Egypt: contract awarded for gas treatment plant using new technology

Egypt: contract awarded for gas treatment plant using new technology

F O C U S the formation of syngas, and instead cracks natural gas into acetylene. Chemical Engineering Progress, Nov 2002, 98 (11), 15 & Chemical Engi...

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F O C U S the formation of syngas, and instead cracks natural gas into acetylene. Chemical Engineering Progress, Nov 2002, 98 (11), 15 & Chemical Engineering World, Oct 2002, 37 (10), 96

New oxidation catalyst for alcohols Workers at the University of Tokyo have developed a catalyst for oxidising alcohols to ketones or aldehydes using air or oxygen. The catalyst is ruthenium on alumina, suspended in trifluorotoluene. Turnover numbers of 1,000 have been achieved. Chemical and Engineering News, 2 Dec 2002, 80 (48), 30 & Angewandte Chemie, International Edition, 2002, 41, 4538

New route to fatty acid esters developed Sumitomo Chemical of Japan has come up with a new process for making fatty acid methyl esters without producing byproducts that could otherwise harm the environment. The process is based on the reaction of methanol with vegetable oil in a supercritical state. Conventional methods that use alkaline compounds to catalyse the methanol-vegetable oil reaction produce a byproduct soap component that must be removed. With the new process, the catalyst is easily removed to yield cost savings. Nitrogen and Methanol, Nov-Dec 2002, (260), 12

C94: Alternative PET catalyst Acordis Industrial Fibres has come up with C94, a new heavy metal-free catalyst intended for use in the production of bottles and textiles. The new polymer is a titanium-based catalyst having a similar thermal stability as common tin polymers. Applications in the industrial textile spinning and dyeing are claimed to be excellent, except for minor colour adjustments for certain applications. Chemical Fibers International, Dec 2002, 52 (6), 403

FI catalyst helps produce oligomer with double bond at one end Pilot scale production of an ethylene oligomer (molecular weight 20005000), with a double bond at one end




of the molecule, has been achieved by Mitsui Chemicals using its in-house developed fenoxyimine (FI) catalyst. Technical details and potential applications are discussed. The process is scalable to full production level.

expected to have reached Yen 400 bn, and by 2010 to have exceeded Yen 5 trn. Takasago plans to develop sales in its fine chemicals division, including organic EL materials, targeting Yen 13 bn after three years.

Japan Chemical Week, 28 Nov 2002, 43 (2198), 1

Nikkei Net, 2 Dec 2002 (Website:

Asahi Kasei develops mc route to ultrahigh mw PE

Iron catalyst makes hydrogen from water

Asahi Kasei has used metallocene catalysis to develop a UHMWPE. Market development has already started. This is the first time UHMWPE has been produced using metallocene catalysts. Asahi Kasei has been supplying conventional UHMWPE from a plant in Mizushima that was recently expanded to 4000-5000 tonne/y.

Uchiya Thermostat has developed a process for making hydrogen from water, at 200°, using an iron oxide catalyst. It should be suitable for making hydrogen for fuel cells, since no CO is produced. (It is unclear what the other product is – Ed.)

Japan Chemical Week, 12 Dec 2002, 43 (2200), 4

Improved LCP production process

Basell launches Spherizone process for PP Basell has reinforced its 6.8 M tonne/y position as world leader in PP production with the introduction of its new Spherizone process which could be adapted for production of PE and other polymers. Basell has been operating a Spherizone PP pilot plant at Ferrara and now plans to use the process at its 160,000 tonne/y PP plant at Brindisi. The Spherizone process is likely to replace the Spheripol process used in Basell’s PP plants at Tarragona in Spain and in jv plants in China and Iran. Info Chimie Magazine, Nov 2002, (443), 33-35 (in French) & Kunststoffe, Nov 2002, 92 (11), 6 (in German) & Kunststof en Rubber, Dec 2002, 55 (12), 24-25 (in Dutch) & Asia Pacific Chemicals, Nov-Dec 2002, 13 (6), 19, & Macplas, Nov 2002, 27 (243), 63 (in Italian)

Takasago to mass-produce materials for organic EL displays Takasago International Corp has developed an inexpensive manufacturing process which produces organic electroluminescent materials in half the normal number of steps and with fewer impurities. The technique is based on a proprietary catalyst, and the firm aims to have a commercial system of mass production ready by 2005. By that time, the market for products containing organic EL displays is

Japan Chemical Week, 9 Jan 2003, 43 (2203), 8

Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd has come up with a new manufacturing process for LCPs that offer a highperformance material with better production efficiency. Flowability is enhanced while high heat resistance is preserved, with the reduced amount of low molecular weight LCP enhancing heat stability during moulding and lessening blistering during soldering. The novel technology employs a basic organic catalyst that boosts the rate of reaction between monomers while controlling unwanted side reactions. The catalyst reacts swiftly and does not remain in the polymer as it is removed from the reaction system through by-products during polymerisation. With the new technology, Sumitomo can double capacity to 4 kt/y at its existing LCP plant in Ehime, Japan. High Performance Plastics, Dec 2002, 9-10

ENVIRONMENT Egypt: contract awarded for gas treatment plant using new technology The Alexandria Mineral Oil Company (AMOC) has awarded to Technip Coflexip the contract for an acid gas treatment plant at Alexandria, Egypt. The new plant is to use a new technology, Thiopaq, from the Dutch company Paques, adapted for


