Technology (UPN: 196)

Organisation Type Company
Organisation Region European Union
Overview Supercritical fluids are involved in a wide variety of applications which have shown a significant progress in recent years. Many industrial sectors are concerned including cosmetics, pharmaceutics, materials, chemistry or energy. Other areas are in rapid development such as the cleaning of mechanical parts or the surface preparation of microelectronics. It should be noted that water (Tc = 374 °C, Pc = 221 bars), which critical point is higher than that of CO2 (Tc = 31 °C, Pc = 74 bars), is nevertheless very much studied as a reaction medium, finding applications in the synthesis of nanoparticles and the recovery and treatment of waste.

Supercritical fluids have industrial applications in a wide range of areas including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and materials. Supercritical fluids based processes include extraction, impregnation, formulation, sterilization, cleaning, energy and waste treatment among others.

In recent years, the growing interest in environmental issues has allowed the emergence of innovative solutions firmly engaged in sustainable development. Chemical process respecting the twelve principles of "Green Chemistry" have known a considerable growth in the last twenty years.
Supercritical fluids (SCFs) are a remarkable example of such processes, nowadays illustrated by a significant number of contributions in our daily lives. Beyond a certain pressure and temperature so called "critical" a given fluid is said to be in the "supercritical" region. Such fluid exhibits an intermediate behaviour between that of a liquid and a gas. Supercritical fluids have particular properties such as a density comparable to that of liquids, an intermediate diffusivity coefficient to that of liquids and gases and a gas like viscosity.
Carbon dioxide is the most widely used supercritical fluid because it has notable advantages: it is non-toxic, non-polluting, non-flammable and widely available to high-purities and moderate costs. Moreover, its critical parameters are moderate (Tc = 31 ° C, Pc = 73.8 bar) which makes it a "green" solvent with totally innovative industrial applications.

Possible Applications:

Extraction of flavourings from natural products, Elimination of pesticides from agricultural products, Extraction of added value molecules from natural products, Particles design, Dry cleaning (clothes), Dyeing of textiles, Organic waste treatment...

Competitive Advantage


Development Stage:

Commercially available

In user / Testing result available

Proof-of-concept or Laboratory prototype

Research or Experimental

Working prototype or Sample ready for testing

Intellectual Property:

Innovator A non-profit organization that works as a cluster gathering research and industries. It aims at promoting supercritical fluids and boosting industrial applications in order to facilitate the transfer from lab scale to industrial scale.