US assisted PL reactor for the production of NL (CNANO, GR)

Cnano’s PL (PL4) produces stable colloidal dispersions of lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) in water with controlled particle size. PL4 utilizes ultrasonication (US) as an environmentally benign physical method to produce LNPs from raw lignin, therefore avoiding the use of any additional (and potentially hazardous) chemical pre‐ or post‐treatments. The US treatment significantly enhances the potential of lignin as a preferable nanosized functional filler, offering improved mechanical strength, as well as antibacterial and antioxidant properties when incorporated into bio-based polymer formulations and compounds. PL4 is designed to operate either in batch or in semi-flow mode to furnish LNPs with a controlled size depending on the U/S treatment parameters. Furthermore, the resulting aqueous dispersions can undergo lyophilization (freeze-drying) to yield solid-state LNPs in dry powder form, readily suitable for downstream integration.

pilot lines templates image
pilot lines templates image

Investments were made to scale up material throughput. This involved the installation of a higher-power US source and an external flow cell designed for semi-flow operation. PL4 exhibits increased volume capacity and treatment efficiency when operated in a semi-flow mode. However, maintaining continuous recirculation of the liquid dispersion necessitates constant monitoring of process parameters at various points within the closed-loop system. This is essential for fine-tuning the outcome of the process regarding process yield, particle size distribution and chemical functionalization of produced LNPs. To this end, monitoring systems such as temperature sensors and electrovalves were integrated at key positions and connected to CPI units. To streamline operations, a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) system has been implemented for the easier control of the PL, enabling remote access for monitoring and control purposes. Finally, a semi-industrial-scale freeze-dryer with an ice condenser performance of approximately 10kg/24h was purchased for drying the liquid dispersions to produce solid-state LNPs.