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February 1, 2013
Nitrogen fixation The research groups of Yoshiaki Nishibayashi at the University of Tokyo (Japan; and Kazunari Yoshizawa at Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan; have demonstrated the production of silylamine [N(SiMe3)3] from nitrogen gas using an iron-based catalyst. The reaction takes place at room temperature and pressure...
February 1, 2013
The surface engineering company MesoCoat, Inc. (Euclid, Ohio; recently started up a facility for manufacturing clad pipe for the oil-and-gas industry that uses the company’s proprietary fusion-cladding technology to apply corrosion-resistant alloys to carbon-steel pipes. Because the cladding can be applied to large areas at very high speeds, the technology can be used to coat much...
February 1, 2013
An electrochemical process that could cut the energy and cost requirements for stripping carbon dioxide from stack gases by half is being developed at Arizona State University (ASU, Tempe; At present the only commercially viable technology is CO2 absorption by monoethanolamine (MEA), says Dan Buttry, chair of ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. However, he notes that a...
February 1, 2013
One of the current methods for dealing with oil spills is through the use of dispersants. These dispersants, however, break oil into small globules that sink into the water, spreading the oil into a wider area, and they have toxic effects on the local marine ecosystem. Now, researchers, led by professor Moses O. Tade at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at Curtin University (Perth, Western Australia...
February 1, 2013
Kinki University ( and Naniwa Roki Co. (both Osaka, Japan; have developed a continuous process for producing a next-generation solid fuel, called Bio-cokes. The process is being used at a new production facility located at Kinki University Research Institute of Bio-cokes (Eniwa City, Hokkaido), established last December. The new facility has four times the capacity...
February 1, 2013
Composite liquid and slurry boiler fuels have been produced from mixtures of various waste materials, such as biomass, coal- and crude-oil-processing residues, wood and other combustible substances, in a collaboration between researchers at the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.) and Podgorny Institute (Kharkov, Ukraine). The researchers have formed a company, InEnergy LLC (Naples, Fla....
February 1, 2013
Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Ames Laboratory (Ames, Iowa; led by Ryan Ott have developed a process for recovering rare-earth (RE) metals from magnet scraps. The process involves first crushing neodymium-iron-boron magnet scraps and placing the pieces in a stainless steel crucible, to which chunks of magnesium metal are added. The apparatus is heated in a...
February 1, 2013
For the first time, it has become possible to spin carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a fiber that looks and acts like textile threads, yet has the electrical conductivity and strength of a metal. The breakthrough, which came after more than ten years of research, was published in the January 11 issue of Science by scientists from Rice University (Houston;, Teijin Aramid B.V. (Arnhem, The...
January 1, 2013
  Soy polyurethanes Scientists at Battelle (Columbus, Ohio; have developed a water-based polyurethane (PU) that uses soy oil instead of petroleum to produce the polyol precursor. Whereas standard water-based PUs require adding N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) tolower viscosity, Battelle's process eliminates the need for NMP, thereby reducing costs, handling, reporting regulations, vapors...
January 1, 2013
Researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, Md.; have developed a relatively simple, fast and effective method of depositing uniform, ultrathin layers of platinum atoms onto a surface. The technique may lead to a reduction in the amount of precious metal needed for catalyst applications, such as catalytic converters in automobiles and hydrogen...
January 1, 2013
A research team is using clusters of gold atoms at sub-nanometer sizes to enhance the photocatalytic production of hydrogen from water. Sustainable H2 production from a non-fossil-fuel source could have significant environmental and energy-efficiency benefits. The...
January 1, 2013
Plans are underway to field-test a process that removes more than 90 % of the carbon dioxide from power-plant flue gas, while reducing both the energy input and operating costs by 50 % compared to conventional amine-based CO2-scrubbing technology. The so-called carbonate-looping process has undergone four years of testing in a 1 MWth pilot plant at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany...
January 1, 2013
A small-scale ceramic membrane reactor to convert natural gas to transportable liquids in a single step is being developed by Ceramatec, Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah; under a $1.7-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA, Washington, D.C.; The goal is to monetize the...
January 1, 2013
The research group of Masahiro Murakami at Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan; have synthesized a promising pharmaceutical precursor using only sunlight (as energy source) and CO2 (as co-reagent). The solar-driven process involves two consecutive reactions (diagram): first, light transforms an alpha-methylamino ketone into an energized, cyclic...
January 1, 2013
Cationic polymers have been used in the petroleum industry as shale-control agents, demulsifiers, blocking agents, and filtrate reducers for drilling fluids, but process complexity and high cost have limited their application. Now researchers from Zhejiang Normal University (Jinhua; and Shandong University (Jinhua, both China; have reported the preparation of a...
January 1, 2013
A photocatalyst that reduces CO2 into carbon monoxide is being commercialized by Tokyo Chemical Industry Co. (Tokyo, Japan; Developed by Osamu Ishitani and his research group at Tokyo Institute of Technology (TiTech; Japan;, the catalyst is a step towards artificial photosynthesis whereby CO2 can be converted into...
January 1, 2013
A research group at Rice University (Houston; has developed a method for vaporizing water into steam using sunlight-illuminated nanoparticles, with only a small fraction of the energy heating the fluid. Sub-wavelength metal or carbon particles are intense absorbers of optical...
January 1, 2013
Under an ARPA contract Gas Technology Institute (GTI, Des Plaines, Ill.; is developing a process to convert natural gas directly into methanol and hydrogen. The process is much simpler and more efficient than the...
January 1, 2013
An Indian team from the Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (, and Utkal University (both Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India; has achieved significant improvement in the recovery of nickel from lateritic ore by using oxalic acid produced by the fungus Aspergillus niger supplemented with manganese. Prior to leaching, thermal pre-treatment (at 600°C for 5 h)...
December 1, 2012
A process for manufacturing fine particles of titanium dioxide that exhibits a high level of photocatalytic activity has been developed by Showa Titanium Co., a subsidiary of Showa Denko K.K. (SDK, Tokyo; The product has been developed in collaboration with professor Bunsho Ohtani at Hokkaido University with support from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization...
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