies delivered through the project will be a basis for developments beyond the initial project scope and it is envisaged that the technology requirements, modular process and equipment design will lead to a standardisation accepted among the EU chemical manufacturing community. Data exchange with other EU projects and initiatives is also a key focus of the project.

As project co-ordinator, BTS is confident that the structure and spirit of the F 3 Factory project is set-up perfectly to achieve its key aim of providing a new and highly efficient manufacturing platform for Europe.

ISSUE 1 08/2010

Seven industrial demonstration projects to showcase the F 3 Factory concept

The F 3 Factory represents a substantial, large-scale demonstrator project for the European chemical industry. A key focus of the project is the effective demonstration of the new modular technology across seven industrial demonstration case studies.

These industrial projects cover annual production capacities ranging from kilograms to 1000's of tonnes across three key industry sectors:

Pharmaceutical intermediates - AstraZeneca, Bayer Technology Services

Specialty polymers - BASF, Rhodia

Large scale intermediates - Arkema, Evonik, Procter & Gamble

The industrial case studies are linked by cross-project activities covering business case development, process development, plant operation, reaction and downstream equipment design, lab scale validation and demonstration. Together the work will contribute to a handbook of F 3 Factory standards for process and plant design that will be widely available to the European chemistry-using industries.

In this newsletter we feature three of the industrial case studies. Further information on all industrial case studies will be available on the F 3 Factory website over the coming months as the individual projects progress.

BTS’ proposed PEC layout for the HIVISCOP continuous solvent-free polymerisation process
BTS’ proposed PEC layout for the HIVISCOP
continuous solvent-free polymerisation process

HIVISCOP - Solvent-free specialty polymer manufacture

Achim Stammer, BASF

The F 3 Factory concept will enable BASF to transfer a multi-product batch polymerisation of a high temperature thermoplastic in an organic solvent to a continuous solvent free process with multiple product lines. The polymers manufactured have a range of domestic, medical and engineering applications.

Working with Bayer Technology Services and a number of academic partners, BASF is seeking to demonstrate a new manufacturing process within the F 3 Factory project. This involves a modular continuous plant using a high torque kneader reactor capable of processing high viscosity fluids. The new technology will also enable the polymerisation reaction to be carried out without the use of solvents resulting in associated cost and environmental benefits. Multiple product lines – based on the F 3 Factory modular plant concept - will enable a range of tailored products to be manufactured in a more efficient manner.

A conceptual layout for the HIVISCOP Process Equipment Container (PEC) has already been produced by Bayer Technology Services. Also, BASF has developed an on-line measurement technique applicable to high-torque kneaders. This technology has been shared with project partners Buss-SMS-Canzler and the University of Paderborn, who will use it during equipment validation and process trials. In parallel, a team at the Technical University of Eindhoven has developed a new one dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of the kneader reactor which will be validated using results obtained from the trial work conducted at the University of Paderborn.

Use of novel technologies for highly exothermic reactions

Horst Zanthoff, Evonik Industries

Evonik Industries – a global leader in specialty chemicals – and its project partners, are investigating the use of novel technologies for highly exothermic reactions.

Two technologies are being investigated for demonstration in the F 3 Factory which could help Evonik become more flexible in production capacities, use of different feed qualities and faster scale-up procedures.

Depending on the respective reactions investigated, preliminary work suggests that it should be possible to achieve an increase in space-time-yield of +50%; a reduction in reactor manufacturing costs of 50% and energy use by up to 20%; enhanced safety in plant operation as well as CO 2 and other savings.

Highly exothermic reactions traditionally suffer from limited heat and mass transfer capabilities. Current reactor technologies for exothermic reactions are therefore complex and unique for each product and mainly economic only in world scale capacities, i.e. > 100,000 tonnes per annum.

Within the F 3 Factory project to date, experimental work on structured catalyst packings has

been carried out.

The experimental work demonstrated that the structured catalyst packings intensified mass and heat transfer, enhancing selectivity and space time yield as well as simplifying reactor construction.

