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June 1, 2010
Algae has recently become an R&D focus for making third-generation biofuels because these oil-containing microorganisms reproduce so quickly and can be grown away from arable farmland. However, getting the oil from the cells — and the water — is energy intensive. Traditionally, the cells are first concentrated into a slurry by compression or centrifugation. Then, the cell walls are broken...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Using-DME-to-extract-green-crude-from-algae_5737.html
June 1, 2010
Oasys Water Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.; www.oasyswater.com) has commercialized a forward-osmosis (FO) membrane as the next step toward introducing its lower-cost desalination and water-reuse technology. The membrane, developed by Professor Menachem Elimelech, chair of chemical engineering at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.; www.yale.edu), is a polyamide thin-film composite that can be produced on...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Forward-osmosis-moves-a-step-closer-to-commercialization_5738.html
June 1, 2010
At the Hannover Messe 2010, Alumina do Norte do Brasil S.A. (Alunorte; Barcarena, Brazil; www.alunorte.net) and Outotec Oyj (Espoo, Finland; www.outotec.com) received the X Prize (special recognition) for energy efficiency in alumina production. The award, part of the German Energy Agencys (dena; Berlin, Germany; www.dena.de) Initiative EnergieEffizienz, was bestowed to Alunorte for using an energy...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Energy-efficiency-prize-for-alumina-production_5739.html
June 1, 2010
An new olefins process A 40,000-m.t./yr demonstration plant for a new process that produces olefins by catalytic cracking of paraffins-rich naphtha will be started up in October by SK energy (Seoul, South Korea; www.skenergy.com) at Ulsan, South Korea. Developed jointly with KBR (Houston; www.kbr.com), the Advanced Catalytic Olefin (ACO) process uses a proprietary granular zeolite catalyst in a fluidized...
http://www.che.com/chementator/June-Chementator-Briefs_5740.html
May 1, 2010
A low-cost method for fabricating microfluidic diagnostics devices using cotton, paper, or other multifilament threads has been developed by a team from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia; www.eng.monash.edu.au). The devices can be used to provide qualitative and, at least, semi-quantitative analyses of fluids, such as blood and urine for medical diagnostic purposes. They can also be used to detect...
http://www.che.com/chementator/These-microfluidic-sensors-can-be-made-with-a-sewing-machine_5614.html
May 1, 2010
  A new Cl2 process Oxygen-depolarized cathodes (ODCs) will be used for the first time to produce chlorine on an industrial scale in a 20,000 metric ton per year (m.t./yr) electrolyzer at the Krefeld-Uerdingen chemical park in Germany. The plant will be constructed for Bayer MaterialScience AG (BMS; www.bayermaterialsciences.com) by Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, both Germany; www.uhde.eu), and is slated for...
http://www.che.com/chementator/May-Chementator-briefs_5615.html
May 1, 2010
In late March, the world’s first demonstration plant for converting sugars directly into gasoline started up at the Madison, Wisc., facilities of Virent Energy Systems, Inc. (www.virent.com). The demonstration plant — part of a joint R&D collaboration of Virent and Shell (The Hague, the Netherlands; www.shell.com) — has the capacity to produce 10,000 gal/yr of biogasoline from beet...
http://www.che.com/chementator/This-new-process-makes-biogasoline-from-carbohydrates_5622.html
May 1, 2010
Honeywells UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; www.uop.com) has developed a process that makes a renewable, “drop-in” jet fuel from sustainable oils, including camelina, tallow, jatropha or algae. Similar to the the UOP/Eni Ecofining process for making Green Diesel fuel (CE, May 2007, p. 18), the Renewable Jet Process is a two-stage process. In the first step, the natural oils are first hydroprocessed...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-process-that-makes-green-jet-fuel-is-slated-for-commercialization_5623.html
May 1, 2010
Efforts to make a completely sustainable route to polymers based on vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) are progressing at Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; www.wacker.com). VAM — a precursor for polyvinyl acetate and ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymers used for making dispersible polymer powders — is normally made by the reaction of acetic acid and steam-cracker-derived ethylene. Wacker is developing...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Bioethanol-as-a-feedstock-for-green-polymers_5624.html
May 1, 2010
Co-processing of biomass-derived feed with petroleum feed for the production of diesel fuel is a tricky business, given that the former (unlike petroleum) contains oxygen. The oxygenates can be removed by hydrotreating, which converts the biofeed to normal paraffins, but this consumes large amounts of H2 and the exothermic reactions can cause excessive temperatures. Also, biomass contains acids that can...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Revamped-hydrotreater-co-processes-light-gas-oil-and-tall-oil-derivative-to-produce-ULSD_5625.html
