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Retrofit RTOs for Energy Savings


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Retrofit RTOs for Energy Savings

  1. 1. March Agglomeration 2010 Technology: Mechanisms Page 34 3RegeneRative theRmal OxidizeRs • agglOmeRatiOn Page 26 Counting Purifying Coke-Cooling Facts at Your Fingertips: Greenhouse Gases Wastewater Steam Tracer LinesvOl. 117 nO. 3 maRch 2010 Focus on Independent Single-use Analyzers Control and Safety Equipment and Systems
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  5. 5. march 2010 In This Issue Volume 117, no. 3 Commentary 5 Editor’s Page HG Poll of Chemi- G cal Engineers The U.S. has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 Cover story levels by 2020. But the reduction target 26 over Story Saving Energy In C depends on the en- Regenerative Oxidizers Regen- actment of climate- erative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) change legislation in can be retrofitted with catalyst the U.S. We want to beds to help reduce consumption hear what you think of auxiliary energy during oxida- about the issues sur- tion of VOCs. Energy savings after rounding greenhouse such a retrofit can quickly justify gas emissions. Chemi- the costs of catalysts and installa- cal Engineering has tion. Here’s the how-to set up a brief online news survey to capture your opinions 11 Chementator New catalyst sup- port for energy-efficient steam departments reforming; A flexible energy har- Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 vesting material; Next-generation Bookshelf. . . . . . . . 7, 9 iron-making process; An improved Who’s Who. . . . . . . . 25 method for soil remediation; Nanofiber cartridge filter; A new coating 48 ngineering Practice Would You Use a E Reader Service Safety PLC for Process Control? Ensure page. . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 technology for furnaces; and more unambiguous independence of the con- Economic 17 ewsfront Greenhouse Gases: U.S. N trol and safety layers of protection Indicators. . . . . . 63, 64 Starts Counting On January 1, 2010, nearly 10,000 facilities became subject equipment services advertisers to EPA rules on collecting data on green- 24D-1 Interphex 2010 Preview Product Showcase. . . 56 house gas emissions. This article looks at (Domestic Edition) . he 31st Interphex T Classified the rules and how they might impact the Conference and Exhibition will be held Advertising. . . . . 57–60 CPI’s demand for mitigation solutions April 20–22, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Advertiser Index . . . . 61 21 ewsfront Disposable Darlings Single- N Convention Center in New York. A sam- coming in April use equipment and systems are growing in pling of products to be displayed is given, popularity among high-purity processors. including: A valve and sensor line for Look for: Feature Re- Here, experts weigh in on the pros and hygienic processes; An ink-jet printer for ports on Mixer Design; cons of disposable components heavy duty applications; A pressure gage and Heat Exchanger for alternate units of measure; A weigher Maintenance; an En- Engineering that improves simplicity and user ergo- gineering Practice nomics; and more article on A Safety-Cen- 24AFacts At Your Fingertips Steam Traps and Tracer Lines This one-page guide 24I-2 New Products Services tered Approach to Qual- discusses the selection of steam traps for (International Edition) A benchtop FTIR ity of Light; a Solids steam tracer lines for near-infrared analysis; A flowmeter that Processing article on ensures reproducible chromatography; Disc Particle Size Measure- 34 eature Report Agglomeration F valves that can handle abrasive slurries; A ment; an Environmen- Technology: Mechanisms This review machinery protection solution; An air sam- tal Manager article focuses on the mechanisms of agitation pler for bio-aerosols monitoring; Earplugs on Non-chemical Water (wet granulation) and compression (com- with hybrid design; and more Treatment; a Focus on paction) methods Flow Measurement; 52 ocus Analyzers Deposits are not a F News articles on Poly- 40 ngineering Practice Purifying Coke- E problem for this process refractometer; cooling Wastewater A new method for silicon Production and A gas sensor that can be calibrated re- Engineering and Con- treating coke-cooling wastewater in a de- motely; Measure fluoride levels over a layed coking unit struction; Facts at Your wide concentration range; A phosphate Fingertips on Seals and 44 ngineering Practice Water Solubility E analyzer that consumes less reagents; Gaskets; and more in Benzene Derivatives Solubility and Measure hydrocarbons with ppb resolu- Henry’s Law constants for water in ben- tion; A gas analyzer with a two-laser plat- Cover Photo supplied by: zene derivatives form; and more Grigori A. Bunimovich Chemical Engineering March 2010 302_CHE_030110_TOC.indd 3 2/25/10 10:47:24 AM
  6. 6. (Advertisement) PROCESS INSIGHT Selecting the Best Solvent for Gas TreatingSelecting the best amine/solvent for gas treating is not a trivial task. Tertiary AminesThere are a number of amines available to remove contaminants such A tertiary amine such as MDEA is often used to selectively removeas CO2, H2S and organic sulfur compounds from sour gas streams. H2S, especially for cases with a high CO2 to H2S ratio in the sour gas.The most commonly used amines are methanolamine (MEA), One benefit of selective absorption of H2S is a Claus feed rich in H2S .diethanolamine (DEA), and methyldiethanolamine (MDEA). Other MDEA can remove H2S to 4 ppm while maintaining 2% or less CO2 inamines include diglycolamine® (DGA), diisopropanolamine (DIPA), the treated gas using relatively less energy for regeneration than thatand triethanolamine (TEA). Mixtures of amines can also be used to for DEA. Higher weight percent amine and less CO2 absorbed resultscustomize or optimize the acid gas recovery. Temperature, pressure, in lower circulation rates as well. Typical solution strengths are 40-50sour gas composition, and purity requirements for the treated gas weight % with a maximum rich loading of 0.55 mole/mole. Becausemust all be considered when choosing the most appropriate amine for MDEA is not prone to degradation, corrosion is low and a reclaimera given application. is unnecessary. Operating pressure can range from atmospheric, typical of tail gas treating units, to over 1,000 psia. Mixed Solvents In certain situations, the solvent can be “customized” to optimize the sweetening process. For example, adding a primary or secondary amine to MDEA can increase the rate of CO2 absorption without compromising the advantages of MDEA. Another less obvious application is