F O C U S industrial use by UOP. This will be the first industrial scale use of the new process, which includes a biological conversion. The new plant is to make 12 tonne/day water-soluble elemental sulfur useful for agricultural applications. The plant is due online in Aug 2003. Chimie Hebdo, 9 Dec 2002, (195), 14 (in French) & Press release from: Technip-Coflexip, 170, place Henri Regnault, Paris La Défense, Cedex 92 973, France. Website: (2 Dec 2002)

No catalyst needed S-Brane, a polymer-membrane process for cutting sulfur in gasoline, will be tested in a 100-bbl/day demonstration plant starting in Jan 2003. WR Grace’s Davison Catalysts division of Columbia, MD, developed the process, which is expected to boost petroleum refiners’ compliance with the EPA’s 2005 Tier 2 requirement of less than 30 ppm of sulfur in gasoline. Touted as more cost-effective than other sulfurremoval technologies, S-Brane segregates a gasoline feed into two streams by pervaporation, with the fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) normally fed from streams emanating from atmospheric and vacuum distillation towers. Around 70-90% of the inlet gasoline volume is held by the retentate or clean product stream, which has a sulfur level of less than the stipulated 30 ppm. The retentate can be added immediately into the gasoline pool. The 10-30 vol % permeate contains the balance of the sulfur, which may be reduced through hydrotreatment and other traditional methods. Chemical Engineering Progress, Dec 2002, 98 (12), 14

Kawasaki goes online with low-NOX gas turbine On 25 Nov 2002, Kawasaki Gas Turbines-Americas, a division of Kawasaki Motors Corp USA, announced the world’s first commercial operation of a new low emissions technology from Kawasaki and Catalytica Energy Systems Inc. Kawasaki has successfully initiated online operation of a retrofitted gas turbine co-generation facility at the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, CA. The core of the system




is a 1.4 mW Kawasaki unit that has been rebuilt to accommodate the new Xonon Cool Combustion system from Catalytica. The Xonon(R) system, which employs a catalytic combustor, helps provide the power plant with minimal NOx output levels – less than three ppm – which eliminates the potential for emissions-related restrictions. Through the use of a catalyst instead of a flame, the Xonon-equipped Kawasaki unit enables combustion at temperatures below that where NOx usually forms. Additionally, the Xonon Cool Combustion system makes it possible for Kawasaki to guarantee CO levels of less than 10 ppm and VOC levels of less than 2 ppm. Press release from: Catalytica Energy Systems, 430 Ferguson Drive, Bldg 3, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA. Tel: +1 650 960 3000. Website: (27 Nov 2002)

ExxonMobil and Hamon ResearchCottrell sign a licence and sublicence agreement for ExxonMobil’s NOx abatement technology On 13 Dec 2002, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co and Hamon Research-Cottrell (HRC) announced the signing of a licence and sublicensing agreement to provide ExxonMobil’s THERMAL DeNOx environmental technology to sublicensees of HRC. This agreement combines HRC’s nearly 100 years of experience in providing air pollution control equipment to a wide range of industries with ExxonMobil’s expertise in the commercial application of THERMAL DeNOx technology in more than 135 flue gas treatment units. THERMAL DeNOx is a selective non-catalytic NOx abatement process, Press release from: Exxon Mobil Corp, 5959 Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039-2298, USA. Website: (13 Dec 2002)

Tailgas treatment process KOs both N2O and NO Uhde GmbH has been able to formulate a catalytic method for eliminating N2O and other oxides of nitrogen from the tailgas from nitric acid plants. A catalyst test facility at the nitric acid plant has been able to obtain removal levels of as high as 90%. The new method involves

removing dinitrogen oxide and nitrogen oxide using an iron zeolite catalyst. The company reports that operating costs are the same compared to other tailgas nitrogen oxide treatment processes. In fall 2003, the firm aims to begin the operations of an industrial-scale demonstration facility that uses both processes in a single reactor. Chemical Engineering (New York), Nov 2002, 109 (12), 19

Catalytic Solutions threatens autocat majors A novel automotive catalyst technology is expected to generate rapid sales growth at Catalytic Solutions Inc. According to analysts, the technology is a major threat to catalyst producers such as Engelhard and Johnson Matthey that account for the lion’s share of the $1.7 bn/y auto catalyst market. Shares in a number of auto catalysts suppliers fell this year following a report citing the threat from CSI’s technology. The so-called mixed-phase catalyst (MPC) involves a combination of several metals and metal oxides. The technology will enable auto makers to meet emission standards and will also allow dramatic reductions in costs because it uses 50-80% less platinum group metals than the normal technology. Chemical Week, 18-25 Dec 2002, 164 (49), 36 & Press release from: Catalytic Solutions Inc, 1640 Fiske Place, Oxnard, CA 93033, USA. Tel: +1 805 486 4649. Fax: +1 805 486 0511. Website: (18 Dec 2002)

Mitsui Mining & Smelting expanding mc catalysts Mitsui Mining and Smelting is expanding its production of motorcycle catalysts in Thailand and considering building a second plant to satisfy demand in SE Asia. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycle catalysts, world demand is expected to increase after 2005. Japan Chemical Week, 5 Dec 2002, 43 (2199), 2

Engelhard Environmental Technology approved for hybrid trucks, buses Emission-control technology from Engelhard Corp has become the first approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for use in