Archives :: Regions :: North Asia :: Japan

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October 1, 2007
Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, Calif.) names William Molnar vice president and general manager of the Stratagene Division. Jo Lennartz is promoted to director of technology by Akzo Nobel (Arnhem, the Netherlands). Banro (Toronto, Canada) appoints Mike Prinsloo chief executive...
September 1, 2007
In order to confirm the performance of its proprietary, high-severity fluid-catalytic-cracking (HS-FCC) process, Nippon Oil Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; plans to build a new confirmation-test plant at its Mizushima, Japan, refinery. The unit will have a treating capacity of 3,000 bbl/d when it starts operating in 2010 as part of a joint research project conducted by Petroleum...
August 1, 2007
This system, which has multiple reactors and uses microwaves for heating, has been developed by professor Yuji Wada at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology (, in cooperation with Shikoku Instrument Co. (Takamatsu; and Sanko Kagaku Kogyo Co. (Tokyo; all Japan; A prototype of the system has...
June 1, 2007
A new technology to sink and store carbon dioxide deep in the ocean is being developed by the National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI; Tokyo;, in cooperation with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST; Tsukuba), and IHI Marine United Inc. (Tokyo, all in Japan). The Cosmos project (CO₂ sending technology for ocean storage) is being...
April 1, 2007
The conventional way to make molded ceramic compontents involves the use of an organic binder (about 10-15 wt.%) to keep the shape of the fine ceramic powders. The binder is then burned off during the sintering process; this not only requires additional energy to burn out the binder (which may also release toxic gases), but finished ceramic...
January 1, 2007
Up to now, light-cycle oil (LCO) produced from desulfurized vacuum-gas oil has been used as a base for heavy oil or for blending with straight gas oil (SGO). But a decreasing demand for heavy oil, combined with LCO’s drawbacks as a blending material (such as low cetane number), is drying up these outlets for LCO. Furthermore, existing technology for hydrotreating LCO is energy intensive and consumes...
January 1, 2007
With the aim to commercialize a new process for making solar-cell grade (SOG) silicon, Chisso Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; is negotiating the possibility of establishing a joint-venture company with Nippon Mining Holdings, Inc. (Tokyo) and Toho Titanium Co., Ltd. (Chigasaki, both Japan). Chisso plants to begin conformation tests of the process this year. The Chisso SOG-Si (CSS)...
December 1, 2006
Up to now, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been produced from hydrocarbons in large, high-temperature furnaces operating in an inert-gas atmosphere. A simpler system that requires only a liquid reagent instead of multiple gas cylinders, has been commercialized by Microphase Co., Ltd. (Tsukuba, Japan...
December 1, 2006
Although there has been big surge in biodiesel production recently, such fuels are not without problems of their own, such as low mileage, poor performance at lower temperatures, and adverse effects on engine components. Also, the production process for making biodiesel — the methyl esterification of fatty acids derived from vegetable oils (such as palm and rapeseed)...
November 1, 2006
By repetitive dividing and merging of laminar flows within complex patterns of narrow (25–40 µm) channels, static micromixers are very efficient at making homogeneous mixtures. However, the narrow channels are susceptible to clogging, and the cost to precisely manufacture the complex patterns remains high. Yamatake Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; has patented a new micromixer...
November 1, 2006
Cellulose accounts for about 40% of the planet’s total photosynthesis yield (about 1.8 trillion m.t./yr), but the material has not been fully utilized as a chemical resource so far. That’s because the methods currently available for converting cellulose into useful chemicals have drawbacks, such as: low activity, for degradation by enzymes; poor selectivity and difficult separations, for...
October 1, 2006
This month, JFE Steel Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; started up a new production plant that produces 100 m.t./yr of solar-grade (SOG) silicon (Si) from crude Si metal. The company also started to design a 500-1,000-m.t./yr plant for making SOG Si, and plans to start operations by March 2008. Up to now, JFE Steel used directional-solidification (DS), which aligns the Si...
September 1, 2006
Brown coal accounts for about half the world’s coal reserves. Although it contains less ash and sulfur than bituminous, brown coal contains more water, which reduces its heating value. To take advantage of this “greener” source of fuel, Kobe Steel Ltd. (Tokyo; has developed the upgraded brown coal (UBC) process, which increases the heat value of standard brown...
August 1, 2006
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co. (MHI; Mihara, Japan; has developed an integrated piping-and-instrument system, called M-iPIS, which makes small, complex piping systems from a single plate block. Analogous to the manufacturing of integrated circuit boards, M-iPIS realizes not only cost and space savings, but also produces a gas-tight system with rapid heating and cooling...
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...
May 1, 2006
Early next year, Nippoh Chemicals Co. (Tokyo; plans to build a 1,000-m.t./yr plant for producing the pharmaceutical precursor trimethyl orthoacetate (1,1,1-trimethoxyethane). The facility will utilize a continuous-flow, microreactor-based process that Nippoh Chemicals developed in cooperation with professor Jun-ichi Yoshida at the Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University...
May 1, 2006
Toyo Engineering Corp. (TEC; Tokyo; has developed a new, cryogenic process for extracting natural-gas liquids (NGLs; ethane, propane, butane and other hydrocarbons) from liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Coreflux-LNG process boasts an ethane recovery efficiency of around 98%, compared to 90–93% efficiencies achieved by alternative processes, claims TEC. The process will be...
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
The conventional way to dye textiles is by the so-called dip process, whereby cloth is first immersed into a vat of the dying medium, then removed and dried. The dye is then thermally fixed to the textile by heating to 150°C, and the excess dye removed by washing and drying steps. These wash and dry steps use large volumes of water, which then becomes contaminated with dye, and the drying and fixing...
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