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Nano Know How

  1. 1. February 2009 HEAT EXCHANGERS Page 40 2nanotechnology • heat exchangers Page 34 Eye-and-FaceVol. 116 No. 2 February 2009 Protective Equipment Oil From Sand Flow Measurement Control Water Reuse Systems Facts at Your Fingertips: Selecting a Conveyor Pipe Sizing 01_CHE_021509_COV.indd 1 1/23/09 2:25:48 PM
  2. 2. Performance Fluids from Dow Fluids that Move Your World It takes the right fluids to achieve high levels of performance, ™ help maintain winter aviation productivity and economy. For operating supplies that meet critical safety while contributing to on-time flight departure performance. functional and protection needs in demanding applications, choose performance fluids from Dow. We supply advanced, proven, and reliable solutions for heat transfer, lubrication, fluid power, freeze We stand behind our fluids with a global support team that can and corrosion protection, and deicing. provide the application, technical, regulatory, sales and customer service assistance you require. For fluids that perform, choose ™ † performance fluids from Dow. increase processing efficiency and economics in high temperature processing environments. ™ ™ U.S, Canada, and Mexico: 1-800-447-4369 help prevent system corrosion and freeze Latin America: (+55) 11-5188-9222 damage in water-based HVAC, food and beverage, and other Europe: +800-3-694-6367* or (+32) 3-450-2240 systems. Asia-Pacific: +800-7776-7776* or (+60) 3-7958-3392 ™ help protect circulating systems against corrosion and cavitation erosion damage in gas pipeline compressor engines and other oil and gas service. ™ reduce wear and extend the life ®TM Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow †SYLTHERM Fluids are manufactured by Dow Corning Corporation and distributed by of industrial, mobile, marine and other equipment while offering The Dow Chemical Company important fire-resistance and economic benefits. *Toll-free service not available in all countries. Circle 01 on p. 62 or go to Chemical 4-08.indd 1 1/23/09 11:02:10 AM
  3. 3. More of what you want Convey pneumatically to/from multiple discharge/inlet points from a bulk solids conveyor: Flexicon pneumatic con- veying systems transport a broad range of bulk materi- Flexicon® flexible screw conveyors deliver als over short or long dis- unique advantages you need to improve tances between single or productivity and quality while cutting cost: multiple inlet and dis- charge points in small to high capacities. Offered in � Gentle conveying of bulk ingredients from large both positive pressure or pellets to sub-micron powders vacuum configurations, � Sanitary conveying: enclosed tube prevents from single-point “up-and- in” installations to mobile contamination of product and plant—cleans units to cross-plant sys- quickly, thoroughly. Available to 3-A standards tems complete with rotary � Multi-directional conveying: vertically, horizontally airlock valves, pick-up adapters, filter receivers, or at any angle, around, over, or under obstruc- cyclone separators, fill/pass tions, to nearby or distant plant locations valves, hand-held pick-up wands, silos, day bins and more. � Positive conveying of free-flowing products Available designed, constructed and finished to industrial and sanitary standards. as well as materials and blends that separate, fluidize, degrade, pack, cake, smear, seize, or plug Dust-free bulk bag � Simple conveying: rugged inner screw is the untying, retying, removal only moving part contacting material, increasing reliability while cutting maintenance Revolutionary discharger features a SPOUT-LOCK® clamp ring* that creates a high-integrity, clean seal between bag spout and hopper, preventing contam- ination and dust during hook-up and discharge. TELE-TUBE® telescoping tube* raises the clamp ring MEETS 3-A SANITARY to make connection, then STANDARDS lowers, applying continual tension to keep spout taut as bag empties/elongates, preventing dead spots and flow restrictions. POWER- Less of what you don’t: CINCHER® flow control valve* cinches the spout concentrically for easy, leak-proof retying of partially empty bags. BAG-VAC® dust collector cre- ates negative pressure within dust-tight system to collapse Flexicon conveyors offer solutions to problems that can exist with other empty bags prior to retying and disconnection, eliminating types of conveyor systems: dust from manual flattening of empty bags. � Contamination due to crevices, separators, Whether you need a basic conveyor or internal bearings, filters, seals, air streams, a plant-wide bulk handling system Connect bulk bags quickly, or cleaning difficulty engineered with custom conveyors, bulk bag equipment, and weighing systems, easily, safely at floor level � Limited angles of incline or straight-only Flexicon offers precisely what you want. New SWING-DOWN™ bulk conveyor paths And eliminates precisely what you don’t. bag filler* lowers and � Product degradation due to high impact at pivots the fill head, stop- elbows, crushing in troughs, or grinding ping it in a vertically-orient- FLEXICON CORPORATION ed position that places the between moving parts 2400 Emrick Blvd. bag inlet spout inflatable � Separation of blends Bethlehem, PA 18020-8006 USA connection, inflator button, Tel: 1 888 FLEXICON (1 888 353 9426) and four bag loop latches � Problematic conveying of materials that Tel: 1 610 814 2400 within one arms length of