Archives :: Processing & Handling :: Reaction Engineering

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June 1, 2009
Hajime Kawanami and colleagues at the AIST Tohoku Collaboration Center, Research Center for Compact Chemical Process, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; Sendai, Japan; have developed a continuous, one-step process for synthesizing hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a biologically active substance with promising therapeutic properties against metabolic...
June 1, 2009
With traditional petroleum-derived feedstocks facing relentless economic and environmental pressures, it’s no surprise that stakeholders throughout the chemical process industries (CPI) have been in hot pursuit of alternative routes for producing commodity and specialty chemicals and polymers from cheap, plentiful renewable feedstocks. The most promising routes are based on agriculturally derived...
June 1, 2009
Hiroshi Abe and colleagues at Biochemical Group of Research Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Chemistry, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Tsukuba, Japan; have discovered a strain of acetic-acid bacteria (which normally oxidize ethanol into acetic acid) that effectively converts highly concentrated (22%) glycerin into D-glyceric acid. The researchers...
June 1, 2009
Today, stakeholders seeking to produce platform chemicals from renewable feedstocks are evaluating competing routes — based on, for example, oxidation, reduction, selective bond breaking, selective bond formation, and the selective dehydration of sugars — for breaking down complex starting materials into simpler, more versatile building block molecules. “The focus of this approach is to zero in on a...*_4841.html
June 1, 2009
Because of the difficulties associated with separating it from lignocellulosic feedstocks, “lignin has typically been burned by papermakers to produce process heat or power. This is a tragic waste of a good source of carbon,” says Joseph J. Bozell, associate professor, Biomass Chemistry, Forest Products Center, University of Tennessee (Knoxville). Though challenging, the use of lignin to...*_4842.html
June 1, 2009
Dow is currently building a 770-million-lb/yr train to produce Dowlex linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) in the middle of a sugar cane field in Brazil. Once online, the unit will be the first fully integrated sugar-cane-to-polyethylene complex in the world, according to the company. In the process, sugarcane juice is fermented, centrifuged and distilled to produce ethanol, which is then converted into...*_4843.html
May 1, 2009
Researchers at United Environment & Energy (UE&E; Horseheads, N.Y.) have developed a catalyst for the efficient conversion of algae to biodiesel. The mixed-metal oxide catalyst (comprised of metals that are resistant to corrosion yet reactive) facilitates the transesterification of algae oil and methanol. The mechanism for the reaction over the solid...
May 1, 2009
A new procedure for making uniform, metallic nanoparticles has been developed by the research group of Kousuke Mori, an associate professor at Osaka University (, with support from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki, both Japan). The photo-assisted process, which uses...
May 1, 2009
Salts of alkaline-earth metals have been shown to catalyze reactions for the selective formation of carbon-carbon bonds, by chemistry professor Shu Kobayashi and colleagues at the University of Tokyo ( The research, supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (Tokyo), promises to deliver alternatives to conventional catalysts that contain toxic, scarce and expensive...
April 1, 2009
Arkema (Colomes, France; and hte (Heidelberg, Germany; have successfully concluded a research collaboration aimed at identifying new catalysts for the conversion of glycerol — a byproduct of biodiesel production — to acrolein (2-propenal) and acrylic acid. The collaboration, which started last year, utilized hte’s proprietary parallel testing technology...
April 1, 2009
Primary amines are made in high yield by a palladium-catalyzed allylic amination reaction developed by Shu Kobayashi, a chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo (Japan; The reaction uses aqueous ammonia as the nitrogen source — the first time this has ever been achieved, disproving a 30-year old theory that allylic...
March 1, 2009
Technical and specialty gases find use in many synthesis processes and a number of unit operations, in analysis and in plant maintenance. This article outlines applications for gases in fine and specialty chemistry, ranging from synthesis processes and inerting to off-gas treatment and industrial services. For each one, processes and the field of use are briefly explained, and existing technical solutions...
March 1, 2009
In the framework of the Impulse project (Integrated Multiscale Process Units with Locally Structured Elements; CE, April 2005, p. 19), researchers from the Industrial Chemistry Group at RWTH Aachen University (Germany; have developed a continuous production plant capable of producing 20 kg/d of an ionic liquid (IL). Normally, this IL is manufactured by a semi-batch process via the...
March 1, 2009
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC; Tokyo, Japan; has developed a new technology for producing 1,3-butadiene (butadiene) from waste butenes using a self-developed, proprietary catalyst. The process has been pilot tested (200-ton/yr capacity) at MCC’s Mizushima site in Japan, and the firm plans to complete process design this year with the aim to commercialize the technology by 2010...
March 1, 2009
A photocatalyst that is more active for decomposing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with visible light than existing catalysts has been developed by researchers from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki City, Japan) in a project lead by professor Kazuhito Hashimoto at the University of Tokyo. The catalyst — a copper ion supported tungsten oxide —...
February 12, 2009
The Coflore ACR is a new type of flow reactor for use in laboratories and pilot plants. The use of multiple reaction cells and dynamic mixing gives the reactor much greater flexibility and ability to handle...
February 1, 2009
A continuous process for producing biodiesel that has a residence time of about one minute, versus several hours for a conventional batch process, has been developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; The process uses a centrifuge for simultaneous synthesis of biodiesel and separation of the biodiesel from the glycerol byproduct. ORNL has done laboratory tests and is...
February 1, 2009
Mitsunori Shimura and colleagues at the R&D Center of Chiyoda Corp. (Yokohama, Japan; have developed a new catalyst for producing a synthesis gas (syngas; hydrogen and carbon monoxide) from steam reforming of methane. The catalyst consists of precious metals selectively loaded on the surface of the firm’s commercial, egg-shell-shaped support, which results in an effective...
February 1, 2009
In late 2009, Microbia PE, Inc. (Lexington, Mass.; will begin commercialization of its initial carotenoid products. Microbia plans to produce β-carotene, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, cathaxanthin and lutein — all five carotenoid products that currently have significant commercial value. These carotenoids have primary applications as food ingredients, dietary supplements and...
January 22, 2009
The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich; and Süd-Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; today announced an agreement to research alternative routes to produce chemicals to help reduce dependence on traditional sources of oil and gas. The collaborative research aims to convert synthesis gas (syngas; H2 + CO) into building-block chemicals in a more...
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