Oil & Natural Gas Special Interest Group
A community for process professionals

Supercritical fluid as a solvent - Malaysia

Date From: 14 April 2015
Location: Malaysia
Description: Evening meeting in Kuala Lumpur, with presentation by Dr Ragunath Bharath (Innovative Fluid Process), organised by IChemE's Oil and Natural Gas Special Interest Groups.
Event Type: Special Interest Groups
Venue: University of Nottingham Teaching Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Book Event

An evening event with technical presentation by Dr Ragunath Bharath (Innovative Fluid Process), and time for networking over refreshments. Registration from 18:00; the event will commence at 18:30 and close at 20:30.

This event is open to all. To encourage more participants and members, attendance at the event is free of charge and open to all. Bring along your colleagues working in the upstream oil and gas industry in Malaysia, and introduce them to the Oil & Natural Gas Special Interest Group (SONG) and to IChemE.

Advance booking is essential. Register now >>


Any compound at a temperature and pressure above its critical point where distinct liquid and gas phases do not exist is considered to be in Supercritical state. A supercritical fluid can effuse through solids like a gas, and dissolve materials like a liquid. Near the critical point, small changes in pressure or temperature result in large changes in density, allowing many properties of a supercritical fluid to be controlled. Supercritical fluids are suitable as a substitute for organic solvent in a range of processes. Carbon dioxide and water are the most commonly used supercritical fluids, being used for decaffeination and petroleum upgrading (ROSE process for bitumen removal).

In addition, there is no surface tension in a supercritical fluid, as there is no liquid/gas phase boundary. By changing the pressure and temperature of the fluid, the properties can be controlled to be more liquid or more gas like. One of the key properties is the solubility of material in supercritical fluid. Solubility in a supercritical fluid tends to increase with density of the fluid (at constant temperature). Since density increases with pressure, solubility tends to increase with pressure. At constant density, solubility will increase with temperature. However, close to the critical point, the density can drop sharply with a slight increase in temperature. However, the selectivity of the compound needs to be studies based on optimum temperature and pressure.

The advantages of supercritical fluid extraction (compared with liquid extraction) are that it is relatively rapid because of the low viscosities and high diffusivities associated with supercritical fluids. The extraction can be selective to some extent by controlling the density of the medium and the extracted material is easily recovered by simply depressurizing, allowing the supercritical fluid to return to gas phase and evaporate leaving little or no solvent residues. The gas is then compressed and cooled too recycled. Carbon dioxide is the most common supercritical solvent. It is used on a large scale for the decaffeination of green coffee beans, the extraction of hops for beer production, and the production of essential oils, pharmaceutical products from plants and petroleum upgrading (ROSE process for bitumen removal).


Dr. Ragunath Bharath was awarded the Japanese Government Scholarship in 1983, to pursue Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) in Tohoku University, Sendai Japan. Upon completion he continued to complete his Master and Doctorate in the same university. His research topic was Supercritical Fluids and Equation of State modeling. Upon completing his Doctorate, he started his career as a Process Engineer with Chiyoda Corp in Yokohama mainly doing EPC related process engineering work and commissioning and a notable project was the PSR II Petronas Melaka Refinery Project as Process d Commissioning Engineer. He returned to Malaysia in year 2000 and joined OGP Technical Services, a PETRONAS group company as Principal for Process Engineering. He then started Innovative Fluid Process Sdn Bhd a multi discipline downstream plant engineering company in year 2002 and is presently its Managing Director.


The event will take place at the
University of Nottingham Teaching Centre,
Level 2, Chulan Tower,
No 3 Jalan Conlay,
Kuala Lumpur 50450, Malaysia.

Map and directions >>


IChemE gratefully acknowledges:

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham's sponsorship of SONG events through provision of its venue facilities free of charge. 

MMI logo

MMI Engineering, for sponsoring the refreshments at this event.


This event is free of charge and open to all. Advance booking is essential.

Register now >>

Get involved

Would you like to give a talk at a SONG event in Kuala Lumpur, or online to a wider audience of chemical engineers in the Asia Pacific region? We'd like to hear from you. Please contact Robert Bruce or specialinterestgroups@icheme.org with details about yourself and your proposed presentation.


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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).