Spatial, temporal and quantitative assessment of catalyst leaching in continuous flow

Elena M. Barreiro, Zhimian Hao, Luis A. Adrio, J. Ruud van Ommen, Klaus Hellgardt*, King Kuok Hii

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Catalyst leaching is a major impediment to the development of commercially-viable processes conducted in a liquid-phase. To date, there is no reliable technique that can accurately identify the extent and dynamics of the leaching process in a quantitative manner. In this work, a tandem flow-reactor system has been developed, which allowed us to distinguish between surface-catalyzed reactions from those occurring in solution by comparing%conversion at the exit of each reactor (S1, S2) corresponding to predominance of heterogeneous/homogeneous reactions (spatial) and two different residence times (temporal). A multiscale model is subsequently established to quantify the two types of reaction rate and simulate the catalyst leaching from a cross-coupling catalyst, PdEncat™ 30; including: (1) a multi-particle sizes model for catalyst scale; and (2) a dispersion model for reactor scale. The results show that catalyst leaching occurs via more than one process, and that the homogeneous Pd-catalyst (leached from the immobilized catalyst and dissolved in the flow) dominates the reaction and possesses a much higher activity than the heterogeneous (immobilized) Pd-catalyst. Additionally, the change of leached Pd stream inside reactors can be predicted along with the axial direction and the reaction time through the reactor-scale dispersion model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
JournalCatalysis Today
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Catalyst leaching
  • Flow reactors
  • Heck reaction
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Homogenous catalysis
  • Palladium


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