Continuous Hydrothermal/Solvothermal Synthesis (CHS/CSS)
Solvothermal Synthesis (CHS/CSS)
In simple terms, we combine two streams of raw materials at two different temperatures. These come together in our patented counter-current reactor and lead to the formation of solid nanoparticles. This allows us to manufacture the nanoparticles directly as a dispersion in water or other liquid.
Our process is different from traditional ones that result in a dry powder. Those powders frequently have to be further milled or redispersed, possibly causing agglomeration issues and increasing the average particle size — negating the benefits of the nanoparticles. Dry powders also can have added safety and handling issues, such as inhalation risks.
With continuous flow, we can tailor nanoparticle production to the customer’s needs. The nanoparticles are manufactured in a solvent that can be immediately incorporated into the customer’s materials — like a key sliding into a lock. Our technology allows us to make multi-material nanoparticle mixtures that deliver multiple functional improvements — all in one layer of coating. Plus, without batch-to-batch variations, we deliver a consistent product that is easy to use.
Our successful CHS/CSS process proves that the continuous production of nanoparticles leads to better quality, as well as scale, cost effectiveness and safety.
Promethean has the world’s largest continuous multi-material nanoparticle manufacturing plant — with production capacity in the thousands of tonnes per year (dry weight equivalent).
Bench and Pilot-Scale
Our bench and pilot-scale facilities enable the design and development of nanomaterials, allowing us to produce samples and evaluation materials in the kilograms to tonnes scale.
Benefits of Our Process and Products
Our continuous-flow process offers many advantages over batch production
- Continuous flow allows easy scale-up to produce large-scale industrial quantities of nanomaterials. (Equivalent batch processes are limited to just the volume of the reaction vessel.)
- Our faster reaction kinetics increase production speed. The turbulent mixing in our flow systems increases the rate of reaction — so the same high-quality particles can be made in minutes here (compared to hours, even days, in similar batch processes).
- The relatively small reaction volume that is in our system at any one time provides more stability. The temperature and pressure of the system is readily monitored and controlled, and in-line quality control assesses the product during manufacture.
- Customers find that a just-in-time manufacturing approach is possible with this technology, minimising the cost of product storage and inventory.
- With continuous manufacture and collection, there is no batch-to-batch variation. Customers can expect a reliably high-quality product, with the same specification, for every production campaign.
Our process yields nanomaterials as liquid dispersions, offering benefits over traditional dry powders
- Liquid dispersions benefit worker health and safety by mitigating the inhalation risks associated with handling fine powders.
- Our liquid dispersions make processing easier for our customers. Dispersing our nanoparticles into a coating, resin or other matrix can be quicker and more cost effective than working with a powder format.
- Liquid dispersions significantly reduce the risk of particle agglomeration. Monodisperse particles are retained for incorporation into downstream processes to realise the benefits of using nanoscale materials, such as lower processing temperatures, transparency and performance.
- No additional equipment is needed by the customer to safely handle dispersions, while dry powders usually require additional extraction equipment at both R&D and production levels.
We are committed to sustainability and a circular economy
- As a chemical manufacturer, we strive for the production of safe materials, where every product produced is safely manufactured and sustainable for the planet and its people.
- Many of our customers are heavily involved in applications that advance the circular economy. This means moving past the traditional, depletive linear economy — that takes, makes, uses and disposes — to one that designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in use longer, and then regenerates as much as possible. We support these efforts.
- Example: Our metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are being designed into gas and carbon capture applications.
- Example: Various metal oxides are being developed to help improve the performance of batteries, helping drive down dependence on fossil fuels.
- Example: Functional additives are being developed to improve the performance of coatings. This can help increase the life and efficiency of wind turbines and planes or improve the durability and longevity of automotive interiors, leading to the increased viability of Mobility as a Service (MaaS).