University of Pretoria Logo
English |  Afrikaans |    

21st Century Clouds above Synthesis of Batch Chemical Processes

The chemical industry is broadly categorised into batch and continuous chemical processes. Batch chemical processes are usually encountered in the sector of the chemical industry that capitalises in low volume high value added products. The pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and some food facilities fall in this category. On the other hand continuous operations are ideal for the bulk manufacturing sector, e.g. refineries. Over the years, the global ratio of continuous to
batch sector has remained at about 1:3. South Africa is no exception to this.

However, the last 10 years have seen dramatic changes in the industrial landscape, with batch processes gaining more share of the chemical industry. Europe, in particular, has been in the forefront in this regard, with some countries running on virtually 100% batch chemical operations. The change is inspired by volatilities in global markets to which continuous

operations are fundamentally not amenable. Batch operations, on the contrary, are best suited for such situations. South Africa has also seen a steady increase in batch chemical processing for similar reasons. However, due to idiosyncrasies only particular to batch chemical processes, these still remain largely misunderstood with serious impact on economy and sustainability. As a matter of fact, South Africa is one of the few countries in the world where a typical Chemical Engineering curriculum is very lean on batch processes. Consequently, a South African chemical engineer is not adequately trained to design or synthesise such operations. The presentation will delve into challenges that face the research community working on synthesis of batch chemical processes.



Prof Thokozani Majozi