fluidize, degrade, plug, pack, cake or smear Fax: 1 610 814 0600 an operator standing on the � Cost, wear, and/or maintenance of E-mail: plant floor, allowing safe, rapid bag connections. components such as blowers, compressors, UNITED KINGDOM Eliminates danger of step- filters, separators, internal bearings, shaft seals, +44 (0)1227 374710 ping onto and over roller chains, etc. AUSTRALIA conveyors to access rear +61 (0)2 9482 4033 bag hooks and spout con- nection collars, standing on SOUTH AFRICA the conveyor with head and arms inserted beneath opera- +27 (0)41 453 1871 tional fill head components, and straining to pull bag spouts upward over inflatable collars while reaching for bag inflator buttons. Available to industrial, food, dairy and pharmaceuti- Call for free, new CD ROM cal standards with numerous performance enhancements. ® *Patent(s) granted and/or pending. ©2005 Flexicon Corporation. V-0554 Flexicon Corporation has registrations and pending applications for the trademark FLEXICON throughout the world. Circle 04 on p. 62 or go to 4-07.indd 1 1/23/09 11:16:08 AM
  4. 4. Circle 05 on p. 62 or go to 7-08.indd 1 1/23/09 11:22:09 AM
  5. 5. February 2009 In This Issue Volume 116, no. 2 Commentary 5 ditor’s Page E Is change coming to the CPI? The new U.S. Presidential administration brings with it a renewed focus on science, Cover story which has often 34 over Story NANO Know-How This brief C been the missing link introduction to nanotechnology provides a between the CPI, basic understanding to those new to the field policy and public opinion NEWS 11 Chementator Construction to begin on a departments large solar plant in Spain; This centrifugal re- Letters...................... 6 actor/separator speeds up biodiesel produc- Calendar. ............. 8, 9 . tion; A new syngas catalyst passes pilot tests; A Ni-based syngas catalyst promises to slash Who’s Who. ........... 32 . reformer size and costs; A pilot-step closer Reader to second-generation biofuels; Progress on Service page........... 62 a promising separation technology; Sonicat- Economic ing slurries speed soil remediation; A sound Indicators. ........ 63, 64 . equipment services way to reuse low-temperature waste heat; Commercialization nears for producing caro- 32 -1 Show Preview Interphex (North D tenoids from engineered yeasts; and more American Edition) TThe worlds largest advertisers pharmaceutical conference and exhibi- Product 19 ewsfront Oil From Sand The oil sands in- N tion, Interphex, will be held again at the dustry is growing fast, and so is its impact on Showcase...........54, 55 . Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in the environment Classified New York from March 17 to 19, 2009. 23 ewsfront Taking the Plunge Chemical N This show preview includes a sampling Advertising........56–60 processors should begin looking into water of the equipment and services that can Advertiser Index...... 61 reuse systems now, as experts suggest tight- be found at the exhibition ening water supplies will soon be a reality 32I-1 New Products Services coming across the U.S. (International Edition) This compact in March Engineering I/O block module handles up to 16 Look for: Feature Re- signals; Level control, even for sticky ports on Compressed 27 Solids Processing Selecting a Conveyor materials; Remove vapors from gases Gas Cylinder Safety; Characteristics of flexible screw, aero-me- with this line of disposable filters; This Gas Applications in chanical, vacuum and pneumatic conveyors dosing pump features a hydraulically Fine and Specialty are discussed here activated diaphragm; Shred big parts Chemistry; Combining 31 Facts At Your Fingertips Pipe Sizing with this compact system; A dew point Rupture Disk Devices This one-page guide provides the formulas transmitter for when the pressure is on; with Safety Relief needed to approximate friction factors, dis- A low-cost solution for remote moni- Valves; and Getting charge, pressure drop, and pipe diameter toring and control; This module lets the Most Out of Your 40 eature Report Part 1 Plate Heat Exchang- F flowmeters communicate via fieldbus; Rupture Disk; A You ers: Avoiding Common Misconceptions A This water distribution system is pre- and Your Job article solid understanding of the critical areas presented validated; and more on Increasing Produc- here will insure good performance tivity by Using Web 52 ocus Flow Measurement Control F 2.0 Tools; A Focus 44 eature Report Part 2 Compact Heat Ex- F This unit offers measurements for low on Milling Grind- changers: Improving Heat Recovery These flows in the millimeter range; Use this ing; News articles units offer distinct advantages over shell-and- thickness gauge for ultrasonic clamp-on on Solar Energy; and tube heat exchangers, as quantified by the ex- flowmeters; Remote mass flowmeter for Wireless Instrumenta- ample presented here small lines in hazardous areas; A new tion Networking; 48 nvironmental Manager Eye-and-Face E technology platform for flow computers Facts at Your Finger- Personal Protective Equipment Protecting is introduced; Measure mass or volu- tips on Membranes; the eyes and face in the workplace is impera- metric energy flow with this meter; This An Achema Show tive to preventing the estimated 10–20% of Coriolis mass flowmeter is corrosion-re- Preview; and more work-related eye injuries that result in tem- sistant; Custom calibrate these variable porary or permanent vision loss area flowmeters; and more Cover: David Whitcher Chemical Engineering February 2009 302_CHE_021509_TOC.indd 3 1/26/09 8:38:53 AM