adding MDEA to an existing DEA unit to increase the effective weight % amine to absorb more acid gas without increasing circulation rate or reboiler duty. Many plants utilize a mixture of amine with physical solvents. SULFINOL is a licensed product from Shell Oil Products that combines an amine with a physical solvent. Advantages of this solvent are increased mercaptan pickup, lower regeneration energy, and selectivity to H2S.Primary Amines Choosing the Best AlternativeThe primary amine MEA removes both CO2 and H2S from sour gas Given the wide variety of gas treatingand is effective at low pressure. Depending on the conditions, MEA options, a process simulator that cancan remove H2S to less than 4 ppmv while removing CO2 to less than accurately predict sweetening results is a100 ppmv. MEA systems generally require a reclaimer to remove necessity when attempting to determinedegraded products from circulation. Typical solution strength ranges the best option. ProMax® has been proven to accurately predict results for numerousfrom 10 to 20 weight % with a maximum rich loading of 0.35 mole process schemes. Additionally, ProMaxacid gas/mole MEA. DGA® is another primary amine that removes can utilize a scenario tool to performCO2, H2S, COS, and mercaptans. Typical solution strengths are 50- feasibility studies. The scenario tool may60 weight %, which result in lower circulation rates and less energy be used to systematically vary selectedrequired for stripping as compared with MEA. DGA also requires parameters in an effort to determine thereclaiming to remove the degradation products. optimum operating conditions and the appropriate solvent. TheseSecondary Amines studies can determine rich loading, reboiler duty, acid gas content ofThe secondary amine DEA removes both CO2 and H2S but generally the sweet gas, amine losses, required circulation rate, type of aminerequires higher pressure than MEA to meet overhead specifications. or physical solvent, weight percent of amine, and other parameters.Because DEA is a weaker amine than MEA, it requires less energy for ProMax can model virtually any flow process or configurationstripping. Typical solution strength ranges from 25 to 35 weight % with including multiple columns, liquid hydrocarbon treating, and split flowa maximum rich loading of 0.35 mole/mole. DIPA is a secondary amine processes. In addition, ProMax can accurately model caustic treatingthat exhibits some selectivity for H2S although it is not as pronounced applications as well as physical solvent sweetening with solvents suchas for tertiary amines. DIPA also removes COS. Solutions are low as Coastal AGR®, methanol, and NMP. For more information aboutin corrosion and require relatively low energy for regeneration. The ProMax and its ability to determine the appropriate solvent for a givenmost common applications for DIPA are in the ADIP® and SULFINOL® set of conditions, contact Bryan Research Engineering.processes. Bryan Research Engineering, Inc. P.O. Box 4747 • Bryan, Texas USA • 77805 979-776-5220 • • Circle 06 on p. 54 or go to
  7. 7. Winner of Eight Jesse H. Neal Awards for Editorial Excellence Editor’s Page Published since 1902 An Access Intelligence Publication Opinions on greenhouse gases APublisHEr Art dEsiGN little over one month ago, the United Nations Framework ConventionMikE O’rOurkE dAvid WHitcHEr on Climate Change (UNFCCC) received national pledges from 55 coun-Publisher Art Director/ tries, to cut and limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Included in Editorial Production Manager pledges was a commitment from the U.S. to reduce its GHG emissions in theEditOrs PrOductiON range of 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. The non-binding target came withrEbEkkAH J. MArsHAllEditor in Chief MicHAEl d. krAus a disclaimer, however, that hinges on an uncertainty for the world’s largest VP of Production emitter among developed nations: the enactment of U.S. climate legislation.dOrOtHy lOzOWski stEvE OlsON Several months ago, the prospect for U.S. climate legislation in the nearManaging Director of Production term seemed much more likely than it does at CE press time. But that ManufacturingGErAld ONdrEy (Frankfurt) could change, given the mood swings that seem to have taken this issueSenior Editor JOHN blAylOck-cOOkE hostage. Last month, for instance, researchers at Yale and George Ad Production Manager universities released the results of a national survey in which 62% of re re-scOtt JENkiNsAssociate Editor MArkEtiNG spondents said that the U.S. should make a medium- to large-scale HOlly rOuNtrEE to reduce global warming, even if doing so has moderate or large economiccONtributiNG EditOrs Marketing Manager costs. Despite a 12-point drop in that measure since the fall of 2008, mostsuzANNE A. sHEllEy AudiENcE respondents — regardless of political affiliation — indicated that they sup dEvElOPMENt port the passage of federal climate and energy policies, the survey says.cHArlEs butcHEr (U.K.) sylviA Senior Vice President, When it comes to climate change, I consider myself to be a pragmatist. IPAul s. GrAd (Australia) Corporate Audience Development certainly don’t have any black-and-white evidence that proves exactly how today’s GHG concentrations or proposed legislation would play out. But heretEtsuO sAtOH (Japan) JOHN Vice President, are four points that I think are often either overlooked or misunderstood:JOy lEPrEE (New Jersey) Audience Development Chemical 1. Climate change and global warming are two related, but not identical sArAH GArWOOd terms. Climate change refers to major changes in temperature, rainfall,GErAld PArkiNsON Audience Marketing Director snow or wind patterns lasting for decades or longer. Although there are many natural sources of climate change, it is the influence of human activi activi- tErry bEstEditOriAl Audience Development Manager ties on climate change that is currently under scrutiny. Meanwhile, globalAdvisOry bOArd warming refers to an average increase in surface temperatures over timeJOHN cArsON GEOrGE sEvEriNEJenike Johanson, Inc. Fulfillment Manager and can be considered part of climate change along with changes in pre pre-dAvid dickEy cipitation, sea level and so on. The point here is that recent snow storms inMixTech, Inc. JEN fElliNG Texas and Virginia do not disprove global warming. If anything, they are aMukEsH dOblE List Sales, Statlistics (203) 778-8700IIT Madras, India nod to more extreme-weather patterns indicative of climate change.HENry kistEr cONfErENcEs 2. The idea that CO2 can’t be considered a pollutant, simply because hu-Fluor Corp. dANA d. cArEy mans exhale it or plants consume it, takes oversimplification to an extreme. Director, Global