Chromatographic separation techniques
are mainly used in the pharmaceutical industry for the purification
of substances used in the preparation of drugs. The aim of this
project was the development of a high-performance industrial-scale
simulated moving bed (SMB) chromatography technique for preparative
separation of optical isomers, including the development of, appropriate
simulation software, and demonstration units.
The project objectives were fully met,
resulting in a pilot system and a small industrial-scale prototype
with an internal diameter 20cm. At the time of the project, the
industrial-scale SMB plant was the largest in the world. The goal
now, say partners, is to produce a machine with an internal diameter
up to 1m. The CSPs developed by the partners are superior to those
developed by the current market leader, a Japanese firm. The system
also features reduced emission of dangerous organic solvents.
The potential applications for the new
system can be seen in a widerange of areas, say partners, including
the food, perfume and, pesticide industries. The results were already
being exploited commercially before the end of the project.