  6. 6. Circle 06 on p. 62 or go to 6-06.indd 1 1/23/09 11:36:49 AM
  7. 7. Winner of Eight Jesse H. Neal Awards for Editorial Excellence Editor’s Page Published since 1902 Is change coming to the CPI? A An Access Intelligence Publication lthough the inauguration of the U.S.’s 44th President is now fading into Publisher Art Design memory, the changes that Barack Obama’s Administration will bring to Mike O’Rourke DAVID WHITCHER the chemical process industries (CPI) are only beginning to reveal them- Publisher Art Director/ selves. One thing is very clear, though: In these tough economic times, some Editorial Production Manager very important policy issues are on the agenda with direct implications to our Editors Production field. At the top of the list are plant security and energy, both of which are Rebekkah j. Marshall Editor in Chief MICHAEL D. KRAUS complicated by a longstanding public-relations challenge. VP of Production Manufacturing As change in Washington gets off the ground, an additional shift in leader- Dorothy Lozowski Steve Olson ship has already taken root on the other side of the Potomac River. In Septem- Managing Editor Director of Production ber of last year Cal Dooley, a 14-year member of the U.S. House of Representa- Manufacturing GERALD ONDREY (Frankfurt) tives, officially took reigns as president and CEO of the American Chemistry Senior Editor WILLIAM C. GRAHAM Council (ACC; Arlington, Va.; With first-hand kate torzewski Ad Production Manager appreciation for advocacy in Washington, Dooley is wasting no time reaching Assistant Editor Marketing out to the new legislative and executive branches of government. Holly Rountree One of the first major steps Dooley took after the November election in- SUZANNE A. SHELLEY Contributing Editor Marketing Manager volves a letter and paper detailing ACC’s clean-energy economic-recovery proposals, both of which were sent on December 18, 2008 to congressional Audience CORRESPONDENTS Development leadership, committee leaders in both parties and the Obama transition. Charles ButcheR (U.K.) Sylvia sierra Dooley writes, “The ACC supports new government investment in clean Senior Vice President, energy programs because these programs create jobs, improve the nation’s Paul S. Grad (Australia) Corporate Audience Development energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. American chemistry Tetsuo Satoh (Japan) John Rockwell also plays an important role in achieving these goals. Our industry produces Vice President, Audience Development Chemical materials that make the rest of the economy more energy efficient (for in- Joy LePree (New Jersey) stance, insulation, light-weight vehicle parts). We also make materials used Gerald parkinson Laurie Hofmann in clean energy technologies (for instance, wind turbines, solar panels, lith- Audience Marketing Director (California) ium-ion batteries). At the same time, American chemistry invests in technol- Editorial Terry Best ogies and services that improve the energy efficiency of our own operations Advisory Board Audience Development Manager (for instance, high efficiency combined heat and power systems). Given that John Carson Jenike Johanson, Inc. George Severine our products are the fundamental building blocks of green technologies and David Dickey Fulfillment Manager energy efficiency, we believe our workforce is employed in ‘green jobs’. It is MixTech, Inc. Christie Lamont imperative that these domestic jobs be retained and expanded.” Mukesh Doble List Sales, World Data 561-393-8200 From the Executive Summary of the American Recovery and Reinvest- IIT Madras, India Henry Kister Conferences ment Bill of 2009 that was released by the House of Representatives Ap- Fluor Corp. Dana D. Carey propriations Committee on January 16th, it appears that lawmakers heard Director, Global Event Sponsorships Trevor Kletz at least part of ACC’s message. The stimulus includes funding for science Loughborough University, U.K. Peck Sim and technology, especially in the areas of renewable, clean energy. ACC’s Gerhard Kreysa DECHEMA e.V. Senior Manager, Conference Programming response, conveyed more recent letters to Congress, urges the committee Ram Ramachandran to bulk up investments in gasification technologies, carbon capture and se- BOC Beatriz Suarez questration systems, and buildings and industrial efficiency programs. . Director of Conference Operations Information The key undertone to these and other recent policy discussions is simply services Robert Paciorek Corporate science, which has often been the missing link where policy and public opinion Senior VP Chief Information Officer Steve Barber come together. “We are committed to advancing our public policy priorities on VP, Financial Planning Internal Audit science-based foundation. Our industry’s commitment to solid research and Charles Sands Senior Developer Brian Nessen good science has driven us to be among the most innovative sectors in the Web/business Applications Architect Group Publisher world. Science is the basis for our strong safety, health and environmental performance, and will continue to be the hallmark pillar of the business of Headquarters chemistry,” Dooley tells CE. 110 William Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038, U.S. Tel: 212-621-4900 Fax: 212-621-4694 ACC has been very supportive of Obama’s key Admin- European