logo ERMES

(Energy Release Monitoring System)

Mitec Srl - Via San Lorenzo, 10 - 24129 Bergamo (BG)

Monitoring system for the prevention of runaway reactions in non-continuous multipurpose processes.

ERMES (Energy Release Monitoring System) is an electronic device specifically developed for the prevention of runaway phenomena in multipurpose processes of the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
When the loss of control of a potentially runaway reaction occurs, the related pressure increase in the closed vessel where the reaction is performed leads to the accumulation of a significant potential energy, which is then released in a very short time period in the event of a reactor collapse: such a phenomenon normally causes severe failures to the plant and to the environment, and in the worst cases even losses of human lives.
Starting from a general elaboration of the energy balance of the reactor, the integrated software of ERMES allows for effectively preventing dangerous accumulation phenomena of the dosed coreactant, as well as early decays of the reactor heat transfer efficiency, leading to peak temperatures above a threshold value for the process.
On the basis of a number of easy to measure energy parameters, ERMES performs an on-going monitoring of each reaction batch through a continuous comparison between the actual and the expected energy behavior of the system.
The trends of such energy parameters can be easily generated from temperature and flowrate signals already available on every reactor (that is, the reactor temperature, the feed stream flowrate and temperature and the coolant flowrate and temperature increase through the jacket or coil), and are useful to detect with a preventive approach every displacement of the reactor operation from safe operating conditions. In this way, the process safety can be preserved adopting emergency actions at the beginning of the anomalous regime and hence on a still safe system.
Therefore, ERMES proactively detects the root cause of the incidental scenario, rather than raising a late alarm when the reaction is already running away.
As a key feature, ERMES does not require any kinetic characterization of the system, which is often difficult to achieve when dealing with fragmented multipurpose processes of the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industry: this makes ERMES an innovative, simple and reliable device for the on-going monitoring of multipurpose reaction processes which are likely to undergo runaway phenomena.
As a final remark, ERMES allows for significantly reducing the frequency of occurrence of incidental scenarios related to the thermal loss of control of a runaway reaction performed in a non-continuous reactor and for monitoring, even under the normal reactor operation, the expected energy behavior of the system. This is even particularly useful for preventing production losses and consequent wastes of time and money for reworking anomalous batches.

MITec Srl has recently filed a PCT patent application about the ERMES method and device.

Industrial examples:

  • Acrylic polymers production;
  • Phenolic resins production;
  • Aromatic nitrations with mixed acids;
  • etc.
Flyer / Brochure ERMES - English