Membrane reactors make a decisive move towards industrialization

Politecnico di Milano partners project Horizon 2020 MACBETH

The objective of project MACBETH - Membranes And Catalysts Beyond Economic and Technological Hurdles - is to prove the efficacy of membrane reactors’ innovative technology on an industrial scale (TRL 7).

Catalytic Membrane Reactors, commonly known as CMR, are capable of synthesizing and separating chemical products in a single unit, thus reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. 

Membrane reactors will be applied to three different cases that interest the chemical/energy industry, precisely hydrogen production from biogas and natural gas, propane dehydrogenation and hydroformylation.

CMR technology has already been applied to these processes in an important environment (level TRL 5) within European projects BIONICO, CARENA and ROMEO, but now it makes a decisive move towards industrialization with a system prototype in an operating environment (level TRL 7) and large scale tests lasting more than 4,000 hours for each case.

Project MACBETH will extend the application of CMR technology to the biochemical industry for the first time to prove its potential in the process of selective enzymatic cleavage of fatty acids, which was previously studied by European project COSMOS.

MACBETH technology aims at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of large scale industrial processes by up to 35%, and at increasing energy efficiency by up to 70%. Furthermore, the production plants will be considerably smaller and safer, with a huge competitive edge because investment costs (CAPEX) and function costs (OPEX) will be reduced by 50% and 80%, respectively.

The MACBETH Consortium is made up of 24 partners coordinated by the German group Evonik. Politecnico di Milano coordinates and develops modelling activities of innovative membrane reactors and of the systems in which they are installed, with special focus on energy and biochemistry applications.

Finally, the spin-off Lighthouse Catalytic Membrane Reactors, with leading partners Politecnico di Milano and TU/e (University of Eindhoven), will be created within the Project to develop a commercial Platform, which designs membrane reactors and evaluates their potential in several industrial sectors.

Macbeth has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement No 869896

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