Editorial offices istration appointments, which in themselves indicate an Zeilweg 44, D-60439 Frankfurt am Main, Germany outstretched arm to science. In a statement released dur- Tel: 49-69-2547-2073 Fax: 49-69-5700-2484 ing Senate confirmation hearings, Dooley used the word Circulation Requests: Tel: 847-564-9290 Fax: 847-564-9453 “exciting” to describe the selection of Nobel-prize winning Fullfillment Manager; P.O. Box 3588, physicist Dr. Steven Chu, for U.S. Secretary of Energy. Northbrook, IL 60065-3588 email: So while we cannot fully answer how change is coming Advertising Requests: see p. 62 to the CPI, there is some solace the premise that science is For photocopy or reuse requests: 800-772-3350 or For reprints: descending — in force — on Washington. ■ Rebekkah Marshall Chemical Engineering February 2009 503_CHE_021509_ED.indd 5 1/27/09 2:40:05 PM
  8. 8. Letters Sharing personal achievement I read with much surprise and pleasure your December 2008 issue, which covered Chemical Engineering’s 2008 Personal Achievement Awards. The nomination is very meaningful for me coming from people in my team, and the selection is truly humbling. However, I wish to say that the efforts put in to improve the performance and protect the environment, and the record performances of the companies come as a result of team work. Most of the actual modification work has been done by the dedicated personnel in the two companies, namely See Sen Chemi- cal Bhd and Malay-Sino Chemical Industries Sdn Bhd. Both are companies with histories spanning 30 years. But both companies have been breaking records every year for the past few years due to the tireless efforts of their dedicated technical personnel. Most of the improve- ments are from application of basic good engineering practice, like going back to basics, while also looking after the environment. This has really yielded dividends for the company. I see my selection for the award more as a recognition of all the effort put in by all the dedicated personnel in these two companies. There is much more for us to achieve. Shyam Lakshmanan See Sen Chemical Bhd and Malay-Sino Chemical Industries Sdn Bhd. ACS Rubber division, call for papers The Rubber division of the American Chemical Society ( is now accepting online abstract submis- sions for the 176th technical meeting being held during the Rubber Expo, October 13–15, 2009, Pittsburgh, Pa. Scheduled symposia include the following: • Automobile Elastomers and Engineered Products • Contributed Sessions • lastomeric Materials: Challenges in Pharmaceutical/ E Biomedical Applications • Elastomers for Wire Cable Industry • Filler Reinforcement of Rubber • Mixing and Processing • Natural Rubber and Natural Rubber-based Products • New Commercial Developments • Rubber Recycling • Rubber Science • Rubber Testing • Science of Rubber Stabilization Vulcanization • ynthetic Rubbers and Synthetic Rubber-based Products S • Thermoplastic Elastomers • Tire Technology Abstract Deadline: April 10, 2009. Postscripts, corrections November 2008, Bringing the corrosion resistance of tan- talum to off-the-shelf stainless-steel parts, p. 16: In the original version, the company location and Website are both misspelled. The corrected details are Tantaline (Lyn- gby, Denmark; Circle 07 on p. 62 or go to 6 Chemical Engineering February 200904_CHE_021509_LET.indd 6 1/23/09 8:57:03 AM
  9. 9. Circle 08 on p. 62 or go to 10-07.indd 1 1/23/09 11:43:01 AM
  10. 10. Chemical Engineering half 3 3/8 x 10:Inter labmate half page Calendar NORTH AMERICA Coating 2009 West. The Powder Coating Insti- THE WORLD FORUM OF THE PROCESS INDUSTRIES tute (The Woodlands, Tex.). Phone: 832-585-0770; Fax: 832-585-0220; Web: Las Vegas, Nev. Mar. 2–3 Sustainability in Packaging 2009. IntertechPira Ltd. (Portland, Maine). Phone: 207-781 9800; Fax: 207-781 2150; Web: Orlando, Fla. Mar. 2–4 Pittcon 2009. The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Phone: 412-825-3220; Web: Chicago, Ill. Mar. 8–13 Renewable Energy World Conference Expo. PennWell (Tulsa, Okla.). Phone: 918-831-9161; Fax: 918-831-9160; Web: Las Vegas, Nev. Mar. 10–12 Strategize to Optimize — PAS Users Conference 2009. PAS, Inc. (Houston. Tex.). Phone: 281-286-6565; Be part of the Fax: 281-286-6767; Web: Houston, Tex. Mar. 9–11 bigger picture... 2009 AATCC International Conference. American Association of Textile Chemists Colorists (Research Tri- angle Park, S.C.). Phone: 919-549-8141; Fax: 919-549-8933; ... and see innovations of today Web: for the solutions of tomorrow Myrtle Beach, S.C. Mar. 10–12 Design Manufacturing South. Canon Communica- The global appeal of ACHEMA gives you a competitive edge by tions (Los Angeles, Calif.). Phone: 310-445-4200; Fax: allowing you to see the bigger picture. 310-996-9499; Web: ACHEMA attracts engineers, chemists and decision makers from around Charlotte, N.C. Mar. 11–12 the world to a single venue to showcase solutions, share ideas and interface across technology disciplines. Interphex 2009. Reed Exhibitions (Norwalk, Conn.). Be better prepared for the challenges to come – Attend ACHEMA. Phone: 203-840-5533; Fax: 203-840-9533; Web: � CHEMICAL ENGINEERING � SAFETY New York, N.Y. Mar. 17–19 � BIOTECHNOLOGY � ADVANCED MATERIALS � ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES � ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION � FLUID HANDLING � RESEARCH 2009 National Petrochemical Refiners Associa- � PROCESS AUTOMATION � SPECIAL SHOW: INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS FOR THE tion Annual Meeting. NPRA (Washington, D.C.). Phone: � PHARMACEUTICAL TECHNOLOGY � THERMAL AND MECHANICAL USE OF RESOURCES 202-457-0480; Fax: 202-457-0486; Web: PROCESSES San Antonio, Tex. Mar. 22–24 4,000 EXHIBITORS � 180,000 ATTENDEES � 30,000 EXECUTIVES ACS Spring 2009 National Meeting Exhibition. 