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July 1, 2012
There might be as many categories of catalysts as there are chemical processing applications. And, no matter what the specialty or application, most catalyst producers are in a constant state of research and development in order to meet the demands of their chemical processing customers, as well as to develop innovative catalysts for new applications and growing market areas. Recent efforts of some of the...
June 1, 2012
Throughout the chemical process industries (CPI), the need to drain a tank or process vessel arises. In batch-type plants, it is a regular occurrence and is one factor that affects the total cycle time per batch and ultimately the entire production capacity of the plant itself. Figure 1. In a vertical cylindrical, flat-bottom tank, liquid is flowing into the outlet nozzle (point 1) located at x...
March 1, 2012
Distillation is one of the most extensively used operations in the chemical process industries (CPI). It is a highly energy-intensive unit operation, and continuously rising energy costs make it imperative to look for ways to reduce energy requirements. Some energy-saving configurations can increase capital investment costs, so the benefits need to be weighed carefully. Various techniques, such as heat...
February 1, 2012
Various misconceptions arise when it comes to the thermal design of cooling towers. Sometimes related parameters, such as range, approach, effectiveness, liquid-to-gas ratio ( L/G), wet-bulb temperature, cooling water temperature, relative humidity, number of transfer units (NTU) and other terms create a confusion for the designer in effectively sizing, selecting and evaluating a particular cooling tower...
January 1, 2012
In professional life, the influences that teach us, inspire us and drive us to succeed tend to come more from individuals than corporations. If you would like to bring recognition to someone whose excellence in chemical engineering you admire, consider nominating him or her for Chemical Engineering’s 2012 Personal Achievement Award. The nomination period is now open. The aim of this award, which...
December 1, 2011
Because the benefits are many, roles for simulation software tools exist from planning and design of facilities through operations and everything in between. And thanks to enhancements, it’s becoming easier to use simulation alongside other software packages, while niche simulation tools are making complex processes easier and less expensive to implement. In general, process simulation...
August 1, 2011
Modern industrial-automation systems rely entirely on digital technology, that is, computers. And as is typical of digital products, suppliers love to add features — data collection, alarm management, and so on — that are very useful for process operations but are not process control in the purest sense. This is continuing, the result being that process control systems are evolving to...
June 1, 2011
Scaleup is set for two technologies that facilitate the capture of carbon dioxide from fluegas by substituting oxygen for combustion air. Oxycombustion, as it is called, results in a much smaller fluegas stream, containing up to 90% CO2; part of that is recycled to dilute the O2 and control the combustion temperature. The O2 is entrained in the CO2 stream for injection into the furnace. The companies...
May 1, 2011
Due to their simplicity of construction, lack of moving parts, ability to operate at a wide range of temperatures and pressures, low capital and operating cost, cyclones have been the workhorse for gas-solid separation in a wide variety of industries. If properly designed and installed, cyclones can be used to control particulate emissions as low as 5 microns in size, and sometimes to smaller sizes in...
April 1, 2011
Traditionally, most students have learned about chemical reactions in laboratories using test tubes, beakers and flasks. Those who have gone on to discover and develop new products have typically done so using these batchwise techniques. This mind-set has continued through the piloting and scaleup phase, so that today, many chemical products are produced batchwise in large, continuously stirred reactors...
February 1, 2011
Current industry syngas output has increased by 26% since 2007 — and by 50% since 2004 — reaching a current gasification capacity of 70,817 MWth of syngas output, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE; Washington, D.C.; www.energy.gov) 2010 Worldwide Gasification Database. With 48 new plants (93 gasifiers) planned or under construction in the period 2011–2016, the global...
January 1, 2011
Although plant safety should be a top priority every day, there are certain times when extra vigilance is needed to make sure that safety practices are being maintained. This article outlines three periods deemed to be “critical” for plant safety and specific items to pay attention to in these periods. Three critical periods The following three phases in a production plant’s...
November 1, 2010
When automating fluid handling processes, it is critical to ensure that you are using the best type of pump for the process, and to understand how to control the type of pump you are using. The two major classes of process pumps — centrifugal and rotary positive displacement — require completely different control techniques. It is important to understand each pump type’s limitations, and...
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