Process reactors have been the most vital parts of several petroleums, chemical and biochemical, and polymer processes. This is because they help transform raw materials into viable and usable chemicals. In addition, numerous useful products are generated through these reactions, turning reactants into products. Today’s society depends on the process of reactors’ safe, consistent, and economical operations. These reactors come in various types, majorly used in the oil and gas industry. Here are their roles and contribution to the oil and gas industry.
What Is A Reactor?
This equipment combines or converts raw materials into products safe for use through chemical reactions. Reactors are vital parts of any chemical industry and are the heart of the chemical process. Process reactors in the oil and gas industry play vital roles in ensuring safe and successful chemical reactions. Process reactors have different parts that all participate in the process to yield a maximum chemical reaction.
Reactors manufacturers have specifically designed this equipment to aid in the commercial production of applications. They can handle volumes ranging from 1000 to 1000000 litres. Therefore, they are sometimes known as industrial-scale reactors. You can classify process reactors as either batch, continuous, or fed-batch reactors, depending on how samples, products, and waste are processed. Continuous process reactors are much more constructive than batch reactors and can run continuously for extended periods. However, fed-batch reactors are more prevalent and have high productivity.
Types Of Process Reactors
There are three main types of process reactors and they all have different working mechanisms. However, their main aim is the same; to produce a safe consumable product. These types include the following:
Continuous Process Reactors
These are the most complex of them all. There is a continuous flow of new media and continuous removal of the reactor fluid. You must control the reactor’s feed flow rate to optimize the cellular growth rate. Continuous process reactor also comes in various types:
- Plug flow reactors
- Tubular flow reactors
- Continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR)
Fed-batch Process Reactors
These are the most common types of process reactors. Unlike the continuous process reactors, you must keep adding new media periodically or continuously to the bioreactor. However, the product and the waste are removed continuously.
Batch Process Reactors
These are the simplest of all process reactors. First, you must fill their reactor with medium, and then the reaction continues. When the reaction is over, you can remove the contents for downstream processing. You can then proceed to wash the reactor, re-fill and then re-inoculate so that the reaction process begins afresh all over again.
Roles Of Process Reactors
- Dissolved oxygen
Furthermore, these reactors can also help monitor the pressure range, temperature range, and vessel volume.
In addition to the processing capabilities, these reactors have specialized features that can help eliminate or maintain certain conditions. Left unattended, these conditions could otherwise tamper with the resulting product. For instance, some devices are coated, lined, equipped or jacketed with an inspection port. Also, some devices have the design for cleanroom environments.
The CSTR reactors have open systems with an impeller to provide agitation, which aids in properly mixing the reactor content. These reactions allow continuously adding raw material into the reactor and removing the final products. Therefore, they are mostly considered idealized tank reactors and model operation variables necessary for achieving a specified output.
When there are some unwanted side reactions or high heat of reactions, the process reactors help by limiting the introduction of reactants. Through this, you get the chance to eliminate any potential problems. The plug flow reactors function best in gasoline production, ammonia synthesis, oil and sulfur dioxide and trioxide oxidation.
Process reactors are vital in any chemical industry, depending on which type the industry decides to apply. These reactors can be aligned vertically or horizontally and will still perform the same reactions with maximum results. However, it’s vital to note that the process reactors do not achieve these results working alone. They have to work in harmony with two condensers, a decanter, a receding and thinning tank, a monomer mixer and a condenser.