May 1, 2010
A process that destroys hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and recovers high-purity calcium fluoride has been developed by chemical-engineering professor Hideki Yamamoto at Kansai University (Suita City, Osaka; www.cheng.kansai-u.ac.jp/Process) in cooperation with Shiraishi Kogyo Kaisha Ltd. (Amagasaki City, Osaka; both Japan...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Destroy-HFCs-and-recover-CaF2-with-this-process_5626.html
May 1, 2010
A new approach to the design of the downcomer portion of distillation column trays — presented at the recent American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring 2010 meeting (San Antonio, Tex.; March 21–25) — promotes a uniform fluid flow pattern, which improves mass transfer efficiency. The Downcomer Distributor was developed through a joint research program between AMT International...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Distillation-tray-downcomer-design-improves-mass-transfer-efficiency_5627.html
May 1, 2010
Engineers at the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA; www.ucla.edu) have developed a new class of highly permeable reverse-osmosis (RO) membranes for water desalination that incorporates a “brush layer” of hydrophilic polymer chains anchored to the membrane surface. Brownian motion of the surface-anchored polymer chains blocks foulants, such as bacteria, mineral crystals and...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Surface-structured-RO-membrane-couples-fouling-resistance-with-flux_5628.html
May 1, 2010
By genetically modifying E. coli — introducing four enzymatic genes from bacteria of the Clostridium family — Mitsui Chemicals Corp. (Mitsui, Tokyo, www.mitsuichem.com) has increased the selectivity for fermenting glucose into isopropyl...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Improving-enzyme-performance-for-making-chemicals_5629.html
April 1, 2010
Next year IHI Corp. (IHI; Tokyo, Japan; www.ihi.co.jp) plans to construct a demonstration plant in Indonesia that will gasify 50 ton/d of lignite (brown coal) into synthesis gas (syngas; predominantly hydrogen and carbon monoxide) using IHI’s twin-tower, bubbling fluidized-bed gasification process. This process has been shown to produce 1,000 m3 of syngas for each ton of low-grade coal at the...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-new-gasification-process-moves-a-step-closer-to-commercialization_5546.html
April 1, 2010
Researchers at Texas A&M University (College Station, Tex.; www.tamu.edu) are poised to complete assembly of a pilot project that seeks to demonstrate the commercial viability of advanced vapor-compression desalination, an updated version of a decades-old distillation technology first developed for naval vessels. The pilot unit is nearing completion in Laredo, Tex., where it will produce 50,000 gal/d...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Pilot-plant-to-demonstrate-advanced-vapor-compression-desalination-nears-completion_5547.html
April 1, 2010
The process, developed by Masateru Nishioka at the Research Center for Compact Chemical Process, Institute of Advanced Science and Technology (AIST; Sendai; www.aist.go.jp) in collaboration with Shinko Kagaku (Koshigaya; www.shinkou-kagaku.co.jp), uses a microwave-assisted flow reactor developed by AIST and IDX Inc. (Tokyo, all Japan...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-highly-efficient-microwave-reactor-continuously-produces-metallic-nanoparticles_5548.html
April 1, 2010
Professor Tetsu Yonezawa at the Materials Science Div. of Hokkaido University (Sapporo; labs.eng.hokudai.ac.jp/labo/limsa/english/), in collaboration with Arios, Inc. (Akishima; www.arios.co.jp) and Suga (Hokuto, all Japan; www.suga.ne.jp), has developed a microwave-assisted device that can continuously generate a plasma under water. In...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-microwave-assisted-process-makes-nanoparticles-underwater_5549.html
April 1, 2010
Biodiesel fuel is being produced for under $2/gal from product wastes in a process commercialized by Ever Cat Fuels (Anoka, Minn.; www.evercatfuels.com). This is comparable to the cost of diesel fuel obtained from petroleum, says Arlin Gyberg, a co-inventor of the process and a chemistry professor at Augsburg College, Minneapolis. Ever Cat is a new subsidiary of SarTec Corp. (Anoka, Minn....
http://www.che.com/chementator/Catalytic-process-cuts-the-cost-of-biodiesel-fuel_5550.html
April 1, 2010
As producers continue to develop new applications for nanoparticles, the health, safety and environmental (HSE) hazards associated with these miniscule particles remain uncertain and controversial. To minimize the HSE risks for handling nanoparticles, GEA Niro, (Søborg, Denmark; www.niro.com) has developed a contained process that binds nanoparticles in a dust-free, micron-sized granular form. The...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-less-risky-way-to-manufacture-and-transport-nanoparticle-products_5551.html
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