100 COUNTRIES � 900 LECTURES American Chemical Society (Washington, D.C.). Phone: 781-273-3322; Fax: 781-273-6603; Web: Salt Lake City, Utah Mar. 22–26 FIATECH 2009 Technology Conference Show- case. FIATECH (Austin, Tex.). Phone: 512-232-9600; Fax: 512-232-9677; Web: Las Vegas, Nev. Apr. 6–8 2009 Water Security Congress. American Water Works Association (Denver. Colo.). Phone: 303-794-7711; Circle 09 on p. 62 or go to 8 Chemical Engineering february 200905_CHE_021509_CAL.indd 8 1/22/09 11:13:41 AM
  11. 11. Raymond® Bartlett-Snow™ Thermal Equipment Systems Raymond® and Bartlett-Snow™ products have been success- Fax: 303-347-0804; Web: fully providing solutions for Washington, D.C. Apr. 8–10 thermal process applications involving chemical, petro- 54th ISA Analysis Division Symposium. The Inter- chemical, ceramic, magnetic, national Society of Automation (Research Triangle Park. metals, food, fertilizer, plastic, N.C.). Phone: 919-549-8411; Fax: 919-549-8288; industrial solid waste and Web: nuclear industries. For over a Houston, Tex. Apr. 19–23 century, we have provided innovative and dependable Process Technology for Industry West. Canon equipment and systems for Communications LLC (Los Angeles, Calif.). Phone: the changing needs of these industries worldwide. 310-445-4200; Fax: 310-996-9499; Web: Anaheim, Calif. Apr. 23–24 Rotary Calciners Rotary Dryers 2009 AIChE Spring National Meeting. American Institute of Chemical Engineers (New York, N.Y.). Phone: Rotary Coolers 203-702-7660; Fax: 203-775-5177; Web: Rotary Kilns Tampa, Fla. Apr. 26–30 Flash Dryers Europe 9th European Gasification Conference. Institute 4525 Weaver Pkwy, Warrenville, IL 60555 of Chemical Engineers (Rugby, U.K.). Phone: +44 01788 Toll free: 877.661.5509 Tel: 630.393.1000 • Fax: 630.393.1001 578214; Fax: +44 01788 560833; Air Preheater Company Raymond Operations Email: Web: TM Düsseldorf, Germany Mar. 23–25 Circle 10 on p. 62 or go to LogiChem Europe 2009. Worldwide Business Research (London, U.K.). Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7368 9465; Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7368 9401; Web: Düsseldorf, Germany Mar. 31–Apr. 3 MAXIMIZE YOUR MEMBRANE’S Interkama. Deutsche Messe (Hannover, Germany). PERFORMANCE NanoCeram® continues to re-write the rules of filtration. Phone: +49 511 89-0; Fax: +49 511 89-32626; Web: Even when compared to a typical ultraporous membrane, NanoCeram® Hannover, Germany Apr. 20–24 pleated filters provide: - Much Higher Flowrate Asia Elsewhere - Greater Particle Retention, including Colloids Wetex 2009 — Water, Energy Technology and Envi- - Superior Dirt-holding Capacity ronment Exhibition. Dubai Electricity Water Author- ity (Dubai, U.A.E.). Phone: +971 4 324 44 44; Fax: +971 4 - Reliability 324 81 11; Web: NanoCeram’s® ultra-low SDI values and its’ extraordinary turbidity reduction Dubai, U.A.E. Mar. 10–12 and adsorption capacity can significantly reduce the energy maintenance costs for your membranes. And, by using standard equipment already installed in your plant, NanoCeram’s® many benefits include a very low ARTC 12th Annual Meeting, Refining and Petro- capital investment. chemical. Incisive Media Ltd. (London, U.K.). Phone: +44 (0) 207 004 7576; Web: Ask us about our new stainless steel HyFlo™ Multi-Round Big Blue Filter Housings for higher flow applications. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Mar. 10–12 16th Middle East Oil Gas Conference Exhibi- tion. Arabian Exhibition Management WLL (Manama, Bahrain). Phone: + 973 17 55 00 33; Fax: + 973 17 55 32 88; Web: Manama, Bahrain Mar. 15–18 Powder World 2009. China Powder Technology As- 407-322-2500 sociation (Beijing, China). Phone: 010-88365655 ; Fax: 010-68361726; Web: ARGONIDE CORPORATION 291 Power Court • Sanford, FL 32771 Beijing, China Apr. 1–3 ■ NanoCeram® is a Registered Trademark of the Argonide Corporation 2005. All right reserved. HyFlow™ is a Trademark of the Argonide Corporation 2007. All rights reserved. Kate Torzewski Circle 11 on p. 62 or go to Chemical Engineering february 2009 9 Argonide_ChemicalEngineering_rev1c.indd 1 1/14/09 9:14:30 PM05_CHE_021509_CAL.indd 9 1/22/09 11:14:12 AM
  12. 12. Your process must remain on target at a certain temperature. Can your mixing valves keep it there? For worry-free heat exchanger control, choose the Fisher® GX 3-way valve from Emerson. It provides accurate, constant control of temperature for either mixing or splitting service. And its robust, low-profile design fits tight spaces. There’s no better way to stop temperature fluctuations than the Fisher GX 3-way valve. Learn more at or contact an Emerson sales office. Circle 12 on p. 62 or go to The Emerson logo is a trademark and service mark of Emerson Electric Co. © 2008 Fisher Controls International LLC MU35-CD197Emerson Valve 1-09.indd 1 1/23/09 11:47:07 AM
