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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
April 1, 2010
The cleanup of nuclear waste could be simplified by a process being developed at Northwestern University (Chicago, Ill.; www.northwestern.edu) and Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Ill.; www.anl.gov). Nuclear waste consists mainly of non-toxic sodium ions, but this is mixed with a very small amount of highly radioactive cesium isotopes that have proved difficult to separate from...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Venus-flytrap-a-new-way-to-treat-nuclear-waste_5552.html
April 1, 2010
An instrument called the Cottonscope, which automatically measures cotton maturity in 25 s, has been developed by CSIRO Cotton Research Unit (Melbourne, Australia; www.csiro.au). The unit’s leader, Stuart Gordon, says the instrument has been used to measure when a crop was mature enough to harvest. “The instrument will also be valuable in...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-quick-way-to-tell-when-to-pick-cotton_5553.html
April 1, 2010
This month, Showa Denko K. K. (Tokyo, Japan; www.sdk.co.jp) will begin marketing its carbon-nanotube (CNT) product, tradenamed...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Commercial-production-of-carbon-nanotubes_5554.html
April 1, 2010
Scientists at Carbon Sciences Inc. (Santa Barbara, Calif.; www.carbonsciences.com) have successfully demonstrated a CO2-to-fuel process that proceeds under mild conditions using fluegas emissions as a carbon dioxide source and brackish water as a hydrogen source. The modular, three-step process is highly scalable, says Carbon Sciences chief technology officer Naveed Aslam, and depends on proprietary...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-CO2-to-fuel-process-demonstrated_5555.html
April 1, 2010
A hard biomaterial Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research (IFAM; Bremen, Germany; www.ifam.fraunhofer.de) have developed a granulate form of a biomaterial that may replace titanium used as screws and other hardware in medical applications. Although screws made of polylactic acid (PLA), for example, have already been used in the past for...
http://www.che.com/chementator/April-Chementator-Briefs_5575.html
March 1, 2010
Steam reforming of methane into hydrogen takes place in catalyst-packed alloy tubes that are heated in a furnace. Up to now, this energy-intensive reaction has used catalyst-impregnated ceramic pellets, which are poured into the tubes. However, these ceramic pellets do not provide homogeneous heat transfer, which compromises reaction efficiency, and they are prone to crushing, which degrades the catalyst...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Slash-energy-consumption-with-this-steam-reformer-reactor_5479.html
March 1, 2010
A research team at Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.; www.princeton.edu) led by Michael McAlpine and Yi Qi has devised a process for integrating nanoscale piezoelectric ribbons into flexible rubbers, enabling development of flexible, energy-harvesting materials. Efficient, flexible energy-conversion materials could be used as wearable energy-harvesting systems for mobile...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-new-approach-to-flexible-energy-converting-material_5480.html
March 1, 2010
In January, the world’s first commercial plant to use the ITmk3 process began production of iron nuggets, which are used in steelmaking. The plant, constructed by Kobe Steel, Ltd. (Tokyo; www.kobelcom) and Steel Dynamics, Inc. (Fort Wayne, Ind.; www.steeldynamics.com) at Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, is expected to reach its design capacity of 500,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) in mid 2010. Developed by...
http://www.che.com/chementator/A-next-generation-ironmaking-process-makes-its-commercial-debut_5481.html
March 1, 2010
A 1.5-mm-thick layer of a new filter material based on nanoscale alumina has shown the ability to filter greater than 99% of 0.03-µm latex spheres or 0.025-µm MS2 viruses with sustainable water velocities of around 1.5 cm/s at pressures of 0.7 bar. Developed by the Argonide Corp. (Sanford, Fla.; www.argonide.com), the alumina nanofibers have a surface area of 350–500 m2/g and form the...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Nanofiber-cartridge-filters-achieve-0-03-micron-rating-at-high-flow-and-low-pressure_5482.html
March 1, 2010
Toxic heavy metals can be drawn out of soils far more quickly than the traditional methods using a process developed by a team from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU; Lyngby; www.dtu.dk) and the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Valparaíso, Chile; www.usm.cl). Conventional electrokinetic methods apply a strong d.c. electric field to cause ions of heavy metals, such as...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Combined-membrane-separation-and-electrokinetics-speeds-soil-remediation_5483.html
March 1, 2010
The ethanol yield from biomass has been increased by about 50% over conventional yields in a process developed by ZeaChem Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.; www.zeachem.com). ZeaChem has tested the process (diagram) in a 3,500-gal fermenter and will activate a demonstration plant to process tree residues in Boardman, Ore., in late 2010. The plant will produce 250,000-gal/yr of either ethanol or ethyl acetate, says Jim...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Ethanol-and-other-chemicals-from-biomass_5484.html
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