HeatTransfer Fluids Page 32
KirKPatricK award • Heat-transfer fluids • retrieving Plant-design data
Building A Better Dryer Screeners Target Efficiency
vol. 116 no. 13 december 2009
Facts At Your Fingertips: Control Valves
Focus on Level Measurement And Control
Retrieving Plant-Design Data
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Revolutionary design eliminates 4 bulk bag unloading problems
Convey pneumatically to/from multiple discharge/inlet points
Cinch spouts concentrically with POWER-CINCHER® flow control valve*
Eliminate dust during disconnect and bag collapse with BAG-VAC® system
Unlike opposing bars that pinch the spout of partially empty bags from two sides, the POWER-CINCHER® flow control valve* cinches the spout concentrically—on a horizontal axis for easier tie-offs and greater flow control, and vertically in a tight zigzag pattern to prevent leaks. In addition, it resists jamming, breaking and leaking, and allows full-open discharge from bag spouts of all popular diameters. USDA Dairy Accepted.
The BAG-VAC® system vacuums displaced air and dust from the receiving vessel and returns clean air to the plant. The vacuum also causes empty bags to collapse dust-free prior to disconnect, eliminating the dust emitted during manual flattening of empty bags. With optional double-wall telescoping tube, it vacuums any particles dropped from spout creases during disconnect, while eliminating awkward access ports.
Eliminate dust during hook-up/discharge with SPOUT-LOCK® clamp ring*
Prevent dead spots and promote flow with TELE-TUBE® telescoping tube*
The SPOUT-LOCK® clamp ring* creates a high-integrity, sealed connection between the clean side of the bag spout and the clean side of the telescoping tube. This prevents contamination of the product, while eliminating the plant contamination that occurs when falling material rapidly displaces air and dust. It also stretches the spout downward in combination with the TELE-TUBE® telescoping tube* (at right).
Models for hoist and trolley loading (shown) and forklift loading, available with flexible screw conveyor (shown), pneumatic conveying system, outlets to suit any process, and integrated scale system for loss-of-weight batching directly from bags.
The TELE-TUBE® telescoping tube* pneumatically raises the SPOUT-LOCK® clamp ring* (at left) for connection to the bag spout, then allows it to lower, applying continual downward tension. As a result, the spout is kept taut at all times, preventing excess spout material from bulging outward (creating dead spots) or falling inward (creating flow restrictions). Works in unison with FLOW-FLEXER™ bag activators to promote flow.
Patented advances make other designs obsolete Flexicon innovations boost the productivity, safety, and cleanliness of your bulk bag unloading operations far beyond the limits of other designs. And unlike Flexicon’s previous unloaders, widely copied by competitors, these new generation machines are based on advances that are patented or patent pending.
FLEXICON CORPORATION 2400 Emrick Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18020-8006 USA Tel: 1 888 FLEXICON • (1 888 353 9426) Tel: 1 610 814 2400 • Fax: 1 610 814 0600 E-mail: email@example.com
Flexicon also offers a wide range of other mechanical process equipment—as well as weigh batching and blending stations—as individual units or engineered, automated systems integrated with your new or existing process—constructed and finished to industrial, food, dairy and pharmaceutical standards.
UNITED KINGDOM AUSTRALIA SOUTH AFRICA
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Flexicon pneumatic conveying systems transport a broad range of bulk materials over short or long distances between single or multiple inlet and discharge points in small to high capacities. Offered in both positive pressure or vacuum configurations, from single-point “up-andin” installations to mobile units to cross-plant systems complete with rotary airlock valves, pick-up adapters, filter receivers, cyclone separators, fill/pass valves, hand-held pick-up wands, silos, day bins and more. Available designed, constructed and finished to industrial and sanitary standards.
Convey free- and non-free-flowing materials Convey free-flowing and non-free-flowing bulk solids ranging from large pellets to sub-micron powders— including materials that can fluidize, degrade, pack, cake, smear, seize or plug in other conveyors—with no separation of blended products. Units convey vertically, horizontally, or at any angle—through small openings in walls or ceilings—around, over, or MEETS 3-A SANITARY under obstructions. The STANDARDS only moving part contacting material is a rugged flexible screw, increasing reliability and cutting maintenance. Enclosed conveyor tube prevents contamination of product and plant environment. Cleans quickly, easily. Individual conveyors available as well as plant-wide systems with automated controls.
Connect bulk bags quickly, easily, safely at floor level New SWING-DOWN™bulk bag filler* lowers and pivots the fill head, stopping it in a vertically-oriented position that places the bag inlet spout inflatable connection, inflator button, and four bag loop latches within one arm's length of an operator standing on the plant floor, allowing safe, rapid bag connections. Eliminates danger of stepping onto and over roller conveyors to access rear bag hooks and spout connection collars, standing on the conveyor with head and arms inserted beneath operational 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 pharmaceutical standards with numerous performance enhancements.