  13. 13. Edited by Gerald Ondrey February 2009 Construction to begin on a large solar plant in Spain T hanks to a �171-million financing deal, con- struction can begin on what is claimed to be the world’s first utility-grade solar power plant with central tower and salt receiver technology. When the so-called Gemasolar plant — located in Fuentes de Andalucia, Spain — is operational in 2011, it will produce 17 MWe of power, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 50,000 metric tons per year (m.t./ yr) that would be released by a conventional power plant of the same capacity. The Gemasolar plant (diagram) will con- sist of 2,500 heliostats, which will track the sun and focus sunlight to a receiver at the top of a tower. There, 95% of the radia- tion is absorbed and converted to thermal energy, which is used to heat molten salts Torresol Energy (potassium and sodium nitrates). The hot salts descend to a tank where it is stored com), a strategic alliance between Sener at about 500°C. In a second loop, the mol- Ingeniería y Sistemas (Madrid; A new bioplastic ten salt passes through a heat exchanger. es) and Masdar (, Abu Up to now, the main plastic and the energy is used to produce steam, Dhabi’s renewable-energy initiative. The en- produced from renewable re- which drives a turbine for generating elec- gineering, procurement, construction contract sources has been polylactic tricity. The molten salt’s storage capacity is has been awarded to a consortium, including acid (PLA), which is derived designed to enable power generation for 15 Sener and AMSA, an ACS Cobra (Madrid; from corn starch. However, be- hours without sunlight. subsidiary. Sener will cause PLA does not have the Gemasolar is a project of Torresol Energy provide the technology, the detailed design same level of performance as S.A. (Madrid, Spain; www.torresolenergy. and commissioning of the plant. petroleum-derived plastics, PLA has not been actively adopted by certain industries, accord- This centrifugal reactor/separator ing to Teijin Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan; The speeds up biodiesel production company plans to change this situation with the commercial A continuous process for producing biod- iesel that has a residence time of about one minute, versus several hours for a con- tor and rapidly mixed at 3,600 rpm. The re- action time is approximately 1 min, at which point the lighter methyl esters (biodiesel) launch, later this year, of a new heat-resistant bioplastic, dubbed Biofront. Biofront is a ventional batch process, has been developed and heavier glycerol are separated by the stereocomplex PLA made with at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL; centrifugal action. The biodiesel yield for a high-purity L- and D-lactate, which has a melting point of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; The pro- 5:1 oil-to-methoxide ratio is about 95%, with 210°C — significantly higher cess uses a centrifuge for simultaneous less than 1% carryover of either phase into than the 170°C for conventional synthesis of biodiesel and separation of the the other, he says. Current work is focused PLAs — and “rivals” that of biodiesel from the glycerol byproduct. ORNL on increasing the yield. polybutylene terephthalate has done laboratory tests and is collaborat- Initially, the researchers were working (PBT), says the firm. ing with biodiesel producer Nu-Energie with a conventional centrifugal contactor, Teijin is currently operating a (Surgoinsville, Tenn.) to do a pilot test at the but the residence time was too short at the 200-ton/yr Biofront pilot plant. It Nu-Energie facilities later this year. 3,600-rpm speed required for thorough mix- recently acquired a 1,000 ton/yr The key to the process is a Couette reac- ing, says Tsouris. “The Couette unit provides PLA demonstration plant from tor/separator, a type of centrifuge that until a residence time of about one minute,” he Toyoto Motor Corp. (Tokyo); this new facility is expected to pro- now has been used only in the laboratory, says. He adds that the reactor/separator can duce Biofront later this summer. says Costa Tsouris, a research engineer with be scaled up to production size and promises A 10,000-ton/yr Biofront plant is ORNL. Food-grade soy oil and sodium meth- to reduce the size of the production equip- also expected to be completed oxide (a mixture of methanol and sodium ment to well below 10% of that used in a in 2010. hydroxide) are fed separately into the reac- conventional batch operation. Note: For more information, circle the 3-digit number on p. 62, or use the website designation. Chemical Engineering February 2009 1106_CHE_021509_CHM.indd 11 1/26/09 8:46:39 AM
  14. 14. C hementato R Final specs for SIF Last month, the Fieldbus Foundation (Austin, Tex.; released the latest device-development A new syngas catalyst passes pilot tests . . . solutions for its Foundation for Safety Instrumented Func- M itsunori Shimura and colleagues at conditions of 900°C (outlet temperature), tions (SIF) technology, which the RD Center of Chiyoda Corp. (Yo- 1.9 MPa (gauge) and a molar feed ratio of includes the Foundation for SIF final Technical Specifica- kohama, Japan; have CH4:CO2:H2O = 1.0:0.4:1.15, the new cata- tion package, SIF Interop- developed a new catalyst for producing a lyst produced a syngas with H2-to-CO mole erability Test Kit (ITK) and synthesis gas (syngas; hydrogen and carbon ratio of 2.0, making it especially suitable updated DD (Device Descrip- monoxide) from steam reforming of meth- for gas-to-liquids (GTL) applications, or for tion) Library with SIF function ane. The catalyst consists of precious met- the production of oxo-alcohols (such as n- blocks. The new technical als selectively