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November 1, 2010
Evonik Industries’ business unit Performance Polymers (www.evonik.com) is planning to construct a new plant for the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer, using its newly developed proprietary Aveneer process. When the plant starts up in 2014, it will produce 150,000–200,000 m.t./yr of MMA using, for the first time, the Aveneer process. The location of the new facility will be decided...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Commercial-debut-slated-for-a-new-MMA-process_6105.html
November 1, 2010
A new SM process Exelus Inc. (Livingston, N.J.; www.exelusinc.com) received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; Washington, D.C.) to help pilot the company’s styrene monomer (SM) process ( CE, January 2007, p. 13). The funds are part of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research XLerator program, designed to help develop scaled-up manufacturing processes. The ExSyM process...
http://www.che.com/chementator/November-Chementator-Briefs_6127.html
October 1, 2010
Standardized steam-methane-reforming (SMR) reactor units recently commercialized by Air Liquide (Paris, France; www.airliquide.com) allow direct hydrogen production at customer sites at costs much lower than those associated with alternative H2 supply modes, including electrolysis and transporting compressed or liquefied H2. Because of the technology’s specific applicability to facilities that...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-modular-SMR-unit-provides-onsite-hydrogen-production_6019.html
October 1, 2010
A group of Singapore researchers have reported a new approach to induce the coiling of prefabricated gold nanowires (AuNWs) inside polymer shells, leading to structures resembling torsion springs. In contrast to gas-phase methods that require high temperatures and are limited to non-metallic nanomaterials, the transformation of straight wires into circular rings takes place in a colloidal solution by...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Nanowires-that-spring-into-action_6020.html
October 1, 2010
Photos: Teijin Group Toho Tenax Co. (Tokyo; www.tohotenax.com), the main company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers business, has commercialized a gas-diffusion layer (GDL) made of carbon fiber fabric for use as an electrode component for fuel cells. GDLs are a key component of the electrode in fuel cells, supplying hydrogen and oxygen while collecting electrons generated and discharging...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Fabric-of-carbon-fibers-set-to-improve-fuel-cell-performance_6021.html
October 1, 2010
A plasma-based process has achieved a 30% yield of methanol from methane in a microreactor system developed by a research team led by Tomohiro Nozaki, associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology (TiTech; Tokyo, www.mech.titech.ac.jp). The yield is nearly the same as that obtained in conventional methanol-synthesis reactors (in single pass), which catalytically convert...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Micro-plasma-reactor-makes-methanol-from-methane_6022.html
October 1, 2010
Westec Environmental Solutions, LLC (WES; Chicago, Ill.; www.wes-worldwide.com) has developed a gas-liquid absorption technology that can dramatically enhance mass transfer in gas-liquid absorption, extraction and scrubbing systems. The patented WES Absorber operates co-currently and creates a micro-froth matrix that intensifies mass transfer. Co-current operation allows the column to operate at gas...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-new-multiphase-contactor-promises-to-cut-costs-for-carbon-capture-and-more_6023.html
October 1, 2010
Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, Can-ada; www.enerkem.com) has broken ground in Edmonton, Alberta, on what is said to be the world’s first industrial-scale plant to produce liquid fuel from municipal solid waste. When the plant starts up at the end of 2011, it will convert 100,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of garbage into...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Worlds-first-commercial-plant-to-produce-biofuel-from-municipal-waste_6024.html
October 1, 2010
Plastic derived from corn, used mostly for bottles and cups, costs about 20% more than petroleum-based plastics, but has two desirable qualities: it comes from a renewable resource and is biodegradable. However, the use of the plastic — polylactic acid (PLA) — is restricted because PLA has a heat-deflection temperature of only about 60–70°C, well below the 100°C filling...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Modifier-improves-the-heat-tolerance-of-bioplastic_6025.html
October 1, 2010
Graphene Laboratories Inc. (Reading, Mass.; www.graphenelab.com) and CVD Equipment Corp. (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; www.cvdequipment.com) recently announced the commercial launch of single-layer graphene films, marketed as CVDGraphene, grown by a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. Using slightly modified CVD equipment that has been used to produce carbon nanotubes, the CVDGraphene films are made by decomposing...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Graphene-produced-by-CVD-launched-commercially_6026.html
October 1, 2010
Last month at the IFAT Entsorga trade fair (September 13–17; Munich, Germany), Süd-Chemie AG (Munich; www.sud-chemie.com) introduced a chemical-free process that increases the energy production of wastewater-purification and biogas plants by as much as 30% while significantly reducing the disposal costs of sewage treatment plants. The electrokinetic disintegration process exposes biological...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Electric-fields-boost-energy-production-and-cut-operating-costs-of-sewage-and-biogas-plants_6027.html
October 1, 2010
Improved C5 use Some 106,000 ton/yr of so-called spent C5 fraction is generated at Mitsui Chemicals Inc.’s (Mitsui; Tokyo, Japan; www.mitsuichem.com) naphtha cracker at its Chiba Factory. Presently, the company is selling about half of the C5 fraction (50,000 ton/yr) — after partial hydrogenation — to Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Tokyo) for gasoline production, and the remainder is burned as fuel...