Event SponsorshipstrEvOr klEtz Climate change predictions aside, increasing CO2 concentrations can — andLoughborough University, U.K. PEck siM are — contributing to increased acidity of the oceans.GErHArd krEysA (retired)DECHEMA e.V. Senior Manager, 3. Cap-and-trade legislation has already been proven successful in the Conference ProgrammingrAM rAMAcHANdrAN Acid Rain program, brought to pass by the first Bush Administration in theBOC bEAtriz suArEz 1990s. Crafted by an unlikely marriage of free-market conservatives and Director of Conference OperationsiNfOrMAtiON environmentalists, the program was completely successful in terms of SO2sErvicEsrObErt PAciOrEk cOrPOrAtE emissions compliance, despite some critics’ concerns that it would be a waySenior VP Chief Information Officer stEvE bArbEr for industry to buy its way out of fixing the problem. Meanwhile, other VP, Financial Planning Internal Audit claimed that the limits on pollution would cause electricity bills to rise, butcHArlEs sANdsSenior Developer briAN NEssEN electricity rates are lower now (in constant dollars) than they were in 1990.Web/business Applications Architect Group Publisher 4. Natural gas, while cleaner burning and less carbon intensive than coal, is a key chemical feedstock. Further shifts toward natural gas as an energyHEAdquArtErs source would have economic impacts for industry and consumers alike.110 William Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038, U.S.Tel: 212-621-4900 Fax: 212-621-4694 While these and other nuances are hammered out inEurOPEAN EditOriAl OfficEs the U.S. regulatory system, the combination of mandamanda-Zeilweg 44, D-60439 Frankfurt am Main, Germany tory GHG reporting and increasing scrutiny in the fi fi-Tel: 49-69-9573-8296 Fax: 49-69-5700-2484 nancial sector could have its own influence (see p. 17 forcirculAtiON rEquEsts:Tel: 847-564-9290 Fax: 847-564-9453 more). In the meantime, we want to hear your opinionsFullfillment Manager; P.O. Box 3588, on GHG regulation, climate change and everything inNorthbrook, IL 60065-3588 email: between. Please visit our Website ( for aAdvErtisiNG rEquEsts: see p. 62 brief online survey that will be open until April 10. ■For photocopy or reuse requests: 800-772-3350 or info@copyright.comFor reprints: Rebekkah Marshall ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com marCh 2010 5
  8. 8. Letters ChemInnovations Call for Papers Chemical Engineering has recently announced the Our business is launch of ChemInnovations 2010 (www.cpievent. Growth com), a new conference and exhibition for the chemi- cal process industries (CPI) to be held October 19–21 at Reliant Park (Houston), in partnership with TradeFair Group (Houston, The event is specifically focused on presenting the in- novative technologies and approaches that are vital to addressing today’s processing challenges, while helping attendees anticipate market and regulatory trends in the CPI. The 2010 ChemInnovations conference is issuing an industries-wide call for papers. Prospective authors are invited to submit a 200–300 word abstract for consider- ation by the advisory committee. Abstracts should focus on innovative, practical and proven approaches to the CPI’s biggest challenges. Abstracts of a how-to orienta- tion will be given preferential consideration. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following: Process intensification and optimization Aging plants: Shuttering, revamping and converting Feedstock flexibility Energy efficiency and flexibility Cost estimation Innovative design, troubleshooting and optimization • Catalyst and reaction engineering • Distillation and separation • Mixing and blending • Heat transfer • Fluid handling • Solids processing Strategically positioned in the dynamic and global markets of the world, ALTANA is a driving force of innovation for its Environmental, health and safety customers. Our comprehensive range of services is the key • Water treatment and reuse to profitable growth, continually opening up new market • Process and plant safety opportunities for our customers. • Air pollution control • Greenhouse gas emissions: Reporting and practical Specialty chemicals are our business. A business we pursue reduction strategies with passion and dedication in more than 100 countries. Software, automation and control Four specialized divisions work together to ensure that • New applications for process simulation ALTANA‘s unrivalled competence and service excellence • Asset management continue to improve and expand. With a clear vision of • Instrumentation and process control improvements what our customers expect of us, it is our ambition at all • Wireless: End user success stories times to develop solutions that turn opportunities into future reality. Submission details • Submit a 200–300 word abstract via email to Kim Arellano, conference director: • Abstract deadline: Friday, March 26, 2010. You will be notified 60 days after the submission deadline on whether or not your abstract was ac- cepted. If your abstract is accepted, you must register for the event within 14 days of notification at the speaker registration rate of $225. ■Circle 7 on p. 62 or go to
  9. 9. Bookshelf Citizen Engineer: A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering. By David Douglas, Greg Papadopoulos and John Boutelle. Prentice Hall, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. Web: 2009. 292 pages. $27.00. Reviewed by Arthur Schwartz, National Society of Professional Engineers, Alexandria, Va.N umerous works about the professional practice of engineering have been written that touch on ethics, law, contracts, intellectual property, risk manage-ment, techology and other important issues relevant to allengineering disciplines. Many of these books have tendedto focus either on engineering private practice (consult-ing, for example) or on a narrow engineering-related field,and have failed to frame the key issues affecting engineersworking in industrial and manufacturing settings. David Douglas and Greg Papadopoulos recently collabo-rated on an impressive and ambitous work that is strik-ingly different than previous books. In “Citizen Engineer,”the authors issue a “clarion call” to engineers, particularlysoftware and chemical engineers. The authors assert thatengineers must understand and embrace a new role as so-ciety’s movers, shakers and leaders. While the basic themeof the book is not new, the authors appear to be calling fora rebirth of engineering as a profession. “The traditional role of engineers has changed,” saythe authors, and engineers need to become the mastersof the post-technical present and future. They write, “…engineering is no longer concerned