Aims and duties of the Working Party Extraction

ProcessNet Subject Division "Extraction"

Chair: Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Bart, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

Vice Chair: Dipl.-Ing. Werner Bäcker, Bayer Technology Services GmbH, Leverkusen

I. Aims

The working committee extraction (founded 1976) converted 1992 to the first common DVCV-committee of DECHEMA and GVC and is nowadays a ProcessNet Subject Division. The primary goal is to bring together chemists and engineers in the field of extraction. A superior task is a scientific analysis of extraction topics and further improvement of this unit operation. However, included are other subjects, like coalescence and break-up of droplets and droplet swarms.

In that respect all aspects related to solvent extraction and phase separation are research issues, including hydrodynamics, mass transfer, modeling, scale-up and apparatus design. In that respect is already a strong initiative to model the behavior of coalescence phenomena and extraction columns on the basis of single droplet experiments and to use non-invasive methods (spectroscopy, flow visualization) for basic research and validations.

II. Link to other Working Parties and Subject Divisions

The Subject Division "Extraction" usually meets once a year. Reviews or oral presentations of current work from PhD students (20 min) are there presented and discussed. In common events together with other working parties plenary or keynote lectures are invited . Also reports from the triennial 'International Solvent Extraction Conference - ISEC' are given. Here the 'Carl Hanson' medal, a common award of DECHEMA, Frankfurt, and SCI, London, dignifies outstanding personalities in the extraction field.

Triennially the Subject Division meeting is  in conjunction with the Subject Division "Fluid Separations", inbetween it is with other working parties or will be hosted by industry or universities. The ProcessNet portal "Extraction" ( gives information on the next meeting, data bases, test systems, conferences etc.

III. Topics

The focus in the extractive application shifted from physical to reactive systems. As an example, 20 % of the primary copper recovery is established via reactive extraction. A new area is tailor-made chiral selectors in its application in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry. Here also deriving the raw material source from a bio-feedstock has attracted attention. For instance, the world-wide basis for medicinal plant raw material according FAO is 1 billion US $ per anno with a rate of growth of 6 to 8 %.

However, topics including correlation and prediction of phase equilibria, investigations in regard to mass transfer, droplet formation and coalescence, influence of surfactants etc. are of interest. Alternative process concepts, like hollow fibre or micro contractors, liquid membranes, alternative solvents (liquid CO2, ionic liquids etc.) up to solvent impregnated resins are topics in respect to basic research or process intensification.

IV. R&D priorities

  • Solvent selection
    (Affinity solvents, reactive carriers, ionic liquids, supercritical gases, surfactant systems…)
  • Phase equilibria and interfacial phenomena
    (Thermodynamics of complex mixtures, reactive and ionic systems, mass transfer and kinetics, interfacial adsorption and instabilities…)
  • Process engineering
    (Separation sequence, process simulation, permeation, extraction, high pressure extraction, reactive extraction, hybrid systems, on-line analytics…)
  • Bench scale topics
    (Miniplant technique, scale-up from single droplet, coalescence…)
  • Apparatus selection and design
    (Columns, percolator, demister, decanter, population balance modeling, CFD…)

The topics above need the co-operation of chemists and engineers with other disciplines (interfacial physics, biotechnology, pharmacy etc.) to further develop the scientific basis in the extraction field.

H.-J. Bart, July 2009

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