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In-House Training

Heterogeneous Catalytic Hydrogenation

Tutors: Dr Felix Roessler

Heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation is of significant importance for the production of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, flavours and fragrances, agrochemicals and fine chemicals. Indeed, an average of approximately 10% of all chemical steps in the production of such chemicals are catalytic hydrogenations. However, due to the multidisciplinary nature of heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation, this technology is frequently improperly or inadequately used, which results in problems during scale up and negatively affects the economy of chemical processes and the quality of products.
Participants on this comprehensive course will be familiarized with all the important aspects of heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation.

Attendees will learn how to successfully design, develop and realize economic, safe, foolproof and ecological hydrogenation processes. The main focus will particularly be on a deeper understanding of the underlying disciplines such as catalysis on surfaces and transport processes.

Guidelines on how to approach specific hydrogenation problems and concepts and tools for the design, development and scale up of catalytic hydrogenation processes will be presented, rather than summing up transformations of functional groups by catalytic hydrogenation, as this information can nowadays easily be searched and found in literature and patents.

Course Outline

The course covers the following topics:

  • Surfaces and metal surfaces
  • Theory of catalysis on surfaces
  • Transport steps and chemical steps in heterogeneous catalysis
  • Kinetics (micro- and macrokinetics)
  • Influence of variables (overview)
  • Hydrogen sources (molecular hydrogen, hydrogen transfer agents, hydrogen solubilities)
  • Hydrogenation catalysts (catalyst types, catalyst preparation, catalyst properties, catalyst activation and deactivation)
  • Influence of solvents
  • Influence of acids, bases, additives, modifiers
  • Influence of substrates
  • Influence of reaction conditions (concentrations, temperature, agitation)
  • Chemical group transformations
  • Reaction engineering aspects: suspension and fixed bed reactors; batch, semibatch and continuous operation modes
  • Tools and guidelines for selection of chemical systems, determination of basic reaction data and successful scale up from laboratory to plant
  • Hydrogenation in laboratory and plant
  • Economical aspects
  • Safety aspects
  • Analysis of surfaces and catalysts
  • Rules of thumb, pitfalls

Benefits of Attending

Attendees will learn:

  • Which equipment to use (exploratory screening, kinetic investigations etc.)
  • How to select the appropriate catalytic system (catalyst, solvent, acids, bases, modifiers)
  • How to properly determine the influence of pressure, temperature, mixing
  • What are the relevant experiments and how to interpret experiment results correctly
  • How to measure transport effects and how to determine the effect of transport limitations
  • What are the causes of catalyst deactivation and how to prevent deactivation
  • How to measure catalyst activity, selectivity and catalyst deactivation, changes of catalyst properties
  • How to determine the basic data (micro- and macro kinetics, thermodynamics, pathways) needed for a successful and direct scale up from laboratory to plant scale
  • How to integrate aspects of chemical reaction engineering
  • How to scale up successfully; scale up – scale down approach
  • When to run processes with suspended catalysts and when to use fixed bed reactors
  • Batch, semi-batch and continuous mode of operation
  • On the importance of back- and forward integration
  • Hydrogenation in the laboratory and plant
  • How to estimate catalyst costs
  • How to handle catalysts safely and how to carry out catalytic processes safely
  • Many tips, rules of thumb, pitfalls

Who Should Attend

Organic Chemists – working in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical, flavours and fragrances, nutraceuticals and fine chemicals industries

Development and Production Chemists

Chemical Engineers


What's Included

The course fee includes:

  • comprehensive course manual
  • coffee/tea refreshments breaks throughout each day
  • buffet lunch each day
  • course dinner on the first evening
  • course certificate