with finding a simple,elegant way to implement a set of design requirements...we need knowledge of subjects well beyond the scope oftraditional engineering. A successful engineer needs to bepart environmentalist, part intellectual property attorney,part business executive, and part diplomat — not to men-tion an expert in an engineering discipline, a great team-mate and a skilled communicator.” The authors posit that several recent trends are furtherredefining the role of the engineer in society. For instance,the increasing complexity of products leads to greaterdependence upon engineering; yet understanding of en-gineering and its underlying sciences is relatively low.This can lead, the authors note, to poor public policy andmisconceptions that hinder innovation. The authors urgeengineers to take a more proactive role in engaging, com-municating with and leading society. The book mostly explores modern engineering and pro-vides practical guidance on topics of increasing interest andurgency to engineers — particularly environmental consid-erations of product design, intellectual property and contrac-tual issues. The book examines how eco-effective, techno- Circle 8 on p. 62 or go to products and services can translate into new
  10. 10. S C I E N C E . E N G I N E E R I N G . T E C H N O L O G Y. Discover Everything New at INTERPHEX. • Redesigned floor plan so you can easily seek out theINTERPHEX, the industry’s global marketplace, suppliers you need to see.showcases the latest innovations and technological • On-floor attendee lounges and new productive businessadvancements occurring across the global centers to foster networking and best practice sharing.pharmaceutical market. Meet your objectives and • Signature Series–Presenting industry leaders on the highsolve your needs for improved productivity and product interest topics affecting your career and business.quality. Maximize yields and increase efficiency. • Luncheon Presentations offering new perspectivesGain a clear understanding of how to meet regulations. on global opportunities and success models forINTERPHEX is your industry resource. biopharmaceuticals. This year you’ll experience a brand new For 30 years, INTERPHEX has been partnering withINTERPHEX, with a renewed focus on delivering our customers, helping them to solve their most difficultresults for both your business and personal growth needs: and critical challenges. It’s the platform from which the• New exhibitors, new products and services, new industry grows and builds, where new innovations are innovations and new sustainable solutions. introduced and long-term relationships forged.• Keynote address by Chris Matthews, renowned political commentator, author and talk show host, will moderate a panel discussion on “Healthcare Reform and Its Impact on the Biopharmaceutical Industry.” • Sourcing Services • Manufacturing Packaging • Facilities QbD • Automation Systems Controls A PRIL 20-22, 2010 • J ACOB K. J AVITS C ONVENTION C ENTER • N EW Y ORK , NY Now’s the time to register for INTERPHEX! Visit now for FREE show admission. Questions? Call 1.888.334.8704.Sponsored by: Media sponsors: Produced and managed by: Circle 09 on p. 62 or go to
  11. 11. Bookshelf Liquids to Valueopportunities for businesses and accelerated career pathsfor engineers. It contains excellent advice for students andrecent graduates beginning engineering careers. While the book is highly impressive, its emphasis onthe social responsibilities of engineers precludes mentionof the important role played by engineering licensure inprotecting public health and safety — an oversight. Also,the book could have acknowledged a conversation cur-rently underway in the profession regarding the need formeaningful additional education to support professionalpractice — a point that would have added credibility tothe authors’ central thrust. Overall, the authors have commendably highlighted theneed for engineers to incorporate social responsibility intotheir profession. Giant Molecules: From Nylon to Nanotubes. By Walter Gratzer. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Web: www.oup. com. 2009. 254 pages. $24.95. Computational Techniques for Multiphase Flows. By Guan Heng Yeoh and Jiyuan Tu. Butterworth- Heinemann, 30 Corporate Drive, Suite BL Renewable Resources 400, Burlington, MA 01803. Web: www. 2009. 664 pages. $130.00. Hit the Road to Recoverable and Recyclable Cata- lysts. Edited by Maurizio Benaglia. John Wiley and Sons Inc., 111 River New Fields of Profit Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030. Web. www. 2009. 500 pages. $160.00. Renewable resources open up many opportunities to recover, process and refine foodstuffs, but also to substitute High Energy Density Lithium Bat- fossil fuels. Sustainable treatment of natural resources is a teries: Materials, Engineering and pressing need of the age we live in. We now offer a platform Applications. Edited by Katerina E. for forward-looking solutions by concentrating our process Aifantis, Stephen A. Hackney and R. know-how for oils and fats, starch, proteins, fermentation Vasant Kumar. John Wiley and Sons products and biofuels in our Business Line Renewable Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ Resources. 07030, Web. 2010. 296 pages. price to be determined. The Business Line Renewable Resources remains your market expert for tried-and-tested processes, while at Food Stabilisers, Thickeners and the same time being a centre of competence for innovative Gelling Agents. Edited by Alan Ime- ideas and visions. We support you with the latest process son. John Wiley and Sons Inc., 111 technology, right from laboratory testing through to River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, implementation on an industrial scale. Web. 2009. 368 pages. $199.99. Your direct route to 24 / 7 service: / service Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design. By Michael F. Ashby and Kara Johnson. Butterworth-Heine- GEA Mechanical Equipment mann, 225 Wildwood Ave., Woburn, MA GEA Westfalia Separator GmbH WSPC-2-30-018 01801. Web: 2009. 344 pages. $59.95. ■ Werner-Habig-Straße 1 · 59302 Oelde (Germany) Scott Jenkins Phone +49 2522 77-0 · Fax +49 2522 77-1794 · Circle 10 on p. 62 or go to
  12. 12. Now, with a Ross Double Planetary Mixeryou can mix materials up to 8 million centipoise. Breaking the viscosity barrier – with our patented HV Blades. A Ross Double Planetary Mixer with HV Blades can handle viscosities far beyond the limits of any ordinary planetary mixer – and often eliminates the need for a costly double-arm mixer. (And save up to 40% off the cost of a double-arm mixer!)From Planetary Mixers to our patented PowerMix Buy now and save.and Kneader Extruders… Learn how to make your high-viscosity mixing processIn sizes from 1⁄2 pint to 500 gallons, Ross offers high- more efficient. Call now to arrange a no-charge test or trialperformance Planetary Mixers, Kneader Extruders, rental in your plant. 1-800-243-ROSS • www.Mixers.comDischarge Systems andportable vessels forvirtually all high-viscosityapplications. Circle 11 on p. 62 or go to
