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December 1, 2006
Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL; Richland, Wash.; and their collaborators have discovered that certain microorganisms can be stimulated to bind uranium from soil when served ethanol for an hour per day. The microbes could be used to immobilize...
November 1, 2006
Last September, on-specification, polymer-grade ethylene was produced by the first grassroots unit to utilize an ethylene recovery technology that was jointly developed by ABB Lummus Global (Bloomfield, N.J.; and the China Petroleum &...
November 1, 2006
  A promising method for producing hydrogen involves the gasification of biomass with steam. To enhance the concentration of H₂ in the ensuing mixture of combustible gases, a carbon dioxide sorbent can be used in situ; calcium oxide is commonly used. A research team from the Laboratory for Sustainable Technology, at the University of Sydney’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering...
November 1, 2006
Last September, construction commenced on the world's first commercial-scale hydrogen peroxide, propylene oxide (HPPO) plant at the Antwerp, Belgium, site of BASF AG (Ludwigshafen, Germany; The 300,000 m.t./yr facility is a joint venture of BASF and Dow Chemical...
November 1, 2006
Cellulose accounts for about 40% of the planet’s total photosynthesis yield (about 1.8 trillion m.t./yr), but the material has not been fully utilized as a chemical resource so far. That’s because the methods currently available for converting cellulose into useful chemicals have drawbacks, such as: low activity, for degradation by enzymes; poor selectivity and difficult separations, for...
November 1, 2006
ExxonMobil Chemical Technology Licensing LLC (Houston, Tex.; has commercialized its new Olgone technology, a catalyst-based process for removing olefins from aromatic streams. If not removed, such olefinic...
November 1, 2006
Over the last three years, DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; has been developing technology to break down the complex sugar matrix of corn stover as a means for making ethanol from cellulose in high yield. Although there is more research to be completed, the company is ready to take the next step to bring cellulosic ethanol to market...
November 1, 2006
GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, U.K.; and BAC B.V. (Naarden, Netherlands; are collaborating to develop new affinity-ligand...
October 1, 2006
    Provided that they are updated when appropriate to keep them relevant, time-tested heuristics rules based upon experience, also referred to as rules of thumb, can be useful for the design, specifying and operation of several kinds of equipment used in process plants. The first and foremost heuristic rule is that the engineer should not shy away from using heuristics - and the second rule is...
October 1, 2006
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arlington, Va.) has awarded $5.7 million to a two-company consortium to develop an inexpensive and energy-efficient process for making titanium metal powder. Such powders can be used to make strong, lightweight objects, such as armor...
October 1, 2006
Since February, Lonza Singapore Pte. Ltd. has been using a new I-400 catalyst in a Isomar unit at its Singapore plant, which produces pure isophthalic acid (an intermediate for making resins). The I-400 catalyst was developed by UOP LLC (Des Plains, Ill.; UOP also...
October 1, 2006
Chemists at Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.; have discovered a silylation catalyst that attaches a silicon atom to an alcohol group not only with high selectivity...
October 1, 2006
Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( have developed a catalyst that uses hydrogen to efficiently destroy harmful perchlorate in contaminated groundwater. The catalyst is composed of palladium and rhenium supported on activated carbon. The rhenium removes an oxygen atom from the perchlorate...
October 1, 2006
      Biomass has come center stage in the pursuit of reduced dependence on finite - not to mention geopolitically sensitive - quantities of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas. And while ethanol produced from corn is one promising path for biomass, it is by no means the only one. The number of known viable raw materials is vast, and the assortment of feasible downstream...
October 1, 2006
Richard Milner, a Honary Fellow at CSIRO Entomology (Canberra, Australia;, has developed a rare native fungus, Metarhizium, into an environmentally friendly control for grass-hopper-type (including locust) agricultural pests. Metarhizium is a naturally occurring soil fungus that is...
October 1, 2006
Stefan Jaronoski, an insect pathologist at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (Sidney, Mont....
October 1, 2006
Researchers from 34 institutions from around the world have completed the first DNA sequence for a tree, the black cottonwood or Populus trichocarpa (poplar). This poplar's...
October 1, 2006
Plant physiologist Cynthia Henson and colleagues at the ARS Cereal Crops Research Unit (Madison, Wisc.; have designed three...
October 1, 2006
Construction is underway on what is said to be the world's largest hydrogen chloride recycling plant, for Bayer MaterialScience AG (BMS; Leverkusen, Germany; When the unit starts up in 2008 at the Shanghai, China site, it will produce 215,000 m.t./yr of Cl₂ from HCl; this will be the first large-scale application of oxygen-depolarized cathode (ODC) technology. The HCl for the...
September 1, 2006
ADA-ES, Inc. (Littleton, Colo.; has been awarded a contract from the U.S. DOE to develop an improved process for manufacturing activated carbon (AC). AC is the key chemical used in ADA-ES’s mercury-control technology (CE, December 2004, p. 18)...
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