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Chementator: A commercial debut for a process to make mesoporous silica  

By Gerald Ondrey |

Next month, Taiyo Kagaku Co. (Yokkaichi, Japan; edlinks.chemengonline.com/7370-563) will start up a 20-m.t./yr plant — said to be the world’s first — for the production of mesoporous silica. Taiyo Kagaku developed the new production process based on technology first introduced by Toyota Central R&D Laboratories, Inc. (Aichi, Japan; CE, April 2004, p. 17). The commercial grade mesoporous silica, tradenamed TMPS, is composed of honeycomb-shaped pores with adjustable sizes between 1.5 and 7.0 nm, and a surface area over 1,000 m2 /gm — properties that make the material suitable for a number of applications. For example, TMPS silica impregnated with platinum catalyzes the conversion of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide easily at 20 – 50° C, which could be important for removing traces of CO from H2 in fuel-cell applications. TMPS can also serve as a carrier for chlorophyll (for artificial photosynthesis), enzymes (for protein reactions) and other catalysts (for organic synthesis). TMPS is manufactured by dispersing sodium silicate into water with a surfactant such as an alkyl trimethyl ammonium. The solution is heated to 40 – 100°C and the pH is adjusted to greater than 10, whereby the sodium…
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