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November 1, 2013
Industrial microbiology continues to hold the promise of producing an increasingly large array of commercially important chemicals because an ever-wider number of useful microbes is being developed and successfully deployed at commercially viable scales. Today, many of these bio-based chemicals are needed in quantities so large that existing fermentation technology is inadequate, and this is pushing the...
October 1, 2013
Iron ore is traditionally pelletized using the binding agent bentonite to facilitate transport and handling. A new additive for pelletizing iron ore significantly reduces the volume of binding agent required, while improving pellet strength and production output. Developed by Clariant AG (Muttenz, Switzerland;, the pelletizing additive is a patented polymer-based binding agent that can...
October 1, 2013
The research group of Yasuhiro Uozumi and Yoichi Yamada at Riken (Saitama, Japan;, in collaboration with professor Audrey Moores of McGill University (Montreal, Que.), has developed a highly efficient catalyst for performing hydrogenation reactions, which are important in the refining of petroleum and oils and fats. Compared with conventional catalysts, which use precious metals costing...
October 1, 2013
A pilot plant will be established at the University of Newcastle (Newcastle, Australia; to test a new technology for the sequestration of CO2 through mineral carbonation — the reaction with magnesium silicate minerals, such as serpentine, to form mineral carbonates. Mineral carbonation mimics and accelerates the Earth’s natural carbon-sink mechanism by combining CO2 with...
October 1, 2013
Fermenting sugar is at the heart of many bio-based chemical and biofuel processes, but obtaining sugars from cellulosic biomass at low cost is an ongoing challenge. A new process using a reusable solid catalyst is capable of breaking down a wide range of waste biomass into fermentable sugars at costs lower than deriving sugar from corn or sugarcane. Midori Renewables (Cambridge, Mass....
October 1, 2013
When coal-derived synthesis gas (syngas) is converted to liquid fuel by the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process, the initial product is mostly straight-chain waxy paraffins that can be upgraded by hydroprocessing to obtain diesel fuel and naphtha, which are used for gasoline blending. Only about 16% of the F-T plant output falls directly into...
October 1, 2013
Researchers at the University of California Irvine (UCI, Irvine CA; have taken a cue from nature in devising a way to remove carbon dioxide from fluegas. They are developing a synthetic membrane based on the design and function of birds’ lungs. “Birds’ lungs are the most efficient mass exchangers in nature and have one of the highest specific surface areas known,”...
October 1, 2013
A highly active nickel catalyst for performing cross-coupling reactions has been developed by the research group of professor Shu Kobayashi at the University of Tokyo (Japan; The researchers were able to immobilize nickel...
October 1, 2013
  Strength with stress Shear forces usually break bonds in polymer materials, but a research team at Duke University (Durham, N.C.; has demonstrated for the first time synthetic polymers capable of forming new bonds in the presence of shear forces that would normally break down polymer chains. Termed activated remodeling via mechanochemistry (ARM), the concept depends on a mechanically...
October 1, 2013
A process from Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS; Edina, Minn.; uses a unique adsorbent resin to improve the taste of orange juice. Amberlite FPX66 is a macroreticular, non-functionalized adsorbent resin with a pore structure designed to capture a variety of target molecules. In the case of orange juice, this resin...
October 1, 2013
Lactose has been widely used as a pharmaceutical excipient, where the size and morphology of the particles of lactose significantly affect the functionality of the resultant drug product. Lactose particles produced by various methods exhibit various morphologies, such as spherical amorphous particles, or lactose crystals with tomahawk or sharp and fine morphology. To date, however, there is no report in...
October 1, 2013
A continuous fermentation process for making biologically derived butanol from a variety of sugar feedstocks is operating at what developers call “lab-pilot” scale, producing 2.5 liters per day. Engineering studies conducted by the research team forecast that it could be produced for the same cost as existing sugar-based bioethanol processes. The technology developer, Optinol Inc. (San...
September 1, 2013
Researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energys Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI; Emeryville, Calif.; have reported the first demonstration of a one-pot, wash-free process for the ionic-liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass — a leading potential biofuel feedstock. By combining ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification into a single...
September 1, 2013
AMT International Inc. (Plano, Texas; and LG Chem, Ltd. (Seoul, Korea; have successfully converted an existing sulfolane liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) unit at LG Chem’s Yeosu plant using a new extractive-distillation (ED) process for aromatics recovery. This technology was jointly developed by AMT International Inc. and CPC Corp. (Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C....
September 1, 2013
Cement manufacturing is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions due to two factors: carbon dioxide is released when calcium carbonate calcines to lime (CaO) in the cement manufacturing process; and cement kilns are operated at temperatures of 1,500°C, which requires significant fuel consumption. Cement is the agent that binds sand and crushed rock together to form concrete. Solidia Technologies...
September 1, 2013
The selective, one-step biocatalytic hydroxylation of benzene to phenol — at ambient pressure and temperature — has been demonstrated by professors Yoshihito Watanabe and Osamu Shoji at Nagoya University (Nagoya, Japan; The achievement was made using a wild-type of Cytochrome P450BM3 with the simple addition of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) as decoy molecules...
September 1, 2013
Solar steam The Middle East’s first solar enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) project was recently commissioned by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO; Muscat, Oman; The project uses Enclosed Trough technology from GlassPoint (Fremont, Calif.; to produce an average of 50 ton/d of steam that feeds directly into existing thermal EOR operations at PDO’s Amal West field in...
September 1, 2013
Although the inactivation of bacteria by high-power ultrasound has been extensively studied, the relationship between the effectiveness of ultrasound to inactivate bacteria and their physico-chemical properties is not yet well understood, says Muthupandian Ashokkumar, professor at the University of Melbourne (Australia; Hence, a team from the University of Auckland (New Zealand...
September 1, 2013
Launched this month at drinktec (Trade Fair for the Beverage and Liquid Food Industry; September 16–20; Munich, Germany), Eco-IcePush is a new technology for recovering products during equipment purging, and is being offered by GEA Process Engineering A/S (Søborg, Denmark), a business segment of GEA Group AG (Düsseldorf, Germany; The Eco-IcePush service requires no capital...
September 1, 2013
Many investigations are ongoing to achieve ammonia synthesis at energy-saving mild conditions instead of the high temperatures and pressures (500°C, 300 atm) required by the commonly used Haber-Bosch process, which consumes more than 1% of the world’s power production. Now, Zhamin Hou, Takanori Shima and...
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