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January 7, 2009
Genencor (Palo Alto, Calif.;, a division of Danisco A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark; and Brain AG (Zwingenberg, Germany;, have joined forces in the field of the bio-based fermentative production of industrially relevant biochemicals from renewable raw materials. Genencor will use its extensive capabilities in metabolic pathway engineering and...
January 1, 2009
Here, a design approach for continuous stirred-tank reactors is outlined for both reversible and irreversible second-order reactions Multiple CSTRs (continuous stirred-tank reactors) are advantageous in situations where the reaction is slow; two immiscible liquids are present and require higher agitation rates; or viscous liquids are present that require high agitation rates. Unlike in plug-flow reactors...
December 17, 2008
Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany;, has started building a catalyst manufacturing plant, for producing precious-metal powder catalysts, in Shanghai, China. The plant will start operation in the fourth quarter of 2009. Precious-metal powder catalysts are used in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and industrial chemicals, where performance criteria such as high selectivity...
December 1, 2008
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Tokyo; has developed a plate-in-frame reactor for performing oxidation reactions, such as for the partial oxidation of propane to form acrylic acid. Because of the reactor’s enhanced heat transfer to the catalyst — sandwiched between the plates — the reactor size can be as small as...
November 4, 2008
To further strengthen its presence and services to clients in Latin America, Haldor Topsøe (, a supplier of heterogeneous cataysis and process supplies has opened a subsidiary in Argentina...øe-subsidiary-in-Latin-America_4326.html
November 1, 2008
Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany; has commercialized a new gasifier design, the Prenflo (pressurized entrained-flow) with Direct Quench (PDQ) process, which is an optimized design of its Prenflo PSG gasification process for applications requiring hydrogen-rich syngas generation (ammonia, methanol, H2, liquid fuels and IGCC power plants with carbon capture and storage). PDQ combines the dry feed...
November 1, 2008
Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim, Germany; have demonstrated that solid acids are powerful catalysts for the hydrolysis of cellulose dissolved in an ionic liquid. Even the cellulose fraction of wood, which is predominantly lignocellulose, can be hydrolyzed by the technique, says Ferdi Schüth, leader of the institute’s...
November 1, 2008
Researchers at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China; and the University of Delaware (Newark; are developing a tungsten-carbide/nickel catalyst that degrades cellulose into polyols at 245°C and 60 atm. The catalyst is believed to facilitate hydrolysis and hydrogenation...
November 1, 2008
Researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; Tsukuba, Japan;, and the University of Tokyo have developed new photocatalysts that are more efficient at decomposing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than the commonly used titanium dioxide. The catalysts — tungsten trioxide promoted with palladium or copper — decompose VOCs, such as...
October 15, 2008
A method for identifying less-expensive catalysts, compared to commercial, precious-metal-based ones, is starting to deliver results by researchers at the Center for Atomic-scale Materials Design, Dept. of Physics, Technical University of Denmark (CAMD; Lyngby; and their collaborators. The computer-aided method ultimately generates a plot of cost-of-metal versus heat of adsorption for the...
October 15, 2008
In order to make ethanol from cellulose, the polysaccharide must first be broken down into sugars (saccharrified) that can be fermented. Normally, this hydrolysis reaction is catalyzed by sulfuric acid or enzymes. However, H2SO4 -based hydrolysis generates spent acid, which has to be separated and regenerated before recycling; and enzyme-driven methods have long reaction times and require pretreatment to...
October 15, 2008
Azotobacter are nitrogen-fixing bacteria that do a useful job in soil by converting N 2 to ammonia. As a side reaction they also produce hydrogen, most of which they oxidize for their own energy consumption. In a project of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Unit (USDA; and North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.), scientists have...
September 15, 2008
Ehrfeld Mikrotechnik BTS GmbH (EMB), a subsidiary of Bayer Technology Services GmbH (BTS; Leverkusen, Germany;, has signed a production-and-marketing agreement with Xytel Inc. (Spartanburg, S.C.; to introduce microreactor...
September 15, 2008
A new metal carbide F-T catalyst has been developed by Oxford Catalysts Limited (Oxford, U.K., for making second-generation biofuel in small-scale microchannel reactors. The catalyst was produced...
July 15, 2008
Axens (Rueil-Malmaison, France; has commercialized its new Resid Fluid Catalytic Cracking (RFCC) PetroRiser technology for the production of high yields of propylene. This new resid-to-propylene technology is part of the FCC Alliance between Axens, The Shaw Group, Inc. (Baton Rouge, La.), Total S.A. (Paris) and IFP...
July 15, 2008
Alkylglyceryl ethers (AGEs) are biodegradable nonionic surfactants with excellent foaming and moisturizing properties. Up to now, AGEs have been made in batch reactors whereby the corresponding alkyl glycidyl ether (GE) is hydrolyzed in a solvent (alcohol or ethyleneglycol monoalkyl ether) with a homogeneous acid or base as a catalyst. Such conventional routes leave catalyst residue and solvent in the product...
July 15, 2008
A simple, fast and clean process to make esters without a catalyst is being developed by Chemicrea Inc. (Tokyo; with the support of New Energy & Industrial Technology Development Organization (Kawasaki), and Gifu University (Gifu, all Japan). The process uses microwaves to continuously drive off the water byproduct, thereby shifting the reaction equilibrium to the right...
July 15, 2008
The use of palladium on carbon powder supports (Pd-CP) has traditionally been a commercially viable means of catalyzing deprotection reactions, despite also requiring substantive quantities of precious metal and limiting the selection of solvents due to low hydrogenation activity. However, with a new series of Pd-CP catalysts, BASF’s catalyst division (Iselin, N.J.; has...
July 15, 2008
BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; has developed a new class of enzymes, called enoate reductases, which can be...
June 15, 2008
A system for controlling oxides-of-nitrogen (NOx) emissions from catalyst regenerators in fluid catalytic crackers (FCCs) has cut NOx output to below 40 ppm (and as low as 25 ppm under certain conditions) in its first commercial installation, according to its developer, Shell Global Solutions (Houston, Tex.; This compares with about 20 ppm for selective catalytic reduction (SCR)...
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