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May 1, 2011
Evonik builds surfactants plant in China March 30, 2011 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; is building an integrated production plant for organic specialty surfactants at its site in Shanghai, China. With an investment in the upper double-digit million euro range, the production network is scheduled to begin operation in mid 2013.   … and a new catalyst plant in...
May 1, 2011
Due to their simplicity of construction, lack of moving parts, ability to operate at a wide range of temperatures and pressures, low capital and operating cost, cyclones have been the workhorse for gas-solid separation in a wide variety of industries. If properly designed and installed, cyclones can be used to control particulate emissions as low as 5 microns in size, and sometimes to smaller sizes in...
April 27, 2011
Originally published in the April 1, 1985 issue, this 21 page article contains timeless recommendations for...
April 26, 2011
[Originally published in the May 1995 issue of Chemical Engineering] Cyclone dust collectors have been used - and misused - all over the world for more than 100 years. One reason for the misuse is a common perception among users that all cyclones are ``created equal'' - that is, as long as a cyclone resembles a cylinder with an attached cone, it will do its job. However, to maximize separation efficiency...
April 1, 2011
It was the Dr. James R. Fair Heritage Distillation Symposium at the Chicago AIChE meeting last month. I had decided to finally give a presentation about something that has been bugging me since October 28, 1974, my first day as a practicing chemical engineer. “Regarding distillation trays, I do not believe in entrainment. I believe that I am at least 50% correct.” I had the audience’s...
April 1, 2011
North America 2011 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting. Materials Research Soc. (Warrendale, Pa.). Phone: 724-779-2754; Web: San Francisco, Calif. April 25–29   The 5th Annual Energy Efficiency Finance Forum. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (Washington, D.C.). Phone: 704-341-2376; Web: Philadelphia, Pa. May 3–4   Powder...
April 1, 2011
Engineers at Algaeventure Systems (Marysville, Ohio; have developed a system for separating liquids from solids and semisolids at very low energies. Originally targeted at harvesting and dewatering microalgae where the technology could remove a major cost barrier, the separation system can be used for a host of applications, including drying food-waste effluent, coal fines, hog manure...
April 1, 2011
Electricity generation of 240 kW has been demonstrated in a Brayton-cycle system that uses supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid. Developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory (Albuquerque, N.M.; and built by Barber Nichols Inc. (Arvada, Colo.;, the prototype power-generation system, when scaled up, offers several advantages over steam-Rankine...
April 1, 2011
Last month, at the AIChE Spring Meeting in Chicago, Henry Kister, director of Fractionation Technology at Fluor Corp. (Aliso Viejo, Calif.; presented a patent pending process (U.S. Patent Application WO/2011/016797) that promises to cut energy demand and capital costs for direct contacting condenser (DCC) units that would typically require refrigeration or cooling water in the pretreatment...
April 1, 2011
A new emulsification process, known as Smooth, has been developed by Velocys, Inc. (Columbus, Ohio; — a member of the Oxford Catalyst Group Plc. (Abingdon, U.K.) — and is now ready for testing at the commercial scale. Smooth technology is based on microchannel devices, and has undergone successful pilot trials by a number of major companies in the cosmetic and personal care...
April 1, 2011
Last month, Brain AG (Zwingenberg; and Dechema e.V. (Frankfurt am Main, both Germany; began a collaboration in the biotechnological production of perillic acid — a patented natural monoterpene owned by Brain, with promising applications as a bioactive compound in cosmetics products and as a natural preservative. The cooperation is aimed at further developing an...
April 1, 2011
Ube Industries, Ltd. (UBE; www. and HighChem Co. (both Tokyo; will license their technologies for transforming coal-derived synthesis gas (syngas) into manufacturing ethylene glycol (MEG) — a polyester feedstock — to Qianxixian Qianxi Coal Chemical Investment Co. (Guizhou, Qianxixian, China). The license covers a process...
April 1, 2011
A new method for removing hydrogen sulfide from natural gas at ambient temperatures could allow significant energy savings compared to the current technique and increase the range of H2S concentrations in natural gas that are economically viable to extract from sour gas wells. In conventional sour-gas scrubbing, aqueous solutions of alkanolamines are used to selectively absorb H2S, but due to water’s...
April 1, 2011
By the end of this year, Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp. (Tokyo; plans to complete development on two processes that utilize excess C2 and C4 fractions for producing propylene and butadiene, and if all goes smoothly, implement them by March 2012. The company has been developing its so-called E-Flex (for producing propylene) and BB-Flex (for producing butadiene) processes, and is now...
April 1, 2011
  Recycling copper Steinert Elektromagnetbau GmbH (Cologne, Germany; has recently installed its first XSS-F unit — said to be the worlds first inline system designed to extract copper from shredded ferrous scrap. Installed at a German recycling yard, the system is capable of processing high volumes of steel scrap directly out of the shredder. The new sorting system features a...
April 1, 2011
Regulatory authorities around the world require continuous emissions monitoring of certain pollutants from large combustion sources. There are two main technologies for monitoring these emissions on a continuous basis — the more traditional one relies on sampling and analyzing exhaust gases from a continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS); and the newer one relies on software that uses...
April 1, 2011
Good troubleshooting skills are invaluable in chemical engineering practice. While their value is clearly gleaned from the impact they have on plant performance, it is also a reflection of the intangible process of learning them. Last month, at the AIChE Spring meeting in Chicago, Ruth Sands, former CE author and mass transfer consultant at DuPont Engineering Research & Technology, presented attendees...
April 1, 2011
Storing solid materials in hoppers, bins and silos is ubiquitous in the chemical process industries (CPI), as are challenges associated with dispensing them. In many cases, using vessels with steep cones and smooth walls is enough to provide reliable flow. However, it is not always feasible to design and install hoppers with the optimal geometry, and many solids have difficult or variable flow properties...
April 1, 2011
  The chemical process industries (CPI) are looking for ways to decrease and control costs, and mixing operations are not exempt from this belt tightening. But because mixing is vital to most chemical processes, it can’t be eliminated. As a result, processors are clamoring for mixing equipment that provides more functionality so they can perform more tasks with less equipment.  Figure 1...!_7745.html
April 1, 2011
Protect rotary valves and product with this monitoring system Coperion The RotorCheck system (photo) is based on a monitoring device that detects any metallic contact between the rotor and the housing. This contact may result either from the presence of foreign particles or from a process malfunction, such as a sudden increase in product temperature, which may cause the rotor blades to expand and grate...
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