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May 1, 2014
A new plastic made from CO2 and butadiene has been synthesized by Kyoko Nozaki and her research group at the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan; Although butadiene is already produced on a large scale for making synthetic rubber, it has previously been impossible to copolymerize CO2 and butadiene in a single-step reaction, because the...
May 1, 2014
A biomass torrefaction plant run by New Biomass Energy LLC (NBE; Quitman, Miss.; is currently undergoing an expansion that will increase its annual production capacity to 250,000 tons of torrefied wood product. The company expects the expansion to be completed by the end of 2014, says Alison Hunt, NBE’s VP of development. Torrefaction is the process of roasting wood or other...
May 1, 2014
Scientists from the A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) Institute for Chemical and Engineering Sciences (Singapore; have shown that a copper catalyst can incorporate CO2 into organic molecules under mild conditions, opening the way to an inexpensive, nontoxic source of carbon for the synthesis of products such as plastics and pharmaceuticals. Normally, a lot of energy is...
May 1, 2014
A nonionic surfactant that is derived from renewable chemicals can outperform common solvents in a range of applications, including industrial cleaning, adhesive removal, degreasing, paint and coating removal, and others. The molecule (N,N-dimethyl-9-decenamide), marketed as Steposol MET-10U, is the first result of a joint development agreement between Stepan Co. (Northfield, Ill.; and Elevance...
May 1, 2014
The first phase of a study on the feasibility of producing methane from CO2 has been completed by Hitachi Zosen Corp. (Tokyo; and Daiki Ataka Engineering Co. (Daiki Ataka) a subsidy of Hitachi Zosen, in collaboration with PTT Exploring and Production Public Co. (Thailand). The companies have been collaborating since 2012 to develop a methanation process to convert CO2, which is generated...
May 1, 2014
Last month, a new bioethanol-dehydration process was introduced by its developers Axens (, IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN; both Rueil-Malmaison, France; and Total Refining & Chemicals (Brussels, Belgium; Tradenamed Atol, the process is said to be the most profitable route for making polymer-grade bioethylene by dehydration of first- and...
May 1, 2014
The world’s first installation of the so-called Cohral technology — deploying a covered lagoon for anaerobic wastewater treatment — was completed last March at Oakey Abattoir Pty Ltd. in the farming region of Darling Downs, in southern Queensland, Australia. The Cohral technology originates with Global Water Engineering Ltd. (Brugge, Belgium;, now operating from its...
May 1, 2014
  Carbon nanofibers Researchers at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.;, in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.; have produced, via a plasma-enhanced vapor deposition process, vertically aligned carbon nanofibers using an acetone and ambient-air mixture. In conventional plasma-enhanced nanofabrication processes, H2 or NH3 is used...
May 1, 2014
A research group at Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.; has developed a new mass spectroscopy technique, called helium-plasma-ionization mass spectrometry (HePI-MS), that enables direct sampling of materials without the need for rigorous sample preparation, as is required for conventional mass-spectroscopy approaches. “We can put any object...
May 1, 2014
North American production of crude oil, driven by a rapid increase in output of “tight oil” from U.S. shale deposits like Bakken and Eagle Ford, is surging. In many, but not all areas, petroleum refiners are incorporating an increasing amount of this cost-advantaged feedstock into their crude-oil-processing slates to capitalize on its discounted price, which is partly a result of a lack of...
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...
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