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December 1, 2011
A novel mesh for oil-water separation with opposite wettability to traditional materials has been developed by a group of researchers from Beijing, China — the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (; School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University (; Dept. of Chemistry, Tsinghua University...
December 1, 2011
Hydrofoil turbines mounted inside gravity-fed water-effluent conduits can generate significant electrical power without impeding flow, a demonstration project has shown. The in-pipe turbine systems offer chemical process industries (CPI) companies a way to extract emission-free energy from flowing wastewater discharge pipes. Based on hydropower research by Northeastern University professor Alexander...
December 1, 2011
Bio bisabolene Through genetic engineering of microbes, scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley, Calif.; Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have coaxed both bacteria (Escherichia coli) and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to produce a chemical precursor to bisabolane — a critical step toward an improved renewable diesel alternative. The precursor can be...
December 1, 2011
Last month at the Brau Beviale 2011 Exhibition (November 9–11; Nuremberg, Germany), Alfa Laval AB (Lund, Sweden; launched a new plate heat exchanger, which combines the energy efficiency, accessibility and modularity of plate technology with the viscous and particulate-handling capabilities of tubular technology. The so-called FusionLine features a...
December 1, 2011
A catalyst for making amides from alcohols and amines under aerobic conditions has been developed by Professor Shu Kobayashi and his research group at the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, The catalyst — nano particles (2.4-nm dia.) of gold and cobalt — is said to produce amides with...
December 1, 2011
Using an array of lamps inside a highly reflective chamber, the optical cavity furnace (OCF) takes advantage of photonics effects to help manufacture solar photovoltaic cells with higher efficiency than those made by conventional rapid-thermal-processing (RTP) methods. In addition, the OCF can reduce cost and raise efficiency of the manufacturing process itself. Scientists at the U.S. Dept. of...
December 1, 2011
Last month at the Namur Annual General Meeting in Bad Neuenbahr, Germany, the first working prototype of FDI (field device integration) was demonstrated. FDI device packages were used to integrate Foundation Fieldbus, HART and Profibus field devices of various manufacturers within an...
December 1, 2011
Using gene recombination technology, Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC; Toyota City, Japan: has developed a new strain of yeast that achieves one of the highest ethanol-fermentation density levels in the world — approximately 47 g/L with 87% yield (based on the feed sugar). In addition to the high yield, TMC’s yeast is highly efficient at fermenting xylose, which is normally...
December 1, 2011
In combustion, the ratio of fuel to air is key to efficiency, emissions control and stable performance of the combustion system. Adjusting this ratio to accommodate variability in fuels — due to the use of different fuels, and the variability that naturally occurs with some of the lower-cost fuels and renewable fuel sources — is a difficult task. Emerson Process Management (St...
November 1, 2011
For the first time, an organic compound has been synthesized from water, carbon dioxide and sunlight — without any other external energy or reagents. The achievement, which was demonstrated by researchers at Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories, Inc. (Toyota CRDL; Aichi Prefecture, Japan; www., a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., is...
November 1, 2011
A facility that produces high-purity lithium carbonate for use in the growing market for electrolytes in electric-vehicle batteries has begun commercial operations in Imperial Valley, Calif. The 500-ton/yr plant, operated by Simbol Materials (Pleasanton, Calif.;, is the only producer of high-purity Li2CO3 in the U.S., and one of three worldwide. “We can produce the...
November 1, 2011
Sugar is a critical feedstock for many emerging bio-based-chemical and biofuel processes, but harvesting sugar from low-value, nonfood biomass cost-effectively and at large scale remains a challenge. Renmatix Inc. (King of Prussia, Pa.; has developed a process that uses water above its critical temperature and pressure to hydrolyze a range of biomass materials to make C5 and C6 sugars...
November 1, 2011
  New block copolymer Nexar is the tradename of a block copolymer product recently commercialized by Kraton Performance Polymers (Houston; that has unique water-transport properties. Building on its earlier work in anionic polymerization of styrene-butadiene block copolymers, the company has developed a sulfonated, multiblock copolymer that allows a high level of selective moisture...
November 1, 2011
To date, the difficult-to-treat contaminants and their related biological inhibition in petroleum refinery wastewater have defied efforts to bring predictive and mathematical process control to biological wastewater-treatment systems. Now, for the first time, engineers at Refinery Water Engineering & Associates Inc. (RWEA; Los Angeles, Calif.; have determined the key...
November 1, 2011
The Fine Chemicals div. of Takasago International Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; has commercialized Deneb: Oxo-Tethered Ruthenium (II) Complex, which shows higher catalytic activities compared to conventional RuCl (arene)(N-sulfonylated diamine) catalyst systems. The higher activity enables a reduction in...
November 1, 2011
Base-catalyzed decomposition (BCD) is a commercially used process developed in the early 1990s by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.) for the destruction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It has been used as an...
November 1, 2011
Researchers at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul; have produced thin-film zeolite membranes that are only 200 nm thick, compared to 5–10 µm for conventional zeolite membranes. The new membranes could cut energy and capital costs by 90% for the production of petrochemicals, says Michael Tsapatsis, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science...
November 1, 2011
Last month, KBR (Houston; was awarded a license and process-design-package contract for a new olefins-production unit using the Advanced Catalytic Olefins (ACO) technology. The contract represents the first license of the ACO process, which catalytically cracks naphtha and other “straight-run” feeds to produce higher olefins yields than traditional steam-cracking technology, says...
November 1, 2011
The two basic energy-storage devices — dielectric and double-layer capacitors — entail serious limitations. Dielectric capacitors have low capacitance, on the order of 0.1 to 1.0 µF/cm2, while the double-layer capacitor has a high capacitance, on the order of 0.5 to 5.0 F/cm2, but suffers from difficulties in scaling up and high fabrication costs. Now researchers from the National...
October 1, 2011
Impending standards requiring that cellulosic ethanol be used in gasoline blending have focused attention on building a capacity for bioethanol from non-food sources. In a development that may begin to meet that need, a plant employing a unique method for fermenting synthesis gas (syngas) to produce ethanol will begin commercial operation in the second quarter of 2012. According to its builder, Ineos Bio...
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