loaded on the surface of the butanol) and acetic acid, says the company. specification defines analog firm’s commercial, egg-shell-shaped sup- In laboratory trials, the catalyst has also input (AI) blocks for fieldbus port, which results in an effective utilization shown 1,000-h of operation, without deacti- transmitters and other SIF of the costly metals. vation, for producing syngas with H2-to-CO devices. Future updates to the The catalyst has been demonstrated in ratios of 1.0. specification will include digi- tal output (DO) blocks. a pilot reformer (single, 12-m long tube The catalyst and associated syngas-pro- with 110-mm dia.), which showed stable, duction process are being developed for a on-stream operation for 7,000 h, with mini- national GTL project coordinated by JOG- Drought-tolerant corn mal carbon formation (less than 0.1 wt.%) MEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National First results have been on the catalyst. With a feed of natural Corp.). A 500-bbl/d GTL plant is under con- achieved from a plant biotech gas (85 vol.% CH4), and typical operating struction with startup later this year. collaboration between BASF Plant Science (Limburgerhof, Germany; . . . and a Ni-based syngas catalyst science) and Monsanto Co. (St. Louis, Mo.; www.monsanto. promises to slash reformer size and costs com) for a drought-tolerant corn. The product has moved K eiichi Tomishige, an associate profes- sor at University of Tsukuba (www.ims., has developed a new high- suppression of hot spots and carbon forma- tion. The catalyst is also less prone to deac- tivation by oxidation of Ni, he says. into the final phase prior to an anticipated market launch early next decade, and Monsanto performance catalyst for the highly efficient Because of the enhanced reactivity, Tom- has submitted the product to production of syngas, with support from the ishige estimates that reformers operating the U.S. Food and Drug Admin. (FDA; Washington, D.C.) for New Energy and Industrial Technology De- with the new catalyst can be one-fourth regulatory clearance. velopment Organization (Kawasaki, both the size of a conventional reformer with the Drought-tolerant corn is de- Japan). The nickel-based catalyst is selec- same production capacity. And the cost of signed to provide farmers with tively impregnated with small amounts of the catalyst is expected to be significantly yield stability during periods precious metals (Pt, Pd and Rh) on the sur- lower due to the use of predominantly nickel when water supply is scarce by face. By performing the impregnation se- with reduced amounts of precious metals. mitigating the effects of water quentially, rather than by conventional co- The researchers are planning to scale up stress within a corn plant. impregnation, Tomishige is able to control their work and apply the catalyst technol- Field trials for the new corn the structure of bi-metallic (Ni and precious ogy to the oxidative-reforming of other hy- met or exceeded the 6–10% metal) particles on the surface. This leads to drocarbon feeds, such as city gas, gasoline, target yield enhancement over the average yield of 70–130 active sites that accelerate both exothermic methanol and kerosene, with the aim to pro- bushels per acre in some key and endothermic reactions, resulting in the duce H2 for fuel cells. drought-prone areas of the U.S., says BASF. A pilot-step closer to second-generation biofuels L urgi GmbH (Frankfurt, Germany; is building a pilot plant to demonstrate the viability of its 500°C) converts biomass into a trans- portable, liquid intermediate product (bioliqSynCrude) whose energy den- the basis of Lurgi’s proprietary Multi- Purpose Gasifier (MPG) — is equipped with a castable, lined cooling screen three-stage bioliq process for produc- sity is 13–15 times higher than that that is cooled with pressurized water, ing liquid fuels from biomass. The pilot of straw. The bioliqSynCrude is then and whose internal surface is pro- plant — an entrained-flow gasifier for preheated to around 80°C, pressurized tected from corrosion and erosion by the production of synthesis gas — will be and fed to the bioliq gasifier, where it is a layer of slag. Crude syngas and slag located at the Karlsruhe Research Cen- converted (at above 1,400°C) into syn- are drawn off via a quench at the bot- ter (FZK; Germany;, and is gas. In the final step, the syngas (pro- tom of the reactor. part of a joint project with the Karlsruhe duced at high pressure) is purified and The fast pyrolysis pilot plant — the Institute of Technology (KIT). fed to a synthesis unit for conversion first step of bioliq — was commissioned In the first step of the bioliq process, to fuels. last year at KIT; startup for the bioliq a fast pyrolysis process (operating at The bioliq gasifier — developed on gasifier is planned for the Fall of 2011. 12 Chemical Engineering February 200906_CHE_021509_CHM.indd 12 1/26/09 8:47:48 AM
