• Flow chemistry - a journey

    "I am thankful to be part of a step change in the way we make chemicals – process intensification. My research, continuous flow processing and flow chemistry, currently changes the pharmaceutical industry." Prof. Volker Hessel

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  • Hessel's research group

    We are growing very quickly with 14 members working on 06 projects. Our focuses are various from flow chemistry to life cycle assessment, food waste, pharmaceutical synthesis, and space research.

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  • Technologies and ideas for market opportunities

    The EU-funded project PICASCO has, for the first time, developed a continuous 3-step solvent-free flow manufacturing of a pharmaceutically relevant API compound at industrial scale. Besides common strategies like increasing tubing diameters and flow–rates.

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  • Academic supervision and promotion

    Training new researchers are our priority. For many years, Prof. Hessel has supervised and promoted new Ph.D. and postdoc researchers who have actively conducted researches in both academic and industrial sectors.

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  • End of Year Party

    Hessel's group has just gathered to celebrate the first end of year of the group in Adelaide. We are growing quickly with more projects and more students joining the group. This event will be organised yearly to acknowledge the hard works of each member in our group.

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  • Welcome Ms. Chenyue Zhang joins us as a visiting researcher from Technology University of Eindhoven

    We warmly welcome Ms. Chenyue Zhang who is a PhD candidate at Technology University of Eindhoven to join Hessel's group as a visiting researcher. Chenyue will come to Adelaide after presenting her poster, namely "Master solvent multiphasic microfluidics and solvent modelling in drug design synthesis through intensified process design", at Gordon Conference in Hong Kong. She will work on her expertise related to the master solvent during her visit to Adelaide from April to September 2019.

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  • Stability Study of Space Medicine

    "Evaluation of Long-Term Stability of Pharmaceutical Ingredients in an Excipient Matrix for Use in Potential Future On-Orbit Manufacturing (Pharmaceutical Excipient Ingredient Stability in Microgravity ) evaluates the effects of microgravity and radiation on the long-term stability of medicines in their excipient matrix, the non-active ingredients in medicines, made from materials abundant in the lunar surface such as silica, magnesium and calcium phosphate. This study could provide information helpful for developing the capability to formulate medicines in space with dual benefit to people on Earth and future explorers."

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Auto sampling for UHPLC-PAT Analysis of a Pharmaceutical Flow Chemistry Reaction

The purpose of this work is to conduct the continuous (online) sampling and analytics for the pharmaceutical manufacturing using flow chemistry in the framework of Process Analytical Technology (PAT) methods to control the quality of the API manufacture.

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Temperature-switchable ionic liquid-water system for catalyst recovery and product purification in enzymatic reactions

The pharmaceutical and food industry is now pushing manufacturers to switch to continuous processing until the year 2026. In this research, we will focus on using temperature switchable biphasic ionic liquids and water in a two-phase system to perform an enzymatic reaction.

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Food waste valorisation of Southern Australian crops and food chain by flow chemistry, considering real-world Australian supply chains

This project may contain several food-waste-2-value flow chemistry transformations. One of these is concerned with the conversion of a real-life major South Australian crop (waste) almond into a high-price chemical.

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Life cycle assessment applied for the production of Ibuprofen

This project will investigate the production of Ibuprofen focusing on the environmental impacts, economic feasibilities, and the social issues.

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A University of Adelaide researcher, alongside members of an international team, has won an AU$16 million ERC Synergy Grant to use plasma energy to produce fertilisers which provides the opportunity for new business models and could even lead to crops on Mars.

This is the first time an Australian university has been awarded an ERC Synergy Grant which is part of the European Union’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

“Only 5% of applications to the ERC Synergy Grant, the most distinguished grant in Europe, are successful which reflects the cutting-edge nature of the research. Only researchers with the highest track record and the perfect team formation, or synergy, are successful in receiving funding from this very competitive scheme,” says Professor Hessel.

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About Research Group

Hessel's group was established in 5/2018 following the relocation of Prof. Volker Hessel from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) to University of Adelaide (Australia). We are growing very quickly with 11 members (01 professor; 02 postdoc researchers; 1 Ph.D. student; 04 master students; and 03 BSc students). The research of Hessel's group is focusing on pharmaceutical engineering, including flow chemistry and microreactor.

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About Publications Group

The research of Volker Hessel is centered in flow chemistry and micro process technology. This includes both process chemistry exploration and reactor engineering, with the view to integrate that in intensified compact, modular and distributed conti-flow plants ('Future Factories', 'Chemistry on Wheels'). The latter is typically done with or developed by (industrial) partners. Central research topic within and beyond what has been mentioned above is process chemistry under harsh (p, T, c, …) conditions – opening new, highly intensified process regimes ('Novel Process Windows', NPW). Studies involve boost of activation, enabling of new reaction pathways, coupling these for reasons of synergy, and mechanistic understanding in unknown 'process territories'. An essential part is the pre-selection among an almost infinitive large choice of NPW process options. This is done through evaluation via (full-process) cost analysis and life-cycle assessment to monitor sustainability – not only after, but also before the realization of the process ('ex-ante'). End-to-end process designs are envisioned through process simplification and integration as well as entering entirely new core processes.

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Synthesis of luminescent carbon quantum dots by microplasma process

Mrs Xintong Ma, Professor Volker Hessel, Dr. LiangLiang Lin, Dr Stefan Meskers, Dr Fausto Gallucci

Cost analysis of oil cake-to-biodiesel production in packed bed micro-flow reactors with immobilized lipases

Sandra Budžaki, Smitha Sundaram, Marina Tišma, Volker Hessel

A leaf-inspired luminescent solar concentrator for energy-efficient continuous-flow photochemistry

Cambié, D., Zhao, F., Hessel, V., Debije, M.G. & Noël, T.

Is there a future for enzymatic biodiesel industrial production in microreactors?

Budzaki, S., Miljic, G., Tisma, M., Sundaram, S. & Hessel, V.

Micro-flow photosynthesis of new dienophiles for inverse-electron-demand Diels-Alder reactions : potential applications for pretargeted in vivo PET imaging

Billaud, E., Shahbazali, E., Ahamed, M., Cleeren, F., Noël, T., Koole, M., Verbruggen, A., Hessel, V. & Bormans, G.

Volker Hessel


University of Adelaide

Prof. dr. Volker Hessel studied chemistry at Mainz University (PhD in organic chemistry, 1993). In 1994 he entered the Institut für Mikrotechnik Mainz GmbH (1996: group leader microreaction technology). In 2002, Prof. Hessel was appointed Vice Director R&D at IMM and in 2007 as Director R&D. In 2005 and 2011, Prof. Hessel was appointed as part-time and full professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, respectively, for the chair of “Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology”. He is honorary professor at TU Darmstadt, Germany, and guest professor at Kunming University of Science and Technology, China. Currently, Prof. Volker is the Deputy Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences (ECMS), The University of Adelaide. Prof. Dr. Hessel is (co-)author of more than 380 peer-reviewed publications and 10 books. He received the AIChE Award “Excellence in Process Development Research” in 2007, the ERC Advanced Grant “Novel Process Windows” in 2010, and the IUPAC ThalesNano Prize in Flow Chemistry in 2017. In the same year, he got granted as coordinator the FET OPEN project ONE-FLOW. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Green Processing and Synthesis”. He was authority in the 35-man teamed Enquete Commission "Future of the Chemical Industry" of the parliament of Germany's state Nordrhein-Westfalia and is advisor for GSK for the Green Chemical Manufacturing Programme in Singapore.