Australia’s first flow chemistry facility opens in Melbourne

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CSIRO has officially opened Australia’s first flow chemistry facility in Melbourne that will provide more opportunities for small businesses to enter and innovate industries like hydrogen energy, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

Located in the heart of the Australian Manufacturing and Materials Precinct in Clayton, Victoria, the FloWorks Centre for Industrial Flow Chemistry conducts cutting edge research into flow chemistry capability, making it more accessible to the chemical manufacturing industry.

Flow chemistry is a cleaner and more efficient form of chemical manufacturing that offers reduced reaction times and plant space, which equate to less energy cost, more efficient processes, reduced waste and a much safer environment.

Dr Christian Hornung, a senior research scientist with CSIRO and Director of the new centre, said the smaller set-up used in flow chemistry reduces barriers to entry for SMEs in what would otherwise be ‘capital-intensive industries’.

“The Centre provides a collaborative space at the cutting-edge of modern chemistry, where we can work with Australian businesses to improve their processes, cut costs and reduce waste,” he said.

“Our world-class researchers at FloWorks can work with partners to update their current chemical processes, including from laboratory discovery to continuous flow production scale; from inefficient batch procedures to continuous processes; and offer in-house training for industrial collaborators on our state-of-the-art flow chemistry equipment.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, said the FloWorks Centre would allow researchers to use their capabilities to support emerging renewable hydrogen technology development.

“One of our greatest challenges is to move to a decarbonised economy, and hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in this transition,” Dr Finkel said.

“Maximising the efficiency in both production and use of hydrogen is crucially important. Improvements depend largely on the efficiency of the catalysis. Flow chemistry could be used to improve efficiency, and FloWorks has developed its own catalysis processes in pursuit of this goal.”

CSIRO said FloWorks is open to businesses of all sizes interested in working with its world-class experts to create value using flow chemistry.

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Image credit: https://www.csiro.au