Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
The central role of the infrastructure programme (IP) at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of the University of Maribor (FKKT UM) is to provide a high-quality research environment, as FKKT UM has state-of-the-art research equipment with supercritical fluids and state-of-the-art analytical equipment. Supercritical fluids are currently one of the top research areas in process engineering.
Conventional production concepts involving organic solvents will be replaced by using “green” solvents. Applying supercritical fluids (SCFs) as solvents and processing media for various applications results in lower environmental, health and safety risks.
Sustainable development and circular processes should reduce the consumption of materials and energy. Reduction of CO2 emissions is essential to address societal challenges and accelerate the development of low carbon technology. Currently, conventional methods for isolation and further processing and formulation of compounds exhibiting anti-microbial, anti-tumour, antioxidant and antimutagenic potential from natural materials include organic solvents, usually at high temperatures requiring a long processing time. These process parameters adversely affect the stability of bioactive components. Therefore, processes involving sub- and supercritical fluids should be used as an alternative to conventional processing.
The research equipment included in the infrastructure programme will serve as support for the research carried out at FKKT UM, especially in the following two main research areas:
- Processing of biomaterials using supercritical fluids,
- Nanostructured materials for medical, pharmaceutical and food applications,
and in the area where support activities for the above research will be carried out, such as:
- Thermodynamic and transport data
- Pre-clinical tests, and
- Molecular modelling
Within the proposed IP at FKKT UM, we focus on top engineering of products and technologies with the help of high pressures at the intersection of biotechnology, materials science, medicine, chemistry and chemical engineering. The central role of the IP at FKKT UM is to provide a high-quality research environment, as FKKT UM has state-of-the-art technological equipment in the field of supercritical fluid research and analytical support equipment. The most important is the preparative supercritical chromatograph on a pilot scale, which enables the isolation, purification and production of large quantities of high value-added products, the value of which can exceed € 10,000 / kg. Together with another primary (also pilot) research equipment, the IP at FKKT UM will provide a high-quality research environment supporting the implementation of various research programmes and projects at FKKT UM and other users. Part of the equipment within the IP enables the transfer of technologies from the laboratory scale to the pilot or semi-industrial scale. This will allow researchers in their own RO, in other RO and JRO, as well as users from the industry, to check the feasibility of technologies, processes and production on the intermediate scale before the final transfer to the industrial environment.