What is OPXFLO and what applications are there?
Emeritus Professor Owen E Potter, AM, the Foundation Chair of Monash University’s Chemical Engineering Department, has designed and patented an innovative contacting process for use in mass and heat transfer and catalytic reactions – the Potter Cross-Flow.
Almost every industry makes use of heat and mass transfer and catalytic reactions. OPXFLO improves on a range of existing technologies because of its enhanced energy efficiency and lower capital requirements from its more compact design. In short, the technology relies on small particles (liquid or solid) being injected into a gas stream (either vertical or horizontal) at the same speed as the gas stream. Within certain parameters this allows for a very efficient interaction of the particles with the gas for either mass or heat transfer or catalytic reactions.
The OPXFLO design distributes particles, either solid or liquid, over a length of a horizontal unit, or a height of a vertical unit, in such a way as to ensure a high porosity, such as one per cent of the mixture is solid or liquid particles.
A key advantage of this design is that every particle in the processing region interacts with the gas. As well the surface area is very large and in comparison to other methods, a fluidised bed for example, the pressure drop is minimal in horizontal systems, and lowered in a vertical unit.
There is a very wide range of potential applications for this technology which may provide significant advantages over current technologies, including in relation to all catalytic reactors, heat exchangers, air conditioning units, fluidised bed processing of mineral particles and carbon adsorption/absorption, to name a few.
The technology therefore has potential benefits across nearly all industrial sectors via enhanced energy recovery from hot gas or hot solids, eg:
o From exhausted gases in blast furnaces
o from exhaust gases in power station boilers/turbines
· More efficient carbon capture
o absorption of carbon dioxide from a gas stream
o Adsorption of carbon dioxide from a gas stream
· More efficient water to gas interactions
o cooling towers in power stations, chemical plants, etc
o commercial air conditioning units
o domestic air conditioning units
· Improved general absorption and distillation
o fluidised bed mineral particle processing, eg. haematite for steel production
o industrial odour control
o gas or vapour liquid contacting in chemical plants
o in petroleum refineries
· Improved drying of materials that are not highly porous
o drying minerals, such as sand or alumina
o chemical manufacturing
o Improved heating of solids consumption in
- gasification of coal
- biomass industries.
OPXFLO technology allows for a very efficient interaction of the particles with the gas for either mass or heat transfer or catalytic reactions.
Projected OPXFLO global application growth
2019 - 2025
YEAR by YEAR GROWTH
Given the wide range of sectors that can expect to generate both cost and energy savings by utilising this new technology, we expect solid growth after initial Proof of Concept established and early applications gain market traction.