Nanofiltration-Enabled In Situ Solvent and Reagent Recycle for Sustainable Continuous-Flow Synthesis

Tamas Fodi, Christos Didaskalou, Jozsef Kupai, Gyorgy T. Balogh, Peter Huszthy, Gyorgy Szekely*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Solvent usage in the pharmaceutical sector accounts for as much as 90 % of the overall mass during manufacturing processes. Consequently, solvent consumption poses significant costs and environmental burdens. Continuous processing, in particular continuous-flow reactors, have great potential for the sustainable production of pharmaceuticals but subsequent downstream processing remains challenging. Separation processes for concentrating and purifying chemicals can account for as much as 80 % of the total manufacturing costs. In this work, a nanofiltration unit was coupled to a continuous-flow rector for in situ solvent and reagent recycling. The nanofiltration unit is straightforward to implement and simple to control during continuous operation. The hybrid process operated continuously over six weeks, recycling about 90 % of the solvent and reagent. Consequently, the E-factor and the carbon footprint were reduced by 91 % and 19 %, respectively. Moreover, the nanofiltration unit led to a solution of the product eleven times more concentrated than the reaction mixture and increased the purity from 52.4 % to 91.5 %. The boundaries for process conditions were investigated to facilitate implementation of the methodology by the pharmaceutical sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3435-3444
Number of pages10
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 11 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • Michael Addition
  • catalytic membrane reactors
  • continuous processes
  • flow reactors
  • membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)


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