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June 1, 2009
Today, stakeholders seeking to produce platform chemicals from renewable feedstocks are evaluating competing routes — based on, for example, oxidation, reduction, selective bond breaking, selective bond formation, and the selective dehydration of sugars — for breaking down complex starting materials into simpler, more versatile building block molecules. “The focus of this approach is to zero in on a...*_4841.html
June 1, 2009
Because of the difficulties associated with separating it from lignocellulosic feedstocks, “lignin has typically been burned by papermakers to produce process heat or power. This is a tragic waste of a good source of carbon,” says Joseph J. Bozell, associate professor, Biomass Chemistry, Forest Products Center, University of Tennessee (Knoxville). Though challenging, the use of lignin to...*_4842.html
June 1, 2009
Dow is currently building a 770-million-lb/yr train to produce Dowlex linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) in the middle of a sugar cane field in Brazil. Once online, the unit will be the first fully integrated sugar-cane-to-polyethylene complex in the world, according to the company. In the process, sugarcane juice is fermented, centrifuged and distilled to produce ethanol, which is then converted into...*_4843.html
May 1, 2009
Petroleum refiners throughout the world are faced with increasing uncertainty regarding future refining margins, crude prices and project costs. These factors, along with falling demand for refined products, a global recession, and tighter credit markets, are forcing global refiners to reconsider, postpone, or cancel expansion projects. At the same time, mandated reduction of sulfur levels in refined...
May 1, 2009
As it is with all chemical processors, the current economic climate is forcing batch processors to produce more saleable product at a better profit margin from the same assets. Increasing flexibility, reliability and visibility while decreasing batch cycle times via integrated automation systems can help increase throughput and the chance of survival. Staying afloat Figure 1.  Many batch automation...
May 1, 2009
Strategies for extracting more distillate from petroleum to meet the growing demand for diesel fuel constituted a major theme of the recent annual meeting of the National Petrochemical and Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA, Washington D.C.; in San Antonio, Tex. Worldwide, the demand for distillate is expected to increase by more than 5 million bbl/d over the next 10 years, says Richard...
April 14, 2009
Brooks Instrument (Hatfield, Pa.;, a flow measurement and control provider, has acquired Key Instruments, Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Key Instruments is a flowmeter manufacturer that offers precision-machined acrylic, molded-plastic, glass-tube and...
April 1, 2009
As CRTs become an obsolete form of video display technology, recycling their lead-filled glass is increasingly important Earlier this decade, liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma screens surpassed cathode ray tubes (CRTs) as the visual display of choice in computers and televisions. While the production of CRTs has dwindled to nearly nothing, we will still deal with end-of-life (EoL) units for years to...
April 1, 2009
Project management can be a messy, complex issue for all involved parties and, likely, the most hair-raising aspect of all is project handover from the EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contractor to the chemical processor. In the past, this literally involved a truck pulling up with cartons and boxes chock full of engineering documents, drawings, operations manuals and catalogs. From there, the...
April 1, 2009
  The current economic recession has hit trade show attendance especially hard. A number of events for 2009 have been cancelled, while others are implementing contingencies. Discounted registration fees are common, while at least one event offered to cover attendees airfare before finally deciding to postpone altogether. Some of the more resilient organizations are offering the alternative of live...
April 1, 2009
With the exception of Oslo-type crystallizers, the main commercial crystallizers are agitated systems that use an agitator [agitated tank or draft-tube baffle (DTB)] or a circulation pump [forced circulation (FC) crystallizers]. In such systems, however, large crystals become damaged by the pump or impeller, which leads to the generation of fines, says Michel Malfand, president of Crystal Evap consult...
April 1, 2009
Many methods have been developed for the encapsulation of "active" materials within a carrier nanoparticle, such as a polymer. These composite structures can be used in many biomedical, cosmetics, and food processing applications for the controlled release of pharmaceuticals, neutraceuticals, and flavors. However, most of the proposed encapsulation methods developed so far involve multiple steps...
April 1, 2009
Aqueous Recovery Resources, Inc. (ARR; Bedford Hill, NY;, has developed the Suparator, an oil/water separation system that involves no moving parts or media, for low operational costs and minimal maintenance. The separator (diagram) is based on the Bernoulli effect, whereby increased stream velocity in a fluid results in internal pressure reduction, which enables liquids of different...
April 1, 2009
Cambrios Technologies Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.; has formed a strategic partnership with Chisso Corp. ( and Sumitomo Corp. (both Tokyo; for commercialization of Cambrios’ first product, ClearOhm coating material. Targeted for the liquid crystal display (LCD) market, ClearOhm is seen as a solution to some of the problems with the currently...
April 1, 2009
The American Society of Testing Materials (Conshohocken, Pa.; has developed a new standard for measuring viscosity: ASTM D 7483-08, Determination of Dynamic and Kinematic Viscosity of Liquids by Oscillating Piston Viscometer (OPV). The new ASTM method is part of a brand new product line to be launched this month by Cambridge Viscosity (Medford, Mass.; OPVs are...
April 1, 2009
Arkema (Colomes, France; and hte (Heidelberg, Germany; have successfully concluded a research collaboration aimed at identifying new catalysts for the conversion of glycerol — a byproduct of biodiesel production — to acrolein (2-propenal) and acrylic acid. The collaboration, which started last year, utilized hte’s proprietary parallel testing technology...
April 1, 2009
Primary amines are made in high yield by a palladium-catalyzed allylic amination reaction developed by Shu Kobayashi, a chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo (Japan; The reaction uses aqueous ammonia as the nitrogen source — the first time this has ever been achieved, disproving a 30-year old theory that allylic...
April 1, 2009
Last January, Chiral Photonics, Inc. (Pine Brook, N.J.; was awarded $500,000 in a Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF; Washington, D.C.). The grant will be used to develop a new optical-fiber-sensor platform capable of measuring temperature, pressure, strain axial twist, liquid levels and other variables. The company has...
April 1, 2009
ABB Instrumentation (Warminster, Pa.; has cut the cost of installing orifice-plate flowmeters by up to half with the launch of its OriMaster compact orifice DP flowmeter. The latest in the company’s FlowMaster range, the OriMaster comes fully factory configured and pressure tested, solving many of the problems...
April 1, 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, Washington D.C.) plans to set up the first U.S. national system for reporting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The proposal marks the first step toward a program for climate control. "Through this new reporting we will have comprehensive and accurate data...
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