Traditional manufacturing processes primarily based on batch and semi-batch operating modes carry economic, environmental and production drawbacks. Over a period, new developments in the field of synthesis of chemicals have taken place for sustainable production. Flow chemistry is anticipated to be the potential solution to address environmental and productivity challenges. In flow chemistry, a chemical reaction is carried out by constant pumping of a stream with dissolved reaction mixture through a reactor. Flow chemistry offers various benefits to manufacturers. These include improved reaction time, better temperature control, multi-step production and safety & environmental profiles.
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Based on product segments, the market for flow chemistry has been classified into microreactor systems, continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR), plug flow reactor (PFR) and microwave reactor, among others. Continuous stirred tank reactor accounted for over 40% of the global flow chemistry market in 2013. The market for flow chemistry is primarily driven by increasing need to lower operating costs and adoption of sustainable technologies by manufacturers. Flow chemistry offers various advantages vis-à-vis batch reactors, including superior heat and mass transfer. These advantages lead to controlled reactions, higher purified products, low raw material consumption and significant savings in installation costs. Microreactor systems is expected to be the fastest growing product segment in the flow chemistry market during the forecast period. Microreactor systems offer higher purified products and reaction yields compared to other flow chemistry equipment. However, issues related to scaling-up of the technology for commercialization and need to meet government regulations in the pharmaceutical industry are likely to hamper market growth during the forecast period.
The chemical segment has been dominating the demand for flow chemistry over the past few years. In terms of revenue, the segment accounted for over 35% of the global flow chemistry market in 2013. Rising demand for flow chemistry in complex chemical reactions coupled with the need to adopt green manufacturing technologies is projected to drive demand for flow chemistry in this segment. Pharmaceutical is anticipated to be the second-largest end-user of flow chemistry during the forecast period. Increasing demand for flow chemistry by manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) is estimated to boost the flow chemistry market. Flow chemistry is also expected to enhance the E-factor in the manufacture of APIs. Pharmaceutical is likely to be the most lucrative end-user segment in the flow chemistry market. Academic & industrial research is also projected to be one of the major outlets for flow chemistry in the next few years. Flow chemistry has the ability to enhance the purity and refining properties of products in the petrochemical industry. Other major end-users for flow chemistry include polymers, dyes and nanostructured materials.
North America was the largest regional market for flow chemistry, accounting for over 35% of the global demand in 2013. Rising demand for flow chemistry in pharmaceutical and chemical industries is driving the flow chemistry market in the region. Asia Pacific was the second-largest market for flow chemistry in 2013. Increase in chemical, pharmaceutical and industrial research activities is projected to boost the demand for flow chemistry in the region. Demand for flow chemistry in Europe is rising, due to higher number of academic & industrial research activities coupled with increase in manufacture of nanostructured materials. Rest of the World is expected to be the fastest growing region in the flow chemistry market during the forecast period. Countries such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are anticipated to offer better opportunities for the flow chemistry market, due to high demand for flow chemistry in chemical and petrochemical industries.
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Companies such as Syrris Ltd., ThalesNano Inc., Uniqsis Ltd., Vapourtec Ltd., FutureChemistry Holding BV, Chemtrix B.V., AM Technology, Royal DSM and Lonza Group are the major manufacturers in the flow chemistry market. Most manufacturers offer continuous stirred tank reactors, plug flow reactors and microreactor systems, among others.