Components for a jet loop reactor with an innovative integrated cold membrane separation unit have also been procured.

Jet-loop reactors have narrow gas bubble distribution with a smaller size compared to conventional bubble columns.

In combination with the integrated cold membrane separation technology they offer an intelligent approach to significantly reduce manufacturing cost and energy input.

Bringing the new mindset embodied within the F 3 Factory project to reality requires more than typical partnerships.

The F 3 Factory consortium - with its outstanding combination of experts from academia and industry - is a

guarantee to success.

ISSUE 1 08/2010

Sustainable manufacturing of anionic surfactants for consumer goods

Alberto Simoncelli, Procter & Gamble

As well as being one of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is also one of the largest global manufacturers of surfactants used in detergents.

Together with its industrial and academic partners in the project, P&G is seeking to demonstrate that an F 3 Factory concept for intensified, modular, production of surfactants can shift the balance from centralized, large scale surfactant manufacturing plants towards distributed, smaller plants, following a supply chain approach described as: “produce what’s needed, when needed, where needed”.

The F 3 Factory demonstration plant will focus on two primary chemistries for surfactant manufacture – SO 2 oxidation and sulf(on)ation. Current surfactant manufacturing technology is not well suited to installation in small plants closer to the final detergent manufacturing facility because the equipment is designed to minimize capital and operating costs by leveraging economies of scale.

Within the F 3 Factory Project, P&G is looking to develop manufacturing technologies using a holistic approach that optimizes the entire value chain, including CAPEX, OPEX, logistics and R&D costs.

This requires unit operations that are considerably smaller, more flexible, possibly modular, and simpler to operate than current large scale technologies, but without excessive compromises on CAPEX and OPEX.

Work to date has focused on the tasks of combined process and reactor design. A team at the

Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals (ICPF) has carried out an extensive structured literature survey on SO 2 oxidation which has populated some gaps in understanding. ICPF and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have also carried out process modelling and simulation work and Britest is developing a methodological approach to process development.


F 3 Factory distributed manufacturing could further enhance P&G’s sustainability goals

2012 Sustainability Goal - Operations

2012 Sustainability Goal - Operations


GOAL Deliver an additional 20% reduction (per unit production) in CO 2 emissions, energy consumption, water consumption and disposed waste from P&G plants, leading to a total reduction over the decade of at least 50%.




(percent reduction per unit production)

July 2007

July 2002

Energy Usage



CO 2 Emissions



Waste Disposal



Water Usage




Highlights of other industrial case study projects

Arkema is evaluating reactor designs for a process to manufacture acrylic acid from bio-diesel derived glycerol.

AstraZeneca has demonstrated a novel isolation technology at the laboratory scale on a pharmaceutical intermediate.

Bayer Technology Services

has demonstrated that two chemical stages in their pharmaceutical intermediates demonstrator can be operated in continuous process intensification (PI) equipment with equivalent or better performance than the traditional batch process.

Rhodia is evaluating novel intensified reaction equipment for polymer production based on polyacrylic acids at both the lab scale (with project partners at ENSIC-INPL and TU Dortmund) and at pilot plant scale.

Further information on all the industrial case study projects will be included in future newsletters and on the F 3 Factory website as the projects develop.

F 3 Factory to focus on new methodological approaches

Mark Talford, Britest

Consortium partners from across the F 3 Factory project are collaborating to develop new methodological approaches to support the uptake of the F 3 Factory concept by the wider EU chemistry-using industries.

The Technical University of Dortmund is leading the development of a novel software tool – ProMoT - that will support the business case development for the adoption of F 3 Factory concepts based on economic and environmental benefits. Initial background data supplied by the industrial partners, has provided base cases for comparison with F 3 Factory concepts.

The development of new software has begun, with investment cost estimating, new models for mass and energy-balances being evaluated using published case studies.

Within the project, Britest is leading the development of new integrated process and plant design methodologies. Process development methodologies currently used by the industrial

partners have been collated to identify key gaps and improvement opportunities. Process Design Center is developing a whole process design methodology using the Arkema demonstration process as a case study.

