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October 1, 2011
When it comes to fixed gas-detection devices, there are a lot of choices available. And, wise chemical processors do not select this essential safety equipment based on price. Instead, for areas of the plant that require continuous monitoring for loss prevention and personnel protection, fixed gas-detection systems are chosen based upon reliability, flexibility and maintainability.   Figure 1...
October 1, 2011
Velocys Inc. (Plain City, Ohio;, a part of the Oxford Catalyst Group (Abingdon, U.K.;, has been awarded the Kirkpatrick Award for Chemical Engineering Achievement from Chemical Engineering. The company’s winning technology features microchannel reactors for producing synthetic fuels. The award was announced at a reception September 12 in Houston. The...
September 1, 2011
Mobility as a “megatrend” has recently become the latest buzz-word, and synthetic rubber producers are boosting production capacities to meet the anticipated demand for more tires. At the same time, high fuel prices and increasing concern for the environment are driving innovations in rubber to make tires more fuel-efficient (see box on p. 19). Meanwhile, efforts to find more efficient ways to...
September 1, 2011
For years it has been the common practice to treat process water with various chemistries to prevent scale, corrosion and microbiologicals. However, as regulatory issues tighten, water scarcity becomes a growing concern and the cost of treatment chemicals increases, chemical processors are finding that stringent treatment chemicals are not the only answer. Instead, they’re relying upon a multi-prong...
August 1, 2011
The often-uttered phrase, “Keep your eyes on the prize,” couldn’t be more relevant than it is in the chemical process industries (CPI) where process optimization via inline analysis is key to producing product within specifications (specs), reducing waste, increasing efficiency and boosting safety. “The advantage of inline analysis is that it provides instant feedback about...
August 1, 2011
The realization that our natural resources are not endless, and that we need to focus on sustainability is driving technology and its supporting funds toward new choices. In the chemical process industries (CPI), engineers are looking for alternatives to the traditional fossil-fuel-based chemistries, and are developing innovative bio-based routes to meet our needs. There is much evidence of this shift to a...
July 1, 2011
As demand for basic metals grows, engineers and scientists are looking for new ways to extract these elements from ores. “The easy stuff has already been found and processed. One of the main challenges of mining and minerals processing companies is now the economical processing of low-grade ores”, says Steve Rogers, managing director of the Parker Center for Integrated Metallurgy Solutions...
July 1, 2011
For years, clay has been the go-to product for spill containment simply because it was cheap and did the job. While clay, also referred to as diatomaceous earth, sand or kitty litter, will always have a place in in spill containment, if it’s the only product being used to clean up hazardous and other spills, it could be costing your facility more than you realize. With more modern options available...
June 1, 2011
As engineers in the chemical process industries (CPI) are pressed harder to meet deadlines in the workplace, the amount of information available to them in their field is growing at an exponential pace. To address the situation, chemistry- and engineering-oriented information resources are developing tools and systems that offer opportunities to process information more efficiently and interact with...
June 1, 2011
When it comes to distillation trays and packing, chemical processors require the same criteria they seek from all equipment in this tight economy — technology that will reduce energy use and boost throughput without costly facility expansion. In an effort to meet these needs, tray and packing specialists are improving existing technologies and launching a whole new generation of trays designed to...
May 1, 2011
Motorists filling up at U.S. gasoline stations these days may think that petroleum refiners are making good profits, but it depends on where the station gets its fuel. The industry is plagued by overcapacity and is concerned about government regulations that call for greater use of renewable fuels and tougher pollution control. The National Petrochemical & Refiners Assn. (NPRA, Washington, D.C....
May 1, 2011
As chemical processors continue their quest to process more with less equipment, they are seeking reactors capable of helping with this endeavor. For this reason, many are turning to continuous flow reactors because they provide scaleability and flexibility. However, vendors of specialty batch reactors are making every effort to provide these same characteristics in their models, as well. As a result...
April 1, 2011
  The chemical process industries (CPI) are looking for ways to decrease and control costs, and mixing operations are not exempt from this belt tightening. But because mixing is vital to most chemical processes, it can’t be eliminated. As a result, processors are clamoring for mixing equipment that provides more functionality so they can perform more tasks with less equipment.  Figure 1...!_7745.html
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...
March 1, 2011
Process plant operators continuously face the pressure of having to increase productivity by improving equipment reliability and plant availability, a goal seemingly at odds with the everyday realities of decreased operating budgets, rising energy costs and increasing operations costs. And, when it comes to energy consumption and maintenance costs, chemical process pumps are possibly the most notorious...
March 1, 2011
The production of biotechnology-based chemicals, while still a niche operation in terms of global chemical production, is demonstrating double-digit growth, says a recent SRI Consulting report*. Enabled by rapid advances in industrial biotechnology and significant increases in the price of crude oil over recent years, the number of biotechnology-based chemicals within the sights of commercial producers is...
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.; 2010 Worldwide Gasification Database. With 48 new plants (93 gasifiers) planned or under construction in the period 2011–2016, the global...
February 1, 2011
Given the state of the still-lagging economy, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the chemical process industries (CPI) are attempting to get more finished product from their existing processes at lower costs. As a result, many are examining their liquid-to-solid separation operations with hopes of eking out additional product and savings. And, it appears that more robust and versatile automated...
January 1, 2011
 Figure 1. Experts anticipate the new EPA standards regarding SO2 will likely increase capital and engineering costs SOLVAir Solutions Last June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.) strengthened the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide by establishing a new one-hour standard at a level of 75 parts per billion (ppb). Previous primary...
December 1, 2010
As level is a critical parameter for those in the chemical process industries (CPI), level measurement instrumentation has been around for some time. But as processors scramble to become more efficient, reduce waste, control inventory and abide by environmental regulations, level measurement has become even more important. As a result, device manufacturers are improving existing technologies with...
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