Archives :: Processing & Handling :: Reaction Engineering

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January 13, 2010
UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; will receive a US$25 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (Washington, D.C.; to construct a demonstration plant for converting cellulosic biomass to transportation fuels. Scheduled to begin operations in 2014, the unit will be built at the Tesoro Corp. (San Antonio, Texas; refinery in Kapolei, Hawaii. The demonstration...
January 12, 2010
Novozymes A/S (Bagsvaerd, Denmark; has been awarded an Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit worth US$28.4 million from the U.S. federal government to further construction of a new...
January 1, 2010
For the better part of a century, chemical process industries (CPI) have depended on catalysts to make their processes viable. Current efforts toward process efficiency and environmental innocuousness have placed more demands on catalysts to produce more with less. Industrial catalyst manufacturers are partners in the effort; they are pursuing several different pathways to maximize their products’...
December 4, 2009
The Puron Plus membrane bioreactor (MBR) system is a skid-mounted packaged plant that provides customers with a full scope of supply from prescreening and biological treatment through to the final membrane...
December 1, 2009
Last month at the Chem Show, Chemical Engineering (CE) had the pleasure of honoring this year’s finalists and the winner of the 2009 Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award, a biennial prize that the magazine has bestowed continuously since the early 1930s (for more, see CE, January 2009, p.19) The award recognizes the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized anywhere...
December 1, 2009
The desire to move from batch to continuous processes for the production of high-value organic molecules has become more widespread in recent years as evidenced by the increasing number of related studies published in the literature. The benefits of continuous flow include increased product yield, increased utility and energy utilization, improved safety and greater automation. A quest to improve the...
September 1, 2009
Multiple CSTRs (continuous stirred-tank reactors) are advantageous in situations where the reaction is slow; two immiscible liquids are present and require higher agitation rates; or viscous liquids are present that require high agitation rates. Unlike in plugflow reactors, agitation is easily available in CSTRs. In this article, batch and plugflow reactors are analyzed and compared to multiple CSTRs...
September 1, 2009
Efforts toward large-scale production of lithium-ion (Li-ion)-based car batteries got a big boost in early August, when the Obama Administration announced $2.4 billion in U.S. government investment aimed, in part, at dramatically ramping up the supply chain for advanced batteries for the auto industry. A majority of this funding is funneling directly into the chemical process industries (CPI), which are...
August 14, 2009
Univation Technologies, LLC (Houston, Tex.; has begun construction of a new polyethylene (PE) catalyst-manufacturing facility in China with a scheduled 2011 startup. The facility will be located in Zhangjiagang within the Jiangsu province of the People’s Republic of China.  The new facility, which will have expansion...
August 1, 2009
In October, Nippon Oil Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; will start constructing a high-severity fluidized-catalytic cracking (HS-FCC) unit, the first in the world that can produce large amounts of propylene from heavy fuel oils. The unit, located at Mizushima Refinery (Kurashiki-City), will start up in early 2011. The 3,000 bbl/d facility is 100 times larger than the 30 bbl/d HS-FCC demonstration unit that...
August 1, 2009
A single-step method to convert cellulosic biomass into aromatic compounds offers a simpler and more environmentally friendly route to the petrochemical feedstocks benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX), according to a Massachusetts bioenergy startup company seeking to scale up the technique. Based on a catalytic fast pyrolysis process developed by University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.;
August 1, 2009
Pilot-scale production of biobased succinic acid from dextrose has been demonstrated by Myriant Technologies (Quincy, Mass., The firm expects commercial production by mid-2010. The succinic-acid process follows Myriant’s successful commercialization with partner Purac (Blair, Neb.; of a biobased D(–) lactic acid, which...
August 1, 2009
Earlier this year, NSR Technologies (Decatur, Ill.; commercialized its patented process for producing potassium hydroxide (45–50 wt.%) and dilute hydrochloric acid via a membrane separations technology. The company’s flagship production facility in Decatur, Ill. is the first commercial application of this process says Dr. Kris Mani, NSR’s president and CEO. Current...
July 1, 2009
A new zeolite catalyst that increases yields of light cycle oil (LCO) from high molecular weight “bottoms” hydrocarbons in petroleum fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units was commercialized last month by Grace-Davison, an operating segment of W.R. Grace & Co. (Columbia, Md.; Observed gains in LCO (boiling point 430–650°F) yields of up to 6% are significant to...
July 1, 2009
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL; Richland, Wash.; have published the first direct route for converting plant cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a valuable platform chemical for the production of both plastics and biofuels. Appearing in the June issue of Appl. Cat. A, the research could mark a pathway to less expensive, large-scale production of HMF. Although a...
July 1, 2009
Polymer-supported nanoclusters of gold have recently been shown to catalyze the oxidation of alcohols to ketones at room temperature in air by the research group of chemistry professor Shu Kobayashi, University of Tokyo (, in a project supported by Japan Science and Technology...
July 1, 2009
The cost of producing platinum catalysts could be reduced by up to 90% by a process being developed jointly by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, Livermore, Calif.; and Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.; The process involves the deposition of minute amounts of platinum onto disks of carbon aerogel by a technique called atomic...
July 1, 2009
A photocatalyst that uses visible light to deodorize and disinfect air has been developed by Hiroshi Taoda at the Materials Research Institute for Sustainable Development, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Chubu, Nagoya, (AIST; Chubu, Nagoya, Japan; The catalyst is made from inexpensive components, such as titanium dioxide, apatite mineral and iron, without...
July 1, 2009
Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany; is developing a new process for producing lactic acid (LA) — a monomer for making the biodegradable plastic polylactic acid (PLA) — that does not require a distillation step. As a result, savings in steam and electrical power are calculated to be up to €100/ton of LA, says Joachim Schulze, head of Uhde’s biotechnology division. In...
July 1, 2009
Researchers from the Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Center (Sydney and Perth, Australia; have developed a new way to harness bacteria to biodegrade odor-causing substances. Traditional biofilters typically employ compost supported on wood chips to trap the odor-producing substances, and rely on micro-organisms in the compost to break down those substances. The...
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