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  16. 16. C hementato R Transport through Transport along the the sweep side porous layer Progress on a promising Transport along the feed side separation technology F or separating two components with simi- lar volatilities, extractive distillation is typically used, whereby a high-boiling, TU Delft non-volatile solvent is added to “break the azeotrope” — a process that is both energy more friction with the sweep gas in the po- intensive and often involves the use of haz- rous layer, lighter components diffuse at a Furanics ardous solvents. In an effort to reduce the higher rate into the shell side. As a result, Royal Cosun (Breda; www. energy requirements and avoid the use of the vapor emerging from the tube side is and Avantium hazardous solvents used in extractive dis- enriched with the heavy component. Enrich- (Amsterdam, both Nether- tillation, an alternative separation tech- ments of 65–70% have been achieved in a lands; nology, called frictional diffusion (FricDiff) single-tube FricDiff unit for isopropanol- have started a two-year col- is being developed by a consortium of aca- water and helium-argon mixtures; however, laboration to develop a specific process for the production of a demic (TU Delft and TU Eindhoven) and in- “the balance between enrichment and recov- new generation of bioplastics dustrial partners (Akzo Nobel, Shell Global ery is a major challenge we are investigat- and biofuels — tradenamed Solutions, Bodec, FIB Industriële Bedrijven ing,” says Aylin Selvi, a doctoral student at Furanics — from selected BV and Purac), with financial support from the Process Energy Laboratory, Delft Uni- organic waste streams. For Senter-Novem (all Netherlands). versity of Technology ( Com- a number of years, Avantium FricDiff is based on the difference in dif- puter simulations set up by TU Eindhoven has been developing Furanics, fusion rate of two components when diffus- indicate that 90% enrichments are possible which can be produced from ing through a third component (sweep gas). when operating with an overpressure of sugars and other carbohy- In a FricDiff unit, the vapor mixture flows sweep gas, she says. drates from biomass. These through the tube side of a porous, stainless- Last month, the engineering work was bioplastics can be produced cheaper than petroleum-based steel cylinder, while the sweep gas flows completed for a scaled-up test unit, which in- materials, says Avantium. counter currently on the shell side. Because corporates seven FricDiff tubes. This test unit heavier components in the feed experience will be operated at TU Delft starting April. Single-site catalyst Last month, LyondellBasell Industries (Rotterdam, Nether- Sonicating slurries speeds soil remediation lands; launched a new Avant M single- U ltrasound has been applied, with limited success, for the remediation of contami- nated soil. Up to now, the approach has been cally about 50 µm in dia. at the moment of collapse — are so high that any decompo- sition products from the pyrolysis reaction site catalyst system, which extends the performance capa- bilities of its Metocene polypro- to first extract the contaminant from the soil are very rapidly quenched, eliminating the pylene (PP) production technol- into a liquid, which is then passed through possibility of recombination reactions. The ogy. The new catalyst extends a sono-reactor where the contaminants are team has confirmed that radical formation, the range of homopolymer, destroyed by high temperatures and pres- which plays an important role in conven- random and impact copolymer sures (more than 5,000K and 1,000 atm) tional sonochemistry, does not occur in slur- grades by offering performance generated by cavitating bubbles. A new pro- ries, and that pyrolysis is the dominant pro- from very low to very high melt flowrates, while maintaining cess developed by a team from CSIRO Ma- cess, says Collings. “outstanding” levels of homo- terials Science and Engineering (Lindfield, The team has conducted a series of stud- geneity, transparency and other Australia;, in which flowing ies with samples over a wide range of per- features of single-site catalysts, slurries are passed through a sono-reactor, sistent organic pollutants (POPs) adsorbed says the firm. has been shown to be 100-times faster than on glass beads, and has progressed to pilot- liquid-based methods. plant scale. Sonication at 20 kHz with a PA-11 for gas pipelines The increased speed is believed to be the power of 150 W leads to a 90% reduction The U.S. Dept. of Transportation result of bubbles that nucleate and grow on of a polychlorobiphenyl after 1.5 min, and Pipeline and Hazardous Ma- the surface of the slurry particles. Instead 99% reduction after 7 min (97% reduction terials Safety Admin. (PHMSA; of imploding symmetrically, as in liquids, of hexachlorobenzene after 10 min), with Washington, D.C.; http://phmsa. these bubbles collapse toward the particle, no traces of breakdown products. Similar published a final rule — forming a high-speed jet that impacts on the results are obtained for clays contaminated effective January 23, 2009 — to solid surface, explains CSIRO researcher with herbicides and total petroleum hydro- amend 49CFR Part 192 to in- Anthony Collings. Any substance adsorbed carbons. The pilot-plant studies are aimed at crease the maximum allowable to the solid surface bears the brunt of this optimizing the process and confirming the operating pressure (MAOP) implosive energy, and the temperature rise low operating expenses suggested by small- for Polyamide-11 (PA-11) pipes from 100 psig to 200 psig in is sufficient to pyrolyze the pollutant. The scale experiments and the practicality of a (Continues on p. 16) heat transfer rates in these bubbles — typi- transportable treatment facility. 14 Chemical Engineering February 200906_CHE_021509_CHM.indd 14 1/26/09 8:50:52 AM
  17. 17. Circle 14 on p. 62 or go to Box 4 U 1-09.indd 1 1/23/09 12:03:23 PM