  13. 13. Edited by Gerald Ondrey March 2010Slash energy consumption with Traditional ceramic-media delivery method Catacel SSR delivery methodthis steam reformer reactor Temperature, °C H2 + CO + CO2 Temperature, °C H2 + CO + CO2 + CH4 + H2O + CH4 + H2OS Furnace Tube Reaction Furnace Tube Reaction team reforming of methane into hydro- (~50% H2) (~50% H2) New 1,036 918 824 New 983 877 824 gen takes place in catalyst-packed alloy 5 years 1,062 939 837 5 years 998 885 824tubes that are heated in a furnace. Up to Change +26 +21 +13 Change +15 +8 0now, this energy-intensive reaction has usedcatalyst-impregnated ceramic pellets, which Heat Heatare poured into the tubes. However, theseceramic pellets do not provide homogeneous Ceramic pellets Metal finsheat transfer, which compromises reaction coated with coated withefficiency, and they are prone to crushing, nickel catalyst nickel catalystwhich degrades the catalyst and thus neces-sitates change-out every 3–5 yr. Now, an al-ternative catalyst support that provides 2.5 Natural gas Natural gastimes the surface area, 1.3–1.6 times greater + Steam + Steam CH4 + 3H2O CH4 + 3H2Oheat-transfer rates, and lasts at least twotimes longer than ceramic supports hasbeen commercialized by Catacel Corp. (Gar-rettsville, Ohio; thereby saving about 10% of the fuel needed Tested in cooperation with the NASA to fire the furnace, says Bill Whittenberger,Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, Ohio; president and founder of Catacel., Catacel’s pat- tively, operating a reformer with SSR atented Stackable Structural Reactor (SSR) the same (higher) temperature as ceramicconsists of metal foil with flow channels media can boost the H2 production capacityformed onto the surface. The catalyst is by 25–35% in the same reformer, he says.bonded to the foil, which is then assembled Test results for SSR were subsequently A new Kraft pulpinto canisters that can be stacked vertically validated with the first commercial demon- Weyerhaeuser Co. (Federalinto reformer tubes. stration of the technology — a 250-m3/h H2 Way, Wash.; www.weyer- SSR’s improved heat-transfer capability plant in Europe that has been in continuous says it has begunenables the furnace to operate at 40–50°C operation since July 2008. Catacel is now commercial production of alower temperatures than if the reformer negotiating with potential users to imple- new grade of Kraft pulp for the cellulose derivatives market.tubes were packed with ceramic pellets, ment or license the technology. Cellulose derivatives are used in various products, includingA new approach to flexible lacquers, paints, inks and thick- ening converting material The new pulp, called Pearl429, “is essentially aA research team at Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.; ledby Michael McAlpine and Yi Qi has devised a from the MgO with an etching process. The ribbons are then transferred onto a polydim- ethylsiloxane (PDMS) rubber substrate by new class of softwood Kraft pulp,” says Don Atkinson, vice- president of marketing andprocess for integrating nanoscale piezoelectric bringing a layer of PDMS into contact with new product development for Weyerhaeuser Cellulose Fi-ribbons into flexible rubbers, enabling develop- the PZT ribbons still on the MgO wafer. The bers. The company declines toment of flexible, energy-harvesting materials. PDMS layer is then peeled back to retrieve give details on the productionEfficient, flexible energy-conversion materials the ribbons, resulting in a “piezo-rubber” process, except to say that itcould be used as wearable energy-harvesting chip that contains an array of the piezoelec- is a continuous Kraft process,systems for mobile electronic devices or im- tric strips. whereas many other specialtyplantable medical devices. Piezoelectric mate- Subsequent studies of the piezo-rubber pulps are made by a batchrials become electrically polarized when sub- chips confirm that the piezoelectric perfor- process. The new method isjected to mechanical stresses. mance of the PZT ribbons is retained after said to generate higher yields The team’s approach involved depositing transferring to the rubber substrates. The than typical dissolving pulp500 nm-thick, micrometer-wide crystalline researchers hope to scale up the process to manufacturing processes, from the same amount of raw materi-ribbons of the piezoelectric material lead zir- produce larger sheets of the material, and to als, with better product unifor-conate titanate (PZT) on magnesium oxide further study the mechanics of piezoelectric mity. Weyerhaeuser adds thatwafers, then separating the PZT material materials on stretchable platforms. (Continues on p. 12)Note: For more information, circle the 3-digit numberon p. 62, or use the website designation. ChemiCAl engineering WWW.Che.Com mArCh 2010 11
  14. 14. Flue gas IronC hementato R oxide Reductant (coal) Air Heat recovery Offgas treatment Mixing Agglomeration DryingA next-generation ironmaking process Combustionmakes its commercial debut air Burner Rotary hearth furnace fuelI n January, the world’s first commercial plant to use the ITmk3 process began pro-duction of iron nuggets, which are used in Separation Offgas Burnersteelmaking. The plant, constructed by Kobe Fuel 2CO + O2 ➞ 2CO2 AirSteel, Ltd. (Tokyo; www.kobelcom) and Steel Post combustion Heat SlagDynamics, Inc. (Fort Wayne, Ind.; www. at Hoyt Lakes, Minne- Iron nuggets Feedersota, is expected to reach its design capacity COof 500,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) in Coolingmid 2010. Slag Developed by Kobe Steel, ITmk3 is said Nugget Hearth Discharging Cooling Melting Reduction Preheatingto be the next-generation ironmaking pro- 1,000 – 1,200 1,450 1,200 – 1,400 700 – 1,200cess (CE, January 2002, p. 15), and is totally Temperature, °Cdifferent from the traditional blast furnacemethod. The process evolved from Fastmet nuggets of the same quality as pig iron, with (Continued from p. 11)(CE, March 1995, pp. 37–41), developed by slag as a by-product. Heat is also recoveredMidrex Technologies, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.; from the offgas to preheat combustion air. Pearl429’s characteristics and Kobe Steel (Midrex’s ITmk3 can use lower-cost iron-ore fines it to be used in various applica- tions that use cellulose