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January 1, 2014
A high-throughput method for synthesizing ionic-liquid-containing electrolytes developed by Boulder Ionics Corp. (Arvada, Colo.; has been refined to enable its use in commercial production. Boulder Ionics had previously piloted the continuous process for producing advanced ionic-liquid (IL) electrolytes at high purity and low cost for use in next-generation batteries and...
January 1, 2014
Offgases containing compounds of chlorine or fluorine are typically burned to enable the recovery of HCl or HF and prevent release into the environment. However, conventional combustion chambers require a long time to heat up, and thus are typically run continuously to prevent...
January 1, 2014
Extraction of palm oil generates large amounts of lignocellulose-rich byproduct known as empty fruit bunch (EFB), which is usually wasted. A new process for utilizing this waste to make lactic acid has been developed by a team of researchers in Singapore. Up to now, it has been difficult to find cost-effective processes for the production of L-lactic acid, which has inhibited the commercial production of...
January 1, 2014
Professor Takao Masuda and colleagues at Hokkaido University (Sapporo;, in collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Idemitsu; Tokyo; both Japan;, have developed a two-step process that converts wood-based lignin into phenols...
January 1, 2014
An Australian team has implemented several changes to the conventional organic rankine cycle, resulting in a highly efficient regenerative thermodynamic cycle for producing electricity from waste heat and other thermal sources. The University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Center for Energy (, led by professor Behdad Moghtaderi and working with Granite Power Ltd. (Sydney...
January 1, 2014
A metal-free catalyst system involving ionic liquids and doped carbon nanofibers can efficiently reduce carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, offering a cost-effective electrochemical route from CO2 to synthesis gas (syngas), and further, to liquid transportation fuels. A research group at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC;, led by Amin Salehi-Khojin, demonstrated that graphite-like...
January 1, 2014
A new method for removing uranium and other heavy metals (HMs) from wastewater has been developed by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu; The technology has been licensed by Oy Chemec AB (Espoo, Finland;, which plans to commercialize the technology under the tradename CH Collector. Conventional methods for removing HM from water typically require adding...
January 1, 2014
  Sludge dewatering Last month, Metso Corp. (Helsinki, Finland; introduced what it claims to be the worlds first advanced solution — both measurements and control system — to optimize sludge dewatering at wastewater treatment plants. The Metso SDO (sludge dewatering optimizer) uses Metso measurements and an advanced control application, which is said to be essential for...
January 1, 2014
A stabilized palladium catalyst system that can be used for making materials for organic solar cells and pharmaceuticals has been developed by the research groups of of Yoichi Yamada at Riken (Wako city; and Shigenori Fujikawa at the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), Kyushu University (Fukuoka City, both Japan; The catalyst features...
December 1, 2013
A new process for producing monoethylene glycol (MEG) from synthesis-gas-based feedstocks is nearing completion of extensive pilot plant operation, according to developers Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; and Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies Ltd. (London, U.K.; The technology enables MEG production from a variety of...
December 1, 2013
Low-grade nickel (less than 1.5 wt.%) laterite ores represent about 70% of global reserves but account for only 40% of nickel production. Increasing demand for nickel in recent years has created the need to process such ores. Atmospheric acid leaching of these ores presents difficulties due to the presence of high-acid-consuming serpentinized and clay minerals, leading to pulp gelation and poor mixing, and...
December 1, 2013
Pilot plant operation has been completed for a process that produces the fertilizer potassium sulfate from the mineral polyhalite, a hydrated sulfate of potassium, magnesium and calcium. The process, developed by Intercontinental Potash Corp. (ICP; Golden, Colo.;, resurrects a route to K2SO4 that was first explored in a push to develop a domestic source of potash after a German embargo in...
December 1, 2013
The National Food Research Institute (NFRI) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO; Tsukuba City, Japan; has developed an enzymatic pretreatment process for producing highly concentrated sugar solution from fibrous materials containing rice straw and starch. The process can be used for producing specific sugar solutions, depending on the local raw materials...
December 1, 2013
Construction of a large-scale waste-to-energy plant will start in the middle of next year in Port Hedland, Western Australia, and operation is scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2015. The plant will be built by the New Energy Corp. (Perth;, and will employ low-temperature gasification technology invented and developed by Western Australian company Entech Renewable...
December 1, 2013
Last month, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI; and Tokyo Gas Co. (both Tokyo, Japan; began marketing a jointly developed 1,000-kW gas-engine cogeneration system. Based on the conventional 930-kW system, the new systems engine operates at a reduced speed (1,000 rpm instead of 1,500 rpm), so the wear-rate of components is reduced. This leads to a...
December 1, 2013
  Acetic acid from syngas A new process for the production of acetic acid claims to be more efficient and cost-effective than current technologies. Carbonylation of methanol has been the leading acetic acid technology for several decades, but BP plc (London, U.K.; has introduced the new three-step SaaBre process to produce acetic acid directly from synthesis gas (syngas; a mixture of H2...
December 1, 2013
The effluent discharged by domestic industries in Japan amounts to approximately 11.1 billion ton/yr. Most of this waste is comprised of relatively low concentrations of organic matter. Today, most of this effluent is treated by aerobic biotreatment (activated sludge). However, activated sludge treatment not only consumes large amounts of electric power needed to run blowers or fans, but it also produces...
December 1, 2013
A research team from the University of Western Australia (Perth;, led by professor Dongke Zhang, has pioneered the application of higher plants for new-generation biofuel production. Metabolic engineering of Arabidopsis thaliana — a small flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, which was the first plant to have its genome sequenced — caused the plant to produce triterpene...
December 1, 2013
Petroleum refineries generate power from a number of sources, including cogeneration plants and steam networks. Generally, steam networks use turbines to improve operational reliability, specifically as drivers for rotating equipment. Due to increasing energy costs, it is essential to maximize the power-generation capabilities of steam networks. This article presents a spreadsheet-based optimization model...
November 1, 2013
Harvest Power (Waltham, Mass.; recently began operation of the first commercial-scale, high-solids anaerobic digester in North America. The facility produces biogas from food waste and yard waste in Richmond, B.C., Canada. “The anaerobic digester employs essentially the same biology that you would see in the stomachs of...
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