High Gravity Technology – a Personal Perspective by S. L. Jimmy Yun
For the past 20 years, my involvement in Process Intensification has been a journey that was full of challenges but, at the same time, filled with stimulating and rewarding experiences. I have witnessed how industries achieved enhanced EHS practice (Environmental, Health and Safety), and improved economic returns by taking proactive efforts through various forms of Process Intensification. It is worthy to note that technology innovation is only one of the many ways to attain Process Intensification; sometimes just a spark of unconventional thinking in a process design or a plant layout can also yield amazing results. As a result, Process Intensification is a topic that can be actively participated in by a wide range of Practising Engineers specializing in research and development, engineering design, process implementation etc.
My effort in Process Intensification focuses on the industrial application of high gravity technology, a technique that was first proposed in the 70’s by Professor Colin Ramshaw. The substantially augmented mass transfer and molecular mixing phenomenon under a high gravity environment provides an excellent opportunity to intensify the effectiveness of Gas/Liquid and Liquid/Liquid contacting. Together with my close associate and collaborator, Professor Chen Jianfeng (a world leader in High Gravity Technology based at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology), we have overcome many technical obstacles and successfully applied High Gravity Technology to areas such as crystallization, nanotechnology, environmental, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, offshore oil/gas etc.
Figure 1: Conventional Column Reactor has been replaced by a compact size High Gravity Reactor for the production of Nano-sized Calcium Carbonate (Click on the image to enlarge)
Figure 2: Conventional Column Absorber has been replaced by a compact size High Gravity Absorber for the removal of SO2 from flue gas (Click on the image to enlarge)