http://www.che.com/chementator/October-chementator-briefs_6053.html
September 1, 2010
Codexis (Redwood City, Calif.; www.codexis.com) and CO2 Solution (Quebec City, Canada; www.co2solution.com) have jointly developed a cost-effective method for capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants. Solvent-based systems for capturing CO2 are relatively well-understood, but they have not been widely deployed because they are energy-intensive and inefficient. Solvent-based approaches involve...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Enzyme-based-method-could-make-CO2-capture-economically-viable_5939.html
September 1, 2010
A magnetic composite based on reduced graphene oxide (RGO) has been developed by a Korean team with an exceptional capacity to remove arsenic from drinking water. The team, headed by professor Kwang S. Kim from the Center for Superfunctional Materials, Dept. of Chemistry, Pohang University of Science and Technology (www.postech.ac.kr), South Korea, claims the composite can achieve nearly complete removal...
http://www.che.com/chementator/An-attractive-way-to-remove-arsenic-from-water_5940.html
September 1, 2010
An enhanced reactor technology that boosts the speed of producing bioethanol by a factor of four while decreasing production costs by 25% compared to a stirred batch fermenter has been developed by IHI Corp. (IHI; Tokyo; www.ihi.co.jp). The technology features a cohesive strain of yeast to increase the number density of microorganisms in the reactor, and utilizes the flow created by the carbon...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-more-efficient-less-expensive-way-to-continuously-make-bioethanol_5941.html
September 1, 2010
Professor Kazuaki Ishihara and colleagues at Nagoya University (Nagoya, Japan;www.nubio.nagoya-u.ac.jp/indexe.HTM) has discovered an efficient, chiral, salt-based hypervalent iodine catalyst that could replace toxic metal catalysts without generating the waste or explosion risks associated with hypervalent organo-iodine complexes. The researchers took the radical step of swapping iodine bonded to carbon...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-new-iodine-based-catalyst-for-asymmetric-synthesis_5942.html
September 1, 2010
Photovoltaic cells typically operate at 20% efficiency in converting solar energy to electricity. A new system that could boost the efficiency to as much as 60% by combining the light and heat of solar radiation is being developed at Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.;www.stanford.edu). Standard silicon solar cells have two limitations, says Nick Melosh, an assistant professor of materials science and...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Heat-plus-light-may-boost-solar-energy-efficiency_5943.html
September 1, 2010
A metal membrane system developed by Eltron Research and Development (Boulder, Colo., www.eltronresearch.com) separates hydrogen from mixed-gas feed streams that result from gasification, steam reforming and petrochemical processes. Based on a proprietary, dense metal alloy with hydrogen permeability that is coated on both sides with catalyst material, the membrane can be used as a carbon capture method...
http://www.che.com/chementator/This-membrane-system-extracts-hydrogen-from-mixed-gas-streams_5944.html
September 1, 2010
Roughly 80% of the heavy oil in Alberta’s oil sands is too deep for open-pit mining, the most common production method at present. Consequently, this oil will have to be recovered by in situ methods, such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), whereby steam is injected underground to liberate the bitumen, which is pumped out through a producer well. Each barrel of oil produced requires 3–4...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-promising-way-to-reduce-the-cost-of-producing-oil-from-oil-sands_5945.html
September 1, 2010
TNO (Delft; www.tno.nl) and Ingrepro Renewables B.V. (Borculo, both the Netherlands; www.ingrepro.nl) have started a joint-research project to extract food ingredients from algae. Proteins, which account for up to 60 wt.% of algae, could serve as a sustainable alternative...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Food-from-algae_5946.html
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