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December 15, 2007
As the price of electricity, natural gas and other fossil fuels continues to climb, chemical processors are more closely examining high-temperature operations and heat-transfer systems to see if more efficiency can be had. In many cases it can, and, as a result, heat-transfer projects are not only justifiable, but downright attractive. "Traditionally we used to see chemical processors looking at their...
December 15, 2007
Plant Watch Clean gasoline technologies planned for SPRC in Thailand November 14, 2007 — The Star Petroleum Corp. (SPRC) has selected Axens’ technologies for its clean gasoline project in Rayong, Thailand. SPRC will install a 22,640-bbd/d grassroots unit that will be fed by fluidized catalytic cracked (FCC) gasoline and a 15,100-bbd/d, grassroots benzene saturation unit that will be fed with...
December 15, 2007
A pressure-swing-adsorption (PSA) system for hydrogen purification that operates at "tens of cycles per minute," versus one cycle every 4 – 10 min for conventional PSA, will have its first commercial-scale demonstration at an ExxonMobil refinery in France. Developed by QuestAir Technologies Inc. (Burnaby, B.C., Canada; in cooperation with ExxonMobil Research and...
December 15, 2007
Ethanol production is an energy-intensive process in which about 50% of the cost is for distillation and dehydration of the ethanol. A membrane system that does the same job, but reduces the energy consumption by up to 50%, has been developed by Vaperma Inc. (St-Romuald, Quebec; Canada; The method was described by Christian Roy, vice-president, business development, at the Annual...
December 15, 2007
Japan Oil, Gas, & Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC; Kawasaki; and six private companies have established a research consortium to build a confirmation test-plant for a new Japanese gas-to-liquids (JGTL) process. Construction on the 500-bbl/d facility, located at Niigata, Japan, is expected to be onstream by 2009 and tests completed the following year. The $260-million investment...
December 15, 2007
The standard temperature range for waste-rubber pyrolysis has been reported as 480 – 1,740ºF. Within 480 – 750ºF, shredded tire scrap decomposes into increasing amounts of gases and oil; and above 750ºF, oil and solid char yields can decrease relative to gas production. At these higher temperatures both the gases and oil produced are high in carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic...
December 15, 2007
The amount of crude oil remaining in depleted oil fields has been estimated to be about 50 – 80% of the total estimated oil reserves. In the past, CO2 has been injected into such wells for enhanced-oil recovery — a technique that displaces the oil and stores the greenhouse gas. Now, a completely different approach to monetizing the carbon is being considered by Inpex Holdings Inc. (Tokyo...
December 15, 2007
A plastic membrane that allows CO2 and other small molecules to move through its pores while largely preventing the movement of larger molecules like CH4, has been developed by a team of researchers from CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering and the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship (Melbourne, Australia;; the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, the Department of...
December 15, 2007
Süd-Chemie Zeolites GmbH, a subsidiary of Süd-Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; has begun to expand its production plant for new specialty zeolites, and also construct a new wastewater processing plant, at its Bitterfeld site in Germany. The...
December 15, 2007
The blood-cholesterol-lowering effects of beta-glucan — the soluble oat fiber — is well known, but up to now it has been difficult to obtain beta-glucan-rich fractions that are feasible for food applications, according to VTT Technical Research Center (Espoo, Finland...
December 15, 2007
NRG Energy, Inc. (Princeton, N.J.) and Powerspan Corp. (Portsmouth, N.H.; plan to demonstrate, at commercial scale, Powerspan’s ECO2 technology for capturing CO2 from conventional coal-fired power plants. To date, CO2 -capture demonstrations...
December 15, 2007
In Malaysia, the raw material for biodiesel production has been palm oil. However, making biodiesel can conflict with the oil’s use as food, and growing palm oil (even for food) has caused the destruction of tropical forests in Borneo, Sumatra and other regions. A team from the Dept. of Chem. Eng. at the Universiti Teknologi Petronas, (Perak, Malaysia...
December 15, 2007
Megtec Systems (Glen Waverly, Victoria, Australia; has announced the first power plant fueled by methane emissions from coal-mine ventilation air. Traditionally, CH4 released during coal excavation requires...
December 15, 2007
Traditionally, the cogeneration of steam and electricity has been restricted to plants that generate superheated steam, making the recovery of energy losses from saturated steam impossible for many industrial sites ranging from distilleries to pharmaceutical plants and pulp-and-paper mills. At the Chem Show (see first item above), Pennant International Corp. (Edison, N.J.;
December 6, 2007
Dynamotive Energy Systems Corp., and its subsidiary, Dynamotive USA, Inc., announced plans to build a $24-million, commercial, industrial-scale biofuel plant in Willow Springs, Mo. — the first of its kind in the U.S., according to the firm. The announcement comes just weeks after similar statements by the company and another subsidiary, Dynamotive Latinoamericana S.A., which disclosed plans for two...$24-million-investment-planned-for-commercial-biofuel-in-Midwestern-U-S-_3534.html
November 15, 2007
China will likely achieve and may even exceed its target to obtain 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute ( If China's commitment to diversifying its energy supply and becoming a global leader in renewables manufacturing persists, renewable energy could provide over 30% of the nation's energy by 2050. That is the major...
November 15, 2007
The globalization of the economy is making the world a smaller place and leading businesses — the chemical process industries (CPI) included — to source, produce and sell material in foreign lands. Politics aside, the trend has the potential to wreak havoc on the supply chain, logistics and transportation operations of chemical corporations unless strategies that increase collaboration and...
November 15, 2007
Better control of baghouses and cartridge-type dust collectors can pay dividends in energy savings, longer filter life and effort spent in tracking environmental compliance. That’s the message from Richard Kapcha, a control specialist with MikroPul (Charlotte, N.C.), which manufactures a wide range of dust collection equipment. “Until the early 1990s we were supplying baghouses with cleaning...
November 15, 2007
Technology to copolymerize carbon dioxide and propylene oxide (PO) was first discovered in 1960s, but has not been commercialized due to the formation of cyclic propylene carbonate (CPC) by a “back-biting” reaction, which leads to the formation of unstable, low-molecular-weight copolymers. This limitation has essentially been eliminated, thanks to a new catalyst developed by Professor Kyoko...
November 15, 2007
In the chemical process industries (CPI), multiphase flow regimes in reactors, bubble columns, pipework and elsewhere in plants determine process efficiencies and safety. As a result, a considerable number of intrusive and non-intrusive techniques have been developed to recognize phase fractions. However, such techniques are very expensive and complex (such as tomography) or provide only localized...
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