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March 15, 2008
Fuel cells and hydrogen economy are inevitably used in the same breath when talking about clean power and ways to wean us from our addiction to carbon-based fuels. That’s because H2 -based fuel cells make electricity and heat with only water in the exhaust. Unfortunately, realistic assessments of the current situation conclude that it will be awhile — perhaps decades — before hydrogen...
March 15, 2008
Synfuels International, Inc. (Dallas, Tex.; plans to commercialize its patented gas-to-liquids (GTL) process in Kuwait through a newly formed partnership with Kuwait’s Aref Energy Holding ( In contrast with Fischer-Tropsch technology, the process produces a high-octane gasoline blend, rather than waxy paraffins for diesel fuel. Within two years, the...
March 15, 2008
Next month, Taiyo Kagaku Co. (Yokkaichi, Japan; will start up a 20-m.t./yr plant — said to be the world’s first — for the production of mesoporous silica. Taiyo Kagaku developed the new production process based on technology first introduced by Toyota Central R&D Laboratories, Inc. (Aichi, Japan; CE, April 2004, p. 17). The commercial grade mesoporous silica...
March 15, 2008
Ateam of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (ANL, Argonne, Ill.; has developed a membrane capable of producing olefins from alkanes, and reducing wasted energy and pollutants while improving selectivity and yield. Steam cracking, or pyrolysis, has long been the widespread production method for olefins including ethylene, propylene, and...
March 15, 2008
SulphCo, Inc. (Houston, Tex.; has signed an agreement with Pt. Isis Megah (Isis; an Indonesian oil-and-gas services company), which grants Isis an exclusive...
January 15, 2008
Toyo Engineering Corp. (TEC; Narashino, Japan;, Modec Inc. (Tokyo, both Japan) and Velocys Inc., (Plain City, Ohio) have agreed to jointly develop a commercial gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant to be installed on a mobile platform or ship for monetizing small-to-medium sized natural gas fields. The project has the potential to utilize more than 3,000-trillion ft3 of natural gas that is...
January 15, 2008
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI; Tokyo, Japan; is marketing a new process that captures carbon dioxide from flue gas (FG) for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The KM-CDR process uses a proprietary amine-based solvent (KS-1) in a packed column to absorb and regenerate CO2 with less energy than conventional CO2 -recovery processes and with "far less" solvent loss...
January 15, 2008
A prototype solar reactor that will break carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen, or split water into hydrogen and oxygen, will be started up this spring by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, N.M.; The ultimate goal of the so-called "Sunshine to Petrol" project is to recycle sequestered CO2 and combine the CO product with H2 to synthesize...
January 15, 2008
Rentech, Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.; will build its first commercial synthetic fuels plant, using the company’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, near Natchez, Miss. The plant will gasify locally purchased petroleum coke or barged-in coal, along with at least 5% biomass. The resultant syngas of H 2 and CO will be converted to straight-chain waxy...
January 15, 2008
UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; has partnered with the University of Southern California’s (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute (Los Angeles...
November 15, 2007
Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Co., a 50:50 joint venture of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Dhahran, both Saudi Arabia) and Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan;, is constructing a new plant to produce 200,000 m.t./yr of propylene oxide (PO). When the plant starts up next year, it will be the second commercial plant to use a byproduct-free process...
November 12, 2007
Axens (Rueil-Malmaison, France; has recently been awarded several major basic engineering design packages and technology licenses for new, clean-fuels programs with Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IndianOil; The contracts are for the following refineries: Guwahati, Barauni, Mathura, Digboi, Panipat, and Paradip refineries. Commissioning of the units is scheduled for 2010 when the Euro...
September 1, 2007
Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.;, which has been producing chemicals via coal gasification (flowsheet) since 1983, will build a $l.6-billion plant in Beaumont, Tex., that will roughly quintuple the size of its current production of chemicals from synthesis gas. The company plans to share ownership 50–50 with a financial equity investor. Scheduled for startup in 2011, the...
September 1, 2007
In order to confirm the performance of its proprietary, high-severity fluid-catalytic-cracking (HS-FCC) process, Nippon Oil Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; plans to build a new confirmation-test plant at its Mizushima, Japan, refinery. The unit will have a treating capacity of 3,000 bbl/d when it starts operating in 2010 as part of a joint research project conducted by Petroleum...
July 1, 2007
    Piping design is the job of configuring the physical aspects of pipe and components in an effort to conform with piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), fluid-service requirements, associated material specifications, equipment-data sheets, and current good manufacturing practices (GMP) while meeting owner expectations. All of this must be accomplished within a pre-determined...
May 1, 2007
Last month, Air Liquide S.A. (Paris; acquired Lurgi AG (Frankfurt, Germany) from the GEA Group AG (Bochum, Germany; Although subject to...
April 1, 2007
It's a simple matter of fact: a chemical process plant operates by the products and services of numerous - and, unavoidably, competing - vendors. Since the resulting compatibility issues only hamper productivity, vendors, EPC firms and owner/operators alike tried to put their differences aside to address interoperability, at this year's DaratechPlant (Houston; January 29-31; Standardization...
April 1, 2007
    Free trade agreements, global manufacturing standards and the Internet have made it possible for companies to do business in countries they would not have considered 20 years ago. Open is a world of opportunity, but for processors of pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and other materials that must meet high standards of product purity and performance, the competition is stiffer than ever as...
March 1, 2007
  The preparation of a unit for restart requires complex and systematic approach. A plant restart project is traditionally composed of four steps: 1. A detailed unit-status evaluation 2. Preparation for onsite work 3. Major onsite work, which involves significant expenses for personnel, supply, equipment renting and contractors 4. Restart of the plant, which focuses on bringing the unit online. Upon...
March 1, 2007
Stone & Webster International, a business unit of the Shaw Group Inc. (Baton Rouge, La.;, has formed a joint venture with...
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