Archives :: Chementator :: Process Technology

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February 1, 2013
Composite liquid and slurry boiler fuels have been produced from mixtures of various waste materials, such as biomass, coal- and crude-oil-processing residues, wood and other combustible substances, in a collaboration between researchers at the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.) and Podgorny Institute (Kharkov, Ukraine). The researchers have formed a company, InEnergy LLC (Naples, Fla....
February 1, 2013
Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Ames Laboratory (Ames, Iowa; led by Ryan Ott have developed a process for recovering rare-earth (RE) metals from magnet scraps. The process involves first crushing neodymium-iron-boron magnet scraps and placing the pieces in a stainless steel crucible, to which chunks of magnesium metal are added. The apparatus is heated in a...
January 1, 2013
Plans are underway to field-test a process that removes more than 90 % of the carbon dioxide from power-plant flue gas, while reducing both the energy input and operating costs by 50 % compared to conventional amine-based CO2-scrubbing technology. The so-called carbonate-looping process has undergone four years of testing in a 1 MWth pilot plant at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany...
January 1, 2013
A small-scale ceramic membrane reactor to convert natural gas to transportable liquids in a single step is being developed by Ceramatec, Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah; under a $1.7-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA, Washington, D.C.; The goal is to monetize the...
January 1, 2013
Under an ARPA contract Gas Technology Institute (GTI, Des Plaines, Ill.; is developing a process to convert natural gas directly into methanol and hydrogen. The process is much simpler and more efficient than the...
December 1, 2012
A demonstration plant for the production of acetic acid from the carbon dioxide in industrial offgases will be built at an operating plant of Petronas (Kuala Lumpur;, Malaysia’s national oil company, under an agreement with LanzaTech (Roselle, Ill.;, developer of the process. Scheduled for startup in late 2013, the plant will be similar in size to a...
December 1, 2012
The volume of heavy, sour crude oil processed by North American refineries is steadily increasing, and along with it a commensurate demand for hydrogen to upgrade that oil. A steam-reforming process that would allow refiners to produce their own H2 from heavy oil and residuum is being developed by TDA Research, Inc. (Wheat Ridge, Colo.; Currently, refiners make a lot of their own hydrogen by...
November 1, 2012
Japan Blue Energy Co. (JBEC; Tokyo, Japan;, Daiwa Lease Co., Toyota Tsusho Corp., and Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. have established the Business Research Group of Hydrogen Innovation Town (BRG-HIT) to start verification tests for a new technology for making hydrogen from biomass and sewage sludge. Construction on the world’s first biomass-to-H2 plant began October 2011 at Idex Eco Energy...
November 1, 2012
Aither Chemicals LLC (South Charleston, W.Va.; is planning to build a commercial-scale plant based on a catalytic ethane-cracking process that uses 80% less energy and generates 60% less carbon dioxide than conventional steam-cracking of ethane.  The company has refined a mixed metal-oxide catalyst that was originally developed by Union Carbide in the 1980s. The catalyst...
October 1, 2012
Air Fuel Synthesis Ltd. (AFS; Darlington, U.K.; has recently demonstrated a process for producing carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon (HC) fuel from air-captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The proof-of-concept demonstration facility, located at Teesside, England produces 5–10 L/d of liquid HCs. The next step of the company’s three-year (2012–2015)...
August 1, 2012
Two dissimilar iron-making methods — a conventional blast furnace using coke from coal, and gas-based direct reduction of iron ore — are combined in a process being developed by Midrex Technologies, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.; and Praxair Inc. (Danbury, Conn.; Designed to use offgases from the coke-making operation in integrated steel mills, the process offers three...
August 1, 2012
The production rate (per amount of catalyst) for generating liquid hydrocarbons from syngas by the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process, using a slurry reactor or tubular reactor, is generally limited to about 30% of the maximum rate. The restraining factor is heat removal from the highly exothermic reaction, says Steven Vallee, chemical applications engineer for Chart Energy & Chemicals Inc. (La Crosse...
July 1, 2012
Technology originally developed for dewatering algae has shown success in separating hydrocarbons from produced water that results from oil and gas drilling. The method could be used in treating produced water for onsite re-use as hydraulic fracturing fluid. To harvest oil from algae, OriginOil Inc. (Los Angeles, Calif.; developed an electroflocculation...
May 1, 2012
The technology surrounding a hydrolysis- and fermentation-based process that is capable of utilizing municipal solid waste (MSW) and biomass waste to produce cellulosic bioethanol at low cost is now available for licensing from its developer, TMO Renewables Ltd. (Guildford, U.K.; Several of the cost-saving measures depend on the capabilities of a heat-loving bacterium that has been...
May 1, 2012
A novel cold-dry process makes possible the utilization of fine form-factor silicon, such as granules and sand-like fines, in the production of high-purity polysilicon for solar photovoltaic cells and semiconductors, where such fine-grained material would normally have to be sent back up the supply chain rather than into the crucible. The patent-pending drying system, known as FlashDry, was developed by...
May 1, 2012
Recovery boilers, in which pulp and paper companies burn spent black liquor from the kraft pulping process to recover and recycle sodium and sulfur, are a bottleneck in many paper mills. The reason is that they operate at their upper limit of heat flux into the boiler tubes, thus preventing an increase in the mills’ output, explains John Blackburn, co-founder of Liquid Lignin Co. (LLC, Charleston...
April 1, 2012
A distillation process that consumes 85% less energy than traditional methods has been demonstrated by researchers from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science ( and Nippon Steel Engineering (NSE, both Tokyo, The technique, which involves the incorporation of a compressor for self-heat recuperation (exergy recuperation), was first...
April 1, 2012
A process to make polylactic acid (PLA) that requires no solvent or metal catalyst has been developed by Ricoh Co. (Ricoh; Tokyo,, in cooperation with Shizuoka University. Ricoh’s continuous PLA process is based on a commercially available organic catalyst (1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]-7-undecene), the supercritical (SC) CO2 technology of professor Takeshi Sako and the organic reaction...
March 1, 2012
Outotec Oyj (Espoo, Finland; has introduced a new partial roasting process to purify copper and gold concentrates that are contaminated with arsenic, antimony and carbon. The process is a pretreatment stage for Cu- and Au-extraction plants, and enables the extraction of metals from ores that had previously been unattractive because the impurities create a “huge problem” of...
March 1, 2012
Earlier this year, the first polylactic acid (PLA) plant based on a new polymerization process was put into service by Synbra Technology in Etten Leur, the Netherlands. The plant — capable of producing up to 5,000 ton/yr of PLA — was built by Sulzer Chemtech Ltd. (Winterthur, Switzerland;, and uses a PLA process jointly developed by Sulzer Chemtech and Purac (Gorinchem...
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