estersparent company). Both Fastmet and ITmk3 and steaming coal, which are difficult to use and ethers.use a rotary hearth furnace (RHF), a large in blast furnace ironmaking, says Kobe Steel.turntable that rotates within a doughnut- Unlike blast furnace operations, ITmk3 elim-shaped chamber. Feed pellets — agglomer- inates the need for raw material pretreat- Bioacrylic milestoneates made from iron-ore fines and pulver- ment, such as coke ovens, sintering plants Since beginning pilot-scale de-ized coal — are charged into the hearth and pellet plants. ITmk3 iron nuggets can velopment six months ago, oPX Biotechnologies, inc. (Boulder,(1–2 layers deep) and are heated by burners be produced in just 10 min, whereas blast- Col.; www.opxbiotechnologies.firing from above and by the combustion of furnace pig iron can take up to 8 h. For steel- com) has reduced bioacrylicgases released from the reduced pellets. One makers, the high-grade nuggets improve the production cost by 85% towardsrevolution of the hearth takes about 10 min. productivity and energy efficieny of electric the commercial target of 50¢/lb.In Fastmet, the product is direct reduced arc furnaces. The process is also highly suit- The company uses its efficientiron, but in ITmk3, the pellets are melted in able for mining sites and can be profitable Directed genome engineeringthe last zone of the hearth to produce iron even for small mines adds the firm. (edge) technology to develop microbes and processes for making chemicals. a demon-Nanofiber cartridge filters achieve 0.03-mm rating stration plant is planned for 2011, and a full-scale commer-at high flow and low pressure cial plant in 2013.A 1.5-mm-thick layer of a new filter material based on nanoscale aluminahas shown the ability to filter greater “Significant effort led to the success- ful commercialization of an electroposi- tive, fibrous, pleated-depth filter that and a 1.5-mm-thick layer (as in the pleated cartridge) is capable of adsorb- ing 99.9999% of the 25-nm-sized MS2than 99% of 0.03-mm latex spheres or can substitute for the asbestos filters virus, the company says. In recent test-0.025-mm MS2 viruses with sustain- that were phased out years ago,” Argon- ing, the cartridges tolerated high dirtable water velocities of around 1.5 cm/s ide president Fred Tepper explains. “We loads, salt concentrations (200 g/L) andat pressures of 0.7 bar. Developed by have a ‘game-changing’ product here,” alkalinity (pH9.5).the Argonide Corp. (Sanford, Fla.; www. adds Tepper. Argonide’s cartridges,, the alumina nanofibers The nanoscale fibers — principally under the name NanoCeram, will behave a surface area of 350–500 m2/g boehmite (Al-O-OH) — are 2 nm in di- presented at the American Filtrationand form the active component in a ameter and range in length from tens and Separations Society Annual Meet-non-woven filter matrix with a 2-mm to hundreds of nanometers. The nano- ing (San Antonio, Tex.; March 22–25).pore size. The filter medium works on scale alumina is distributed over a mi- NanoCeram filters are now in use forthe principle of electrostatic adsorp- croglass fiber matrix that is modified applications such as filtering potabletion, where the positively charged filter with cellulose to increase the strength water, protecting reverse osmosis mem-media attract and adsorb negatively and flexibility of the matrix. At a nano- branes, for a clean-in-place process andcharged particles, such as pathogens alumina content over 15 wt.%, the fil- for iron and copper removal in chill-and biological macromolecules. ter media are highly electropositive, water systems. 12 ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com marCh 2010
  15. 15. Conductive fibers Teijin Ltd. (Tokyo and Osaka; www. and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (both Japan; www.titech. have developed a highly crys-Combined membrane separation talline carbon nanotube fiber (CNF) that has a 30% higher electrical con-and electrokinetics speeds soil remediation ductivity than conventional fibers. The highly conductive CNFs are madeT oxic heavy metals can be drawn out explains that, in the new setup, soil is using a conventional melt-spinning process, and no catalyst is required, of soils far more quickly than the treated in suspension, and ion exchange which leads to high-purity fibers 20traditional methods using a process de- membranes separate the soil suspen- µm long and 100–300-nm dia. Teijinveloped by a team from the Technical sion and the processing solutions at the plans to commercialize the new CNFUniversity of Denmark (DTU; Lyngby; electrodes. The addition of ion exchange in 2011, with potential applications and the Universidad Téc- membranes ensures the main direction lithium-ion batteries, electrodes andnica Federico Santa María (Valparaíso, for the electromigration within the con- additives for secondary batteries,Chile; taminated soil is out of the soil. plastic additives, fuel cells and gas- Conventional electrokinetic methods Laboratory experiments were con- diffusion layers.apply a strong d.c. electric field to cause ducted in cylindrical PMMA (polymethylions of heavy metals, such as cadmium, methacrylate) partitioned into a centralcopper, zinc, lead and chromium, to mi- compartment and two electrode compart- The technique achieved removal ef-grate through the soil. However, this ments. An anion exchange membrane ficiencies of 85–92% for lead ions afterprocess can take months to achieve ad- separates one electrode compartment 2–3 wk operation. However, the removalequate cleanup. from the central compartment, and a cat- efficiency of chromium ions has thus The team combined traditional elec- ion exchange membrane separates the far been below 18%, due to chromium’strokinetic soil remediation with con- central compartment from the other elec- stronger adsorption to soil particles.ventional electrodialysis, resulting in a trode compartment. An overhead stirrer Ottosen believes the hybrid systemfaster and more thorough way of clean- is used to keep contaminated soil in sus- can be further developed as a continu-ing soils contaminated with heavy met- pension, and the pH in the electrode com- ous, ex-situ remediation process, whichals. DTU’s team member Lisbeth Ottosen partment is maintained at around two. can be combined with soil washing. One level of technical support: Superior. Five licenses or 500, you’ll get the same best-in-class support Chemstations offers all CHEMCAD users. No wading through several levels of representatives. Every time you contact us, you’ll get the answers you need, quickly and accurately, from a support representative who is an expert in chemical engineering simulation software. We see our customers’ problems as our problems and consider ourselves part of their team. Let us become part of yours. Make the switch to CHEMCAD today. Try it free* at or call 1.800.CHEMCAD for details. *Certain restrictions apply. Engineering advanced Circle 12 on p. 62 or go to © 2010 Chemstations, Inc. All rights reserved. | CMS-22-1 02/10
