Flowid

Safe, flexible and efficient chemical reactions, in terms of consuming both resources and energy, in a continuous process. That is the aim of the TU/e spin-off Flowid. Wouter Stam is one of the three founders of Flowid. “We focus on continuous reactors that ensure a process is controllable, flexible and safe.” The ambitions of the spin-off speak for themselves. “We want to turn the technological industry on its head.” Because, as the guys suggested at the end of 2007, the application of microreactor technology is getting bogged down at laboratory scale. “While there are so many possibilities at the scale of industrial production. We see a growth market.”

Prof. Jaap Schouten (TU/e) was a source of inspiration for the threesome. He has already done a lot of pioneering work in this field. “We have made a start largely with our own funding along with an STW Valorization Grant. One of our first projects was to translate a batch project to a continuous process. Immediately an example of a process that could be much safer. In the batch project a lot of heat was released, which put safety at risk. In a continuous reactor we were able to remove that heat. We have since demonstrated that this process can be scaled up.”

Reputation

To turn the chemical world upside down, you need a reputation. “We’re working on this,” says Stam. “We see plenty of opportunities but the market also has to see these possibilities. We can only convince people by demonstrating the benefits of our applications. I see opportunities for the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries.” Several practical examples exist and there is also a laboratory and a pilot hall where the industry can find out about and experiment with this technology of tomorrow. “The reactions are enthusiastic, but it’s not the same as a loaf of bread you buy from the baker, it’s about a shift in thinking.”

The assignments are now coming in, at both lab and pilot scale. “The benefits are simply enormous. You can control the process better, work more efficiently, save money and you are doing it in a safer and more environmentally-friendly way. In addition, our product is ‘sexy’, it looks slick and is really productive!”