In parallel, a number of academic partners are studying the application of novel process

technologies, including membrane separation and reactive distillation.

This process and plant design methodology activity is running successfully in parallel with the industrial case study projects and backbone infrastructure development – creating a highly energetic and interdisciplinary approach to the project.

INVITE facility to speed up innovation

A key aim of the F 3 Factory project is to demonstrate the processes developed in the standardised infrastructure within a common, large scale demonstration facility capable of testing the new production concepts across a range of existing chemical products.

The backbone facility for the F 3 Factory will be provided by INVITE - a 50/50 joint venture company established in 2010 between TU Dortmund and Bayer Technology Services.

The INVITE backbone facility will provide the infrastructure for demonstrating the new F 3 Factory production concept across the seven industrial case studies. INVITE will also take the F 3 Factory vision beyond the EU project duration by providing an open research center for developing and demonstrating future manufacturing technologies.

Ground floor of the INVITE large scale demonstration facility at the CHEMPARK site in Leverkusen
Ground floor of the INVITE
large scale demonstration facility
at the CHEMPARK site in Leverkusen

Construction work on the facility has already begun. The infrastructure and building will be erected in 2010/11 and the facility is scheduled to be operational by mid 2011.

The INVITE backbone infrastructure - which will be embedded in the infrastructure of Bayer Technology Services at the Chempark site in Leverkusen - will allow three different process equipment containers (PECs) to be developed, tested and operated. Additional facilities include laboratory space, offices and a lecture room.

INVITE will carry out publicly funded projects and contract research as well as its own research. The facility will be open to the public and supported by events and lectures. TU Dortmund will also use INVITE to run new courses as part of their education programme for engineers.

This combination of a joint research/demonstration facility for industry and academia - with access to a full industrial infrastructure - will help shorten innovation periods significantly.

Engagement with stakeholders

A key focus of the F 3 Factory project is to facilitate engagement with a broad range of industry and academic stakeholders across Europe to gain input and commitment to the development of new standards and identify future opportunities for implementing the F 3 Factory concept.

By engaging with the F 3 Factory project, participants can gain preferential access to some of the generic knowledge generated in the individual work packages. Interest Group participants will

also provide a platform for the wider European chemical and pharmaceutical processing community to input into aspects of the project, share learning and experiences related to

the application of Process Intensification approaches and help identify/validate the training required to enable potential users to fully benefit from the F 3 Factory approaches.

If you wish to participate in the joint Industry/Academia Interest Group please contact:

Industry: Dr Mark Talford email: mark.talford@britest.co.uk Academia: Dorota Pawlucka email: dorota.pawlucka@bci.tu-dortmund.de

Consortium representatives pictured with Herbert von Bose, Director - Industrial Technologies, DG-Research at the European Commission.

INVITE facility to speed up innovation A key aim of the F Factory project is to

Attendees at the joint Industry/Academia Interest Group meeting in Frankfurt, May 2010

INVITE facility to speed up innovation A key aim of the F Factory project is to

Framework Seven projects showcase at CHISA

Framework Seven projects showcase at CHISA Initial results from the F Factory will be presented publicly

Initial results from the F 3 Factory will be presented publicly for the first time at the joint CHISA 2010 and ECCE 7 Congresses in Prague at the end of August 2010.

Representatives from the F 3 Factory consortium were invited to organise a symposium session to showcase some of the key EU Framework Seven projects relevant to the sector.

The F 3 Factory project will feature alongside PILLS and COPIRIDE - which are focused on development of intensified processing methodology for various chemical manufacturing routes.

Five papers from each project will be presented at the symposium on 1st September. The session will provide attendees with an overview of the projects’ research objectives and results to date.

For more information visit


Newsletter produced by Britest Ltd on behalf of the F 3 Factory Consortium.

For further information visit:


Project Coordinator

Dr. Sigurd Buchholz Bayer Technology Services GmbH Building E41 D-51368 Leverkusen, Germany

Phone: +49 214 30 67253 Fax: +49 214 30 50262 E-mail: sigurd.buchholz@bayertechnology.com