Miniaturization of Heterogeneous Catalytic Reactors: Prospects for New Developments in Catalysis and Process Engineering


  • Jaap C. Schouten
  • Evgeny V. Rebrov
  • Mart H.J.M. de Croon



Catalytic coating, Integrated microreactor/heat-exchanger, Micro fuel processing, Micro reaction systems, Process intensification


This paper gives an overview of the research done since 1999 at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in the field of miniaturization of heterogeneous catalytic reactors. It is described that different incentives exist for the development of these microstructured reaction systems. These include the need for efficient research instruments in catalyst development and screening, the need for small-scale reactor devices for hydrogen production for low-power electricity generation with fuel cells, and the recent quest for intensified processing equipment and novel process architectures (as in the fine chemicals sector). It is demonstrated that also in microreaction engineering, catalytic engineering and reactor design go hand-in-hand. This is illustrated by the design of an integrated microreactor and heat-exchanger for optimum performance of a highly exothermic catalytic reaction, viz. ammonia oxidation. It is argued that future developments in catalytic microreaction technology will depend on the availability of very active catalysts (and catalyst coating techniques) for which microreactors may become the natural housing.




How to Cite

J. C. Schouten, E. V. Rebrov, M. H. de Croon, Chimia 2002, 56, 627, DOI: 10.2533/000942902777680054.