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November 1, 2010
Much attention over the past two years has been focused on alternative energy and green chemistry. So it is particularly appropriate that Chemical Engineering’s (CE) 2010 Personal Achievement Award recognizes two individuals with expertise in those fields. Last month, at an award ceremony held at the ChemInnovations Conference and Exhibition in Houston, Tom McGowan, a longtime consultant in biomass...
November 1, 2010
Following the devastating explosion at the Imperial Sugar Co.’s Georgia factory that killed 14 people, injured many more employees and leveled the facility in February 2008, it was determined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA; officials and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB; both Washington, D.C.; that the catastrophe could have been prevented had...
October 1, 2010
As demand for rare-earth metals in a wide range of technology applications continues to increase, efforts to reestablish mining and production of rare-earth elements (REEs) is underway outside China, currently the dominant force in REE production. Future supplies of REEs and the myriad products in which they appear will depend less on absolute geological reserves and global trade politics and more on...
October 1, 2010
To achieve success in today’s marketplace of global competition, chemical processors need to improve productivity while minimizing the total cost of ownership, which requires new measures and concepts. Wireless solutions offer far more benefits than just the elimination of cables and installation costs. Users also profit from more efficient maintenance and greater flexibility and mobility. Wireless...
September 1, 2010
As potential threats continue to make headline news around the world, it is clear that the need for security measures is an ongoing process, and that this process requires vigilance. The chemical process industries (CPI) are considered part of the critical infrastructure in the U.S., and as such are regulated by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS; Washington, D.C.; under the Chemical...
September 1, 2010
Athough the municipal water demand is considerably greater than that of industry, many of the municipal needs are addressed by relatively basic technologies, while industrial requirements can only be met with advanced treatment options. And, as industrial water demands continue to grow due to regulatory restrictions and mandates, water treatment providers are developing innovative desalination...
August 1, 2010
Considering that a large fraction of the synthesis gas (syngas) produced today is made by steam reforming of natural gas, it might seem curious that in some parts of the world, syngas is being converted into substitute natural gas (SNG). Nevertheless, such role reversal is common where coal is abundant and gas is expensive. China, for example, imports most of its gas, either via pipeline from Russia or...
August 1, 2010
In any given chemical processing facility, there may be literally hundreds of operational environments that require protection from excessive pressure. Both rupture disks and pressure relief valves, or the two used in combination, help protect against damage to equipment and injury to personnel. While the basic technology for either type of mechanism has not changed much in recent years, tweaking the...!_5886.html
July 1, 2010
As environmental awareness receives renewed focus in the government, the public and industry, it appears that higher standards will be applied to processors to achieve even higher oxides-of-nitrogen (NOx) removal than in the past. And since selective catalytic reduction (SCR) has been proven to be one of the most efficient systems for NOx removal from high output sources, such as coal-fired power plants...
June 1, 2010
Like other aspects of chemical processing, cooling operations are being closely examined for ways to reduce costs and resource usage. Whether it’s cooling towers or industrial gases, experts say embracing new technologies makes it possible to get more bang for your cooling buck. Cooling technologies Currently, the fleet of cooling towers in the chemical process industries (CPI) is fairly old and a...!_5724.html
June 1, 2010
Given the recent focus on cost control, it’s likely that chemical processors will suffer sticker shock when they learn that industry spends $276 billion annually on corrosion prevention, monitoring and repair. Even more abrasive is the fact that this figure does not include the cost of downtime or accidents resulting from corrosion damage. However, notes Michael McElroy, business development manager...
May 1, 2010
Less than two years ago, U.S. petroleum refiners were in the middle of an expansion and modernization program that was designed to add more than 1-million bbl/d to meet the growing demand for fuels, especially diesel fuel. Much of the investment was for cokers, in anticipation of increasing imports of heavy oil from Mexico, Venezuela and Canada. As it turned out, the demand for petroleum fuels has dropped...
May 1, 2010
Last year (2009) was a record year for U.S. ethanol production, with 200 biorefineries producing an estimated 10.6-billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Assoc. (RFA; Washington, D.C.; in its recently published report, The 2010 Ethanol Industry Outlook. An additional 20-billion gallons of ethanol were produced elsewhere around the globe in 2009 — a 400% increase over...
April 1, 2010
Like most other businesses, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms have felt the pinch of the economic downturn. While EPCs that specialize in building processing plants are optimistic that recent global interest in renewable and bioprocessing projects to create alternative fuels, power and chemicals may fill some of the void, most say they will continue to pursue work in markets where they...
April 1, 2010
A rapid and ongoing expansion of polysilicon production capacity will likely generate an oversupply for the next several years, driving polysilicon manufacturers to further innovate processes and reduce operating costs in preparation for an impending wave of new demand. Drastic price drops experienced in 2009 are expected to continue at a slower pace in 2010, yet polysilicon producers remain poised to...
March 1, 2010
As 2009 came to a close, the U.S. crossed a key milestone in the path toward regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Nearly 10,000 facilities (Figures 1 and 2) — a significant portion of them in the chemical process industries (CPI) — became subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA;; Washington D.C.) Final Mandatory Greenhouse Gases Reporting Rule...
March 1, 2010
Not long ago, single-use bioprocessing equipment, such as disposable bags and tubing, appeared on the scene as an alternative to stainless-steel components for high-purity processing applications. Due to a fistful of benefits — including reduced costs, lower cross-contamination risk and increased flexibility — the use of disposables began to grow into a real trend among high-purity processors...
February 1, 2010
Many reactions, extractions, separations and other operations in the chemical process industries (CPI) involve the use of organic solvents. In addition to handling and disposal issues, organic solvents can pose a number of environmental concerns, such as atmospheric and land toxicity. In many cases, conventional organic solvents are regulated as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, certain...
February 1, 2010
As chemical production shifts to growth regions such as China and India, and moves closer to areas like the Middle East, where there are less expensive sources of feedstocks, North American and European chemical processors are under global pressure to run their plants more efficiently. Throw in the trials and tribulations associated with a poor economy, and it creates an environment where management in...
January 1, 2010
For the better part of a century, chemical process industries (CPI) have depended on catalysts to make their processes viable. Current efforts toward process efficiency and environmental innocuousness have placed more demands on catalysts to produce more with less. Industrial catalyst manufacturers are partners in the effort; they are pursuing several different pathways to maximize their products’...
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