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April 1, 2014
A newly developed proprietary terpolymer from GE Water and Process Technologies (Trevose, Pa.; has been shown to provide improved scale control on heat-transfer surfaces in low- to intermediate- (up to 900 psig) pressure-steam boilers. Deposit formation on heat-transfer and steam-generating surfaces can result in reduced boiler efficiency and tube failures. Known as Solus AP, the GE...
April 1, 2014
Shinji Inagaki and colleagues at Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. (Nagakute City, Japan; have synthesized an entirely new immobilization support that can be used to recycle and reuse metalo-organic-complex catalysts, which are widely used for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Already in 1999, the research group had synthesized the world’s first mesoporous...
April 1, 2014
Production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) from waste carbon dioxide has been validated in a demonstration-scale reaction cell developed by Liquid Light Corp. (Monmouth Junction, N.J.; The company says the catalytic-electrochemistry-technology platform used to make MEG can also produce a range of other important industrial chemicals from CO2, including isopropanol, acetic acid, methyl...
April 1, 2014
Lithium is an element of growing importance for the production of batteries and nuclear fuels. Because Japan relies completely on imports of this material, with the majority coming from South America, the country is looking for alternative sources for this element. The answer may be in the island-nation’s own “backyard” — namely, seawater. A promising, “revolutionary”...
April 1, 2014
Last month, Alfa Laval AB (Lund, Sweden; introduced a new range of tantalum heat exchangers that offer the corrosion resistance of a solid-tantalum heat exchanger, but at a much lower investment cost. The heat exchangers are made of stainless steel that has undergone a surface treatment whereby a thin layer of tantalum is metallurgically bonded to all surfaces that are...
April 1, 2014
Separation of micron-sized oil droplets from water is difficult by conventional methods. A Chinese team has developed an oleophilic array of conical needle structures that can continuously collect micron-sized oil droplets from an oil-water mixture with high efficiency and high throughput. The team includes staff from the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dept. of Chemistry at...
April 1, 2014
Ammonia synthesis Last month, Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; introduced a new ammonia-synthesis catalyst. Tradenamed KM 111, the new catalyst is a magnetite-based catalyst developed for optimal performance in the lower beds of NH3 converters. The KM 111 catalyst possesses an activity that surpasses the market-leading activity of KM1, says the company. The increase in activity...
April 1, 2014
A new kind of highly flexible and non-flammable inorganic paper that can be used for the permanent and safe storage of information has been developed by a team led by professor Ying-Jie Zhu, from the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences ( The work has been described in a recent issue of Chemistry — A European Journal. The team developed the paper, which is made...
April 1, 2014
Construction will soon begin at a site in Korea on an anaerobic digester technology that converts organic waste and biomass to methane at high conversion rates, while also producing a fertilizer stream. Technology developer Bioconversions Solutions LLC (Exton, Pa.; announced that this first large-scale facility in Korea will be followed by a second in Australia in 2015...
March 1, 2014
After extensive pilot- and field-testing, U.S. Water Services (St. Michael, Minn.; plans to roll out new “green” corrosion inhibitor products, which have been tested not only for effectiveness against corrosion in cooling-water applications, but also for the inhibitors’ performance in the presence of oxidizing biocides, such as sodium hypochlorite. Oxidizing...
March 1, 2014
Construction is underway in France on a pilot plant for what is believed to be the first fermentation process capable of directly producing the light olefin isobutene. Global Bioenergies (Evry, France; expects to begin operations of a 500-L fermentation facility in the second half of 2014 and plans to follow that with a 5,000-L fermenter in Germany the following year. Isobutene...
March 1, 2014
  Renewable 5-HMF Last month, commercial-scale production of high-purity 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) started at the Biochem-1 facility operated by AVA Biochem (Muttenz, Switzerland; In the first phase, the facility will produce 20 metric tons (m.t.) per year of 5-HMF — a compound that has been identified as one of the top ten platform chemicals that can be used for...
March 1, 2014
A new chemical process is set to create bio-based p-xylene from cellulosic waste. Micromidas (West Sacramento, Calif.; opened a pilot plant in December 2013 that converts cellulosic waste materials, such as rice hulls, switchgrass, sawdust and cardboard to bio-based p-xylene. The Micromidas process is unusual in that it does not require the cellulose to be saccharified first, and both...
March 1, 2014
A new process-intensification technology to accelerate the rate of enzymatic reactions has been developed by researchers from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath (U.K.; The so-called spinning cloth disc reactor (SCDR) is based on, but extends the principles of, the conventional spinning disc reactor (SDR). The SCDR also uses centrifugal forces to allow the spread of a...
March 1, 2014
A novel battery chemistry that uses a water-based electrolyte has allowed developer Aquion Energy Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; to achieve a low-cost and safe battery with long cycle life for stationary energy-storage applications. The Aquion battery technology, now entering its commercial launch process, employs an aqueous sodium-sulfate electrolyte. The water-based electrolyte makes the...
March 1, 2014
Geo-Cleanse International, Inc. (Mata- wan, N.J.; has developed a new method for ridding soil and groundwater of chloromethanes, Freon and other difficult-to-treat contaminants without the need for digging and offsite soil treatment. The Geo-Cleanse process was inspired by research at Washington State University by Rick Watts, who found that hydrogen peroxide could react with MnO2 to...
March 1, 2014
GlyEco Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.; has developed a process for recovering and purifying ethylene glycol from a number of industrial byproduct and waste streams so that it meets an ASTM International (West Conshohocken, Pa.;; formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) specification for use in virgin-grade antifreeze. Processes for recycling ethylene glycol currently exist...
March 1, 2014
Researchers from Curtin University’s Fuels and Energy Technology Institute (Perth, Western Australia;, led by professors Gordon Parkinson and Chun-Zhu Li, have won the Mitsubishi Corp. Western Australia Innovator of the Year award for creating a new membrane that speeds up the transfer of oxygen. Currently, industrial oxygen production relies on a cryogenic process, which requires...
March 1, 2014
The chemical process industries (CPI) are, by their very nature, global in scope. While chemical process operators share many common aspects (in terms of the use of chemical engineering unit operations), the location of their operation brings about different requirements when it comes to managing gaseous and particulate pollutants, because different countries have different regulations with regard to air...
February 1, 2014
  Cellulose nanocrystals New research from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.; has shed some light on the physical properties of cellulose nanocrystals. The nanocrystals, which are about 3-nm wide and 500-nm long, have historically been difficult to analyze, but the Purdue researchers used quantum mechanical calculations to make some predictions about the crystals’...
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