Hazardous Reagents on Demand - Photochemistry

In-Situ Bromine Generation for Photochemical Applications in Continuous Manufacturing

Continuous manufacturing enables options to generate and use hazardous or unstable reagents in a safe manner on manufacturing scale. In this study we present how in-situ generated bromine can be used for a photochemical application. This combines the process intensification of a photochemical reaction with the in-situ generation of the hazardous reagent bromine. The past decade has seen photochemistry become a powerful tool in chemical synthesis. The development of efficient pseudo-monochromatic light sources paves an innovative and efficient way to secure energy supply. Continuous flow technology has been demonstrated to be a solution to this problem since narrow reaction channels can ensure homogeneous irradiation alongside improved heat transfer and mass transfer (batch-to-conti). Benzyl bromides represent common photo-chemically accessible building blocks in the pharmaceutical and other industries, signifying that their scalable synthesis is of importance to multiple fields. The use of N-bromosuccinimide (NBS) instead is convenient, especially on lab scale since the associated risks are significantly lower and the crystalline solid is easier to handle. The trade-off when using NBS, however, is poorer reactivity, atom economy and solubility. 

In a current study that was conducted by the CCFlow and Microinnova teams we can demonstrate a highly intensified process for photochemical benzylic bromination using the chemical generator approach for in-situ bromine formation. A commonly used oxidant is H₂O₂, but there are safety concerns associated with the storage and use of peroxides. Accordingly, we employed NaBrO₃, a crystalline solid with a high decomposition temperature of 310 °C, as a safer alternative. By using concentrated hydrobromic acid (one source for both bromide ions and protons), a concentrated sodium bromate solution and no organic solvent (substrate pumped neat), the bromine generator was considerably intensified. Modular plants enable a flexible use of the bromine generator in batch and in continuous applications. 

Research & Process Development

Improving enzymatic oxidations by using flow chemistry technology.

Flow Chemistry Plants

See how we helped various clients to manufacture using flow technology.

Debottlenecking of Chem. Processes

Optimizing production by replacing batch processes with continuous steps.