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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
March 1, 2010
Coating technology that essentially eliminates carbon buildup on the interior of steam cracker tubes will be commercialized by Quantiam Technologies Inc. (Edmonton, Alta; www.quantiam.com). Commercial-scale tests in five ethylene crackers indicate that the coating can extend the time between furnace decokings to 1–2 yr for light feedstocks, whereas uncoated tubes have to be decoked about every 30...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Furnace-tube-coatings-reduce-carbon-formation-and-increase-efficiency-in-olefins-plants_5485.html
March 1, 2010
Last month at the National Ethanol Conference at Orlando, Fla., Novozymes’ A/S (Bagsvaerd, Denmark; www.novozymes.com) president and CEO, Steen Riisgaard, launched Cellic CTec2, a new enzyme product enabling the biofuel industry to produce cellulosic ethanol at a price below $2/gal — comparable to the current cost of gasoline and conventional ethanol in the U.S. Cellec CTec2 has a higher...
http://www.che.com/chementator/The-cost-of-producing-bioethanol-takes-a-nosedive_5486.html
March 1, 2010
    A new Kraft pulp Weyerhaeuser Co. (Federal Way, Wash.; www.weyerhaeuser.com) says it has begun commercial production of a new grade of Kraft pulp for the cellulose derivatives market. Cellulose derivatives are used in various products, including lacquers, paints, inks and thickening agents. The new pulp, called Pearl429, “is essentially a new class of softwood Kraft pulp,” says...
http://www.che.com/chementator/March-Chementator-briefs_5487.html
February 1, 2010
A demonstration plant that will produce transportation fuels from cellulosic biomass will be built at Tesoro Corp.’s petroleum refinery in Kapolei, Hawaii, by Envergent Technologies (Des Plaines, Ill.; www.envergenttech.com), a joint venture of Honeywell’s UOP (Des Plaines; www.uop.com) and Ensyn Technologies Inc. (Ottawa, Ont.; www.ensyn.com). Scheduled to start up in 2014, the plant will...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Tryout-set-for-biomass-to-gasoline-process_5432.html
February 1, 2010
What is said to be the first grassroots lignite-fueled power plant to use powdered activated carbon (PAC) for mercury capture has been started up near Franklin, Tex., by Luminant (Dallas, Tex.). In its initial operation the 800-MWe supercritical plant has achieved better than 90% Hg removal, says James Brown, director of engineering for Fluor Corp. (Irving, Tex.; www.fluor.com), which built the plant. This...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Lignite-fired-power-plant-uses-activated-carbon-to-capture-mercury_5433.html
February 1, 2010
This summer, Celitement GmbH (Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany; www.celitement.de) will begin construction on a pilot plant to produce a new cement known as Celitement. Located at the north campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; www.kit.edu), the facility will produce up to 100 kg/d of Celitement when it starts operating in 2011, using a process first developed at KIT. In the first step...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Scaleup-slated-for-a-greener-cement_5434.html
February 1, 2010
A recently commercialized method for growing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNs) in large quantities enables their use in a downstream process for depositing semiconducting inks onto flexible surfaces. Southwest NanoTechnologies Inc. (Norman, Okla.; www.swentnano.com) has developed a scalable technique (CoMoCAT process) in which carbon monoxide is decomposed into carbon and CO2 at 700–950ºC...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Printed-electronics-made-possible-by-this-carbon-nanotube-production-process_5435.html
February 1, 2010
Professor Shigeru Yamago and colleagues at the Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University (Japan; www.scl.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~yasuyuki/) have synthesized [8]cycloparaphenylene for the first time. The 11-nm-dia. molecule consists of eight benzene molecules linked together in a closed chain. The compound has a strong absorption peak at 340...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Making-a-ring-of-eight-benzenes_5436.html
February 1, 2010
A patented (WO 2008/053174), fluidic-oscillator-driven device that generates microbubbles has been shown by researchers from the University of Sheffield (U.K.; www.shef.ac.uk/cpe), in collaboration with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Prague; www.cas.cz/en), to improve the performance of air-lift loop bioreactors (ALBs). Up to 18% less energy is consumed for microbubble generation compared...
http://www.che.com/chementator/Microbubble-generator-enhances-performance-of-airlift-bioreactor_5437.html
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