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Chementator Briefs

By Edited by Gerald Ondrey |

New MMA process Last month, the world’s first plant to produce methyl methacrylate (MMA) using the Alpha process of Lucite International Group Ltd., (Southampton, UK; www.lucite.com) started up. The 120,000-m.t./yr (metric ton per year) plant is located on Jurong Island in Singapore. Lucite — acquired by Mitsubishi Rayon Co. (Tokyo) also last month (see CE, December 2008, p. 63) — says that Alpha technology offers 40% savings over existing technologies in both construction and production. The process uses readily available commodity chemicals (ethylene, CO and methanol) as raw materials instead of conventional materials, such as hydrocyanic acid and isobutylene (for more details, see CE, July 2003, p. 19). The second Alpha plant, which is already in an advanced stage of planning, will be designed with a 250,000-m.t./yr capacity. New enzyme for MMA Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen (www.uni-due.de) and the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ; Leipzig, both Germany; www.ufz.de) have discovered an enzyme — 2-hydroxyisobutyryl-CoA mutase — that converts linear C4 compounds into branched ones. Compounds of this type are precursors of methylmethacrylate (MMA), so the discovery could…
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