  16. 16. C hementato R Metathesis catalysts The Catalyst Business Line of Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; has launched three new homo- geneous catalysts that cover Ethanol and other chemicals from biomass a broad range of reactions in cross metathesis, ring-closing T he ethanol yield from biomass has been increased by about 50% over conventional yields in a process developed by ZeaChem ethanol. Hydrogen is obtained by gasify- ing lignin residue from the acid hydrolysis process. This is distinct from conventional metathesis and ring-opening metathesis. Metathesis is a reaction used for develop- Inc. (Lakewood, Colo.; biomass processes, in which ethanol is pro- ing and producing advanced ZeaChem has tested the process (diagram) duced by yeast in the fermentation step. Im- plastics, or active ingredients in a 3,500-gal fermenter and will activate a bler explains that yeast fermentation cre- for pharmaceuticals and demonstration plant to process tree residues ates one molecule of CO2 for every molecule pesticides. The total cost per kilogram of the new catalysts in Boardman, Ore., in late 2010. The plant of ethanol, whereas the acetogenic method — catMETium RF2, RF3 and will produce 250,000-gal/yr of either ethanol produces no CO2. The combination of acetic RF4 — includes the license or ethyl acetate, says Jim Imbler, president. acid and H2 production achieves a net en- fees for the use of intellectual ZeaChem plans to start up a 25-million-gal/ ergy value (NEV) nearly ten times that of property rights (RF = royalty yr commercial plant at the site in 2013 and the conventional route, he says. free), so customers can use ultimately expects to produce ethanol for In a related development, ZeaChem has the catalysts without limitatons, less than $1/gal. produced glacial acetic acid (99% purity), says the firm. Cellulosic biomass is treated by acid hy- used in a wide range of products. The acid is drolysis and the resultant aqueous solution concentrated by using a commercial solvent Cellulosic biofuels of glucose and xylose is fermented by an to extract it from the fermentation broth, Also launched at the National acetogen, a naturally occurring bacterium then separating and recycling the solvent. Ethanol Conference (see also that converts the sugars to acetic acid. The Solvent extraction uses only about 25% as the story on p. 16) is Accelle- acid is esterified to obtain ethyl acetate, all much energy as the conventional distillation rase DUET, the latest genera- or part of which is hydrogenated to produce method, says Imbler. tion of Genencor’s (Palo Alto, Calif.; enzymes used to convert bio- mass into fermentable sugars. With improved overall hemi- cellulase activity, Accellerase DUET builds on the advances in beta-glucosidase and cel- lular activity of its predecessor (Accellerase 1500), enabling Biomass: DUET to achieve higher sugar and biofuel yields — often at a three-fold lower dosing, says the firm. Bio-based adipic acid Verdezyne (Carlsbad, Calif.; has achieved a proof of concept in Furnace tube coatings reduce carbon formation its development program by and increase efficiency in olefins plants demonstrating production and recovery of adipic acid made by a yeast microorganism from C oating technology that essentially elim- inates carbon buildup on the interior of steam cracker tubes will be commer- lyzed at high temperatures from the nickel and iron in the steel tubes; and amorphous coke that deposits from cracking the gas- an alkane feedstock. This is the company’s first milestone towards demonstrating an en- cialized by Quantiam Technologies Inc. eous hydrocarbon feed. Quantiam’s coating tirely feedstock-flexible (plant (Edmonton, Alta; www. prevents the former by shutting down the derived sugar, oils or alkanes) Commercial-scale tests in five ethylene coke-forming mechanism. The accumula- fermentation process for mak- crackers indicate that the coating can ex- tion of gas-phase coke deposits is prevented ing adipic acid — an important tend the time between furnace decokings by a catalyst in the coating that converts starting material for making polyamides and polyurethanes. to 1–2 yr for light feedstocks, whereas the coke to CO and CO2. Petrone declines to Verdezyne estimates that its uncoated tubes have to be decoked about give details on the coating or catalyst, ex- route to adipic acid has at least every 30 days, says Steve Petrone, chief cept to say the coating is a composite con- a 20% cost advantage over the executive officer. sisting of a metal matrix with ceramic and traditional petroleum-based Petrone notes that there are two main intermetallic components. route. The company plans to sources of carbon buildup in furnace tubes: Petrone says the coating is stable at tem- partner for scaleup demonstra- filamentous coke, whose formation is cata- (Continues on p. 16) tion in the next year. ❏ 14 Chemical Engineering March 201006_CHE_030110_CHM.indd 14 2/26/10 8:16:03 AM
  17. 17. When the rightreaction matters ...Trust BASF Process Catalystsand TechnologiesAt crucial moments, the right reaction matters. When you are lookingfor the right reaction from your process catalyst, turn to BASF. Ourtechnical experts will recommend the right catalyst from our innovativeproduct line that will achieve the desired reaction. The end resultsmay also include greater yield and better end product properties.When the catalyst is right, the reaction will be right. Trust BASF.� Adsorbents � Chemical catalysts � Polyolefin catalysts� Custom catalysts � Refining catalystsFor more information, please visit Circle 13 on p. 62 or go to
