Archives :: Processing & Handling :: Process Chemicals

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November 1, 2006
Last September, construction commenced on the world's first commercial-scale hydrogen peroxide, propylene oxide (HPPO) plant at the Antwerp, Belgium, site of BASF AG (Ludwigshafen, Germany; The 300,000 m.t./yr facility is a joint venture of BASF and Dow Chemical...
July 1, 2006
The 135,514 sq.m. of exhibitor booths, plus the 925 tracks, lectures and other conference presentations, that made up the Achema Exhibition-congress presented by Dechema e.V. in Frankfurt this May offered its 180,000 attendees technological wares and information across a remarkably broad front, topicwise and geographically (pp. 30, 31). It may be odd, then, that the lecture that has remained strongest in...
June 1, 2006
    Early predictions suggested that solvents would eventually be eliminated from industrial applications because of health and environmental concerns. After a short period of a small decline in solvent use in 1990s, the solvent demand is now growing steadily by 2.3% per year. At the same time, there have been changes in the types of solvents that are being used today. The general trend is...
June 1, 2006
At last month’s Achema conference (Frankfurt; May 15–19), Norbert Ullrich, chief engineer at Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany; announced a first customer for and presented details about a new hydrogen-peroxide-based propylene oxide (HPPO) process, developed by Degussa AG (Düsseldorf, Germany; and Uhde (CE, February 2001, p. 17). The process...
June 1, 2006
Professor Yasutaka Ishii, and colleagues from the Dept. of Applied Chemistry, Kansai University (Osaka, Japan;, has developed a three-step production process to make epsilon-caprolactam (CPL) from cyclohexane. Compared to alternative methods, the process has a higher CPL yield, generates less waste, and avoids the use of corrosive reagents, says Ishii. The convectional route to...
June 1, 2006
Nippoh Chemicals Co. (Tokyo;, is developing a continuous, vapor-phase process to produce hydroiodic acid as an alternative to the conventional liquid-phase batch process. Over the next few months, the company will test the new process in a 30-m.t./yr pilot plant, and a 300-m.t./yr...
June 1, 2006
Bayer MaterialScience AG (BMS; Leverkusen, Germany; has developed a new process for producing toluene diisocyanate (TDI), a precursor for making flexible polyurethane foam. Without...
May 1, 2006
The Linz, Austria-based VAI Division of Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services (Erlangen, Germany; is commercializing a smelt-reduction process for recycling metal oxide wastes. The ZEWA (zero waste) process, developed by a consortium of companies in a research project under the EU’s Fifth Framework Program, eliminates the need to dispose of slag, dust, sludge or scale...
April 1, 2006
    Hydrogen is widely employed for hydrogenation and other purposes in chemicals manufacture, petroleum refining and other chemical process industries (Hydrogen: The Real Action Is Today, CE, February, pp. 28ff), and it holds promise as a fuel. However, this gas is highly explosive, prone to leakage and permeation, and difficult to detect, so special care must be taken during process engineering...
April 1, 2006
    At present, around 540 billion Nm3 of hydrogen is produced worldwide, and the trend is upward (Hydrogen: The Real Action Is Today, CE, February, pp. 28ff). The numerous chemical-process and other industrial applications of this colorless, odorless gas vary widely as regards the quantities and purities required. Thus, it is useful for the engineer to have a working knowledge of the several...
March 1, 2006
    Solvents have been used for centuries and in all type of industries for the processing, manufacturing and formulation of goods. In the chemical process industries (CPI), solvents are used in various process-operation steps such as separation (of gas, liquid and/or solid), reaction (as reaction medium, reactant, and carrier), degreasing, washing and many more. As part of product formulations...
March 1, 2006
Kokusan Co. (Tokyo; has developed a new type of emulsifier that uses centrifugal force to drive mixtures through specially designed nozzles. The system is said to be less complex than conventional high-shear mixing devices, and operates at much lower pressures than other nozzle-based systems, which typically require a piston pump to force products through stationary or variable...
March 1, 2006
A heterogeneous catalyst for producing the solvent methyl isobutyl ketone has been developed by graduate student Ferry Winter, who defended his chemistry Ph.D. thesis last month at Utrecht University (Netherlands...
March 1, 2006
Solvay (Brussels, Belgium; is planning to build a new plant for producing epichlorohydrin at its Tavaux, France, site. When the facility starts up in the first half of 2007, it will produce 10,000 m.t./yr of epichlorohydrin using Solvay’s Epicerol process for the first time. Epichlorohydrin is used for making epoxy resins, paper reinforcements and for purifying water, and...
March 1, 2006
Archer Daniels Midland Co. (Decatur, Ill.; plans to build the world’s first commercial plant to produce PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), which are high-performance plastics made from renewable resources, such as corn sugar. The plant, to be located at a major ADM site in North America, will have an initial capacity of 50,000 m.t./yr. The facility is a joint venture being established...
February 1, 2006
A gas-liquid nozzle that reduces the size of the gas bubbles blown into a liquid — thus increasing the rate at which the gas is absorbed into the liquid — has been developed by a research team led by Jie Wu at CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology Div. (, in collaboration with CPE Ltd (Chemical Plant & Engineering; both Melbourne, Victoria, Australia...
February 1, 2006
A single-step process for making phenol from benzene and carbon monoxide has been developed by Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd. (Tokyo; with cooperation from Yasutaka Ishii, professor of applied chemistry at Kansai University (Osaka, Japan; Other attempts to make phenol directly, such as the reaction of benzene with hydrogen and oxygen over a...
February 1, 2006
LG Chem, Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea; has developed a direct oxidation process for making terephthalaldehyde (TPAL; terephthalic aldehyde), a key intermediate for dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, specialty polymers, and other fine chemicals. Because the conversion requires only one reaction step and avoids the use of chlorine, it is expected to be a more economical and greener route to...
January 1, 2006
Total Petrochemicals (Brussels; and UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; plan to construct at Total Petrochemicals site in Feluy, Belgium, a demonstration plant consisting of a UOP/Hydro methanol-to-olefin (MTO) process integrated with a Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking process (OCP) unit. This will be the first time these two processes have been...
January 1, 2006
Ultrasound Brewery Co. (Naruto, Japan; has developed a process that separates the water from dilute solutions of alcohol to achieve 99.5%, without using conventional evaporation or distillation. The company has tested the process in a pilot plant that produces 600–700 L/d of 99.5% ethanol from a 10–15% solution. The process, which combines irradiation with ultrasound...
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