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May 1, 2011
  Wastewater reuse Aqua-Chem Inc. (Knoxville, Tenn.; has developed a filtration-based process for purifying wastewater from large-scale carpet manufacturing. The process effectively removes dyes and other additives from wastewater to reduce concentrations from around 800 ppm to less than 30 ppm. A recent pilot with a U.S.-based carpet manufacturer demonstrated that 70% of wastewater...
May 1, 2011
Motorists filling up at U.S. gasoline stations these days may think that petroleum refiners are making good profits, but it depends on where the station gets its fuel. The industry is plagued by overcapacity and is concerned about government regulations that call for greater use of renewable fuels and tougher pollution control. The National Petrochemical & Refiners Assn. (NPRA, Washington, D.C....
May 1, 2011
Many operations involving ideal gases are readily calculated using a basic knowledge of thermodynamics. Non-ideal gas behavior, however, can deviate significantly from that of ideal gases, and in some cases, large errors can be introduced in process calculations if a gas is improperly assumed to behave ideally. The pressure, volume and temperature ( PVT) relationship of a gas defines its behavior and is...
May 1, 2011
As chemical processors continue their quest to process more with less equipment, they are seeking reactors capable of helping with this endeavor. For this reason, many are turning to continuous flow reactors because they provide scaleability and flexibility. However, vendors of specialty batch reactors are making every effort to provide these same characteristics in their models, as well. As a result...
May 1, 2011
Wastewater streams from petroleum refineries present some of the largest ranges of variation in contaminant loadings and contain some of the toughest contaminant profiles to treat. These factors render the wastewater treatment processes difficult to control. The most challenging area of wastewater process control in petroleum refining lies in biological treatment, due to the vast number of control...
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...
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