  18. 18. C hementato R Furnace Tube coaTings (Continued from p. 14) peratures up to 1,130°C and has tolerated sulfur levels up to 3,000 ppm. By avoiding carbon buildup, the coating can also lower energy costs by 3–10% and increases product throughput by allowing a reduction in steam use, since one function of the steam is to oxidize tube surfaces to protect against coke formation. Quantiam’s pilot plant capacity is about 1 million (inter- nal) in.2/yr, or enough for two commercial furnaces. Aided by an investment of approximately $3 million each from BASF Venture Capital GmbH (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and Ursataur Capital Management L.P. (Toronto, Ont.), the company plans to scale up to 3 million in.2/yr by April 2011. Petrone says the payback time from using the coated tubes will be less than a year. The cost of producing bioethanol takes a nosedive L ast month at the National Ethanol Conference at Orlando, Fla., Novozymes’ A/S (Bagsvaerd, Denmark; president and CEO, Steen Riisgaard, launched Cellic CTec2, a new enzyme product enabling the biofuel in- dustry to produce cellulosic ethanol at a price below $2/gal — comparable to the current cost of gasoline and conven- tional ethanol in the U.S. Cellec CTec2 has a higher potency (a factor of two higher than its predecessor) for breaking down agricultural waste (such as corn cobs and stover and sugarcane bagasse) into fermentable sugars. Compared to existing enzymes, CTec2 can reduce enzyme dosing by 50%, thereby reducing the ethanol production costs by 50¢/gal, says Riisgaard. This eliminates the need — and capital ex- pense — for onsite production of the enzyme at large etha- nol plants. Delivery of two truckloads per week is enough for a large-scale ethanol plant, which is comparable to the enzyme-delivery needs at a conventional starch-based etha- nol plant, he says. CTec2 is a mixture of “more than a handful” of different enzymes that work together to break down cellulose into fer- mentable sugars. The enzymes — both cellulases and hemi- cellulases — are extracted from various fungi, and the most efficient then cloned into a microoganism (Tricoderma) and expressed by fermentation. The enzymes are concentrated and purified into a liquid product. Riisgaard says the company is building a new production facility in Blair, Neb. (startup early 2012) to serve the North American market, and already has sufficient production ca-Circle 14 on p. 62 or go to pacity to serve markets in the EU and China. Currently, the outlet for bioethanol for fuel — regardless if the ethanol is from grains or waste — is limited by the current E10 blend restriction (a limit of 10% ethanol in gasoline) set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.). Nevertheless, Riisgaard says that there is enough agricul- tural waste already generated to supply up to 25% of the world’s gasoline requirements, and this fraction will only in- crease as enzymes are developed to handle other cellulose- containing materials, such as wood chips or weeds that can be grown on fallow land. ■
  19. 19. NewsfrontGreenhouse Gases:u.s. starts CountinG Estimated number of U.S. facilities impacted by From emissions estimates to related EPAs mandatory reporting rule financial risks and opportunities, Stationary combustion 3,000 the CPI are going to add it up Landfills Natural gas suppliers 1,502 2,551 Electricity generation 1,108A s 2009 came to a close, the U.S. Figure 1. Pulp and paper 425 crossed a key milestone in the The EPA estimates that 10,000 U.S. Vehicle manufacturers 317 path toward regulating green- facilities will be house gas (GHG) emissions. covered by the Petroleum product suppliers 315Nearly 10,000 facilities (Figures 1 and mandatory report- ing rule that came GHG suppliers 1672) — a significant portion of them in thechemical process industries (CPI) — be- into effect on Petroleum refineries 150 January 1. Thecame subject to the U.S. Environmental category defined Iron and s teel 121Protection Agency’s (EPA; www.epa. as “Other” isgov; Washington D.C.) Final Manda- detailed in Other 636tory Greenhouse Gases Reporting Rule. Figure 2 Source: EPAThe rule requires that applicable facili-ties begin collecting data on January 1, (for more, see p. 5 where we ask you to include HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons),2010 for annual GHG emission reports weigh in with your own opinions). Nev- PFCs (perfluorocarbons) and SF6 (sul-that are due to EPA by March 31, 2011. ertheless, GHG regulation is already a fur hexafluoride). Each facility mustAlthough the rule itself does not limit reality in other parts of the world, and evaluate which part (or parts) of theGHG emissions, the collected data will a clear motivation for GHG reductions rule apply. For example, a large petro-be used to inform future climate-change is emerging through the U.S. financial leum refinery with cogeneration couldpolicies and programs, EPA says. sector. Recent moves to increase trans- conceivably be subject to all three of Whether it is because of the rela- parency into a given company’s GHG the following subparts: stationarytively quick pace that this rule took in risks and opportunities financially combustion, petroleum refining andbeing made official or the extremely could provide the ultimate incentive for petroleum product suppliers.loud noise from broader GHG de- the CPI’s investment into technologies Within each subcategory, reportingbates in the mainstream media, many that help reduce so-called carbon foot- requirements are divided into fourchemical engineers found themselves prints. After all, financial motivation is tiers, which define whether the datain a year-end rush to prepare for the primarily what has been behind most should be calculated or measured byJanuary 1 milestone. Others have re- of the CPI’s GHG reductions thus far. instrumentation and methods for doingquested extensions, which will expire so. “Tier 1 is the easiest to measureat the end of this month. Meanwhile, Key aspects of the rule but the least accurate,” explains Terryfor all facilities that are subject to the In general, EPA’s GHG reporting Moore, principal at Carbon Shrinksrule, the next deadline for preparing a rule ( LLC (Austin, Tex.; www.carbonshrinks.formal monitoring plan is right around emissions/ghgrulemaking.html) de- com), while “Tier 4 is the most com-the corner on April 1. fines applicability and requirements plex and expensive to measure but the As the U.S. CPI grapple with the spe- for stationary combustion sources, most accurate.” Since tiers are gener-cifics of EPA’s reporting rule, curiosity 20 chemical process categories, and ally aligned according to the size of theis building globally around the extent more (see the box, p. 19). For most unit, Moore says, a single facility couldto which GHG reduction initiatives will sources, the reporting threshold is be directed to use different tiers for dif-be in demand. For now, the future of 25,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) ferent combustion or industrial processU.S. climate policy is caught in a storm CO2 equivalent (CO2e). The gases units. Meanwhile, a facility may electof political and social debates, cloud- that must be reported are CO2, CH4, to use the methods of a higher tier thaning the picture at the regulatory level N2O and fluorinated GHGs, which is applicable, but not a lower one. ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com marCh 2010 17