Call for free, new CD ROM
*Patent(s) granted and/or pending. ©2005 Flexicon Corporation. Flexicon Corporation has registrations and pending applications for the trademark FLEXICON throughout the world.
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In ThIs Issue
Volume 116, no. 13 Commentary
5 Editor’s Page Changing times present different opportunities The economic crises of this past year have accelerated changes in the CPI. Looking forward, chemical businesses are focusing on what are expected to be key economic drivers — one of which is innovation
www.che.com Cover story
17 Cover Story 40th Kirkpatrick Award Announced Seven companies are honored with the announcement of this year's Kirkpatrick Award winners. This biennial prize, bestowed since the 1930s, recognizes the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized anywhere in the world during 2007 and 2008
Letters . . . . . . . . . . . 6
11 Chementator ”All-in-one” fluegas scrubber cleans up sulfur and particulate matter; Non-invasive probe measures corrosion inside boiler water tubes in realtime; Higher yields and lower cost are expected for this biomass-to-ethanol process; The commercial debut for a process that makes “natural” gas from coal; Onsite incineration of sewage sludge to be demonstrated; Using the sun to decontaminate wastewater; and more
23 Newsfront Screeners Target Efficiency Screening system manufacturers look to squeeze more out of their equipment
25 Newsfront Building A Better Dryer Although they are notorious energy hogs, drying systems can be made more efficient engineering
29 Facts At Your Fingertips Control Valves This one-page guide outlines how installed gain graphs are prepared and used
32 Feature Report Maximizing HeatTransfer Fluid Longevity Proper selection, monitoring and maintenance can protect fluids from damage due to thermal degradation, oxidation and contamination
40 Feature Report Smooth Your Retrieval of Plant-Design Data Even after construction and startup, plant design data are needed for operations, maintenance and revamps. But working with a plethora of formats and platforms introduces its own set of challenges
44 Engineering Practice Millichannel Reactors — A Practical Middle Ground for Production Reactors with millimeterscale dimensions provide mixing, heat transfer and other advantages over devices with larger dimensions, while boasting increased robustness compared to microdevices. Here are tips to consider for using them
Calendar . . . . . . . . 8, 9 Who’s Who . . . . . . . 30
eqUipment & serviCes
28D-1 New Products & Services (Domestic Edition) Avoid kinking on tight turns with this tubing; Measure oxygen drift-free with this transmitter; A magnet operates on this rupture-disc sensor; These regulators suppress internal cylinder forces for safety; Monitor hydrogen sulfide in water with these sensors; A purging compound effective for biodegradeable resins; and more
Reader Service page . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Economic Indicators . . . . . 63, 64 advertisers Literature Review . . 54 Classified Advertising . . . . .56–60 Advertiser Index . . . 61
28D-1 New Products & Services (International Edition) Extend level measurement with this flexible probe; Do more with this dewpoint transmitter; A new motorized actuator for linear valves; Aggressive media are not a problem for this dosing system; Keep flange leaks from spraying with this shield; The latest in shaft-alignment systems is simple to use; A new exchange resin for industrial water treatment; and more
51 Focus Level Measurement And Control Accurate level measurement in steam applications; This pump protection switch can be used in a variety of situations; An easy way to measure level is introduced; Measure levels in challenging environments; A radar level transmitter that is economical; Measure submersed solids under water; A hand-held device to measure levels in non-metallic containers; Detect and control interfaces with this switch; and more
Coming in JanUary Look for: Feature Reports on Capital Equipment Procurement; and Water Treatment and Energy Conservation; Engineering Practice articles on Pressure Relief During an External Fire; and Recommended Fluid Velocities; A Focus on Weighing; News articles on Scrubbers; Catalysts; and the Personal Achievement Award; Facts at Your Fingertips on Pressure Measurement; and more Cover photo: Lucite International
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
© 2009 Swagelok Company
In addition to tube fittings, we also make valves, regulators, filters, and happier customers.
Contrary to what you may think, we’re much more than a tube fitting company. And we have our obsession with Customer Focus to thank for that. Yes, we’re known throughout the world for our tube fittings. And yes, we’ve been at it for over 60 years. But when companies are looking harder than ever for greater value, it’s our broad range of products, including orbital welders, modular systems, and a complete line of hose, that helps us offer more than you expect. See for yourself at swagelok.com/moreproducts.
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Changing times present different opportunities
ike it or not, 2009 will go down as a year when massive structural change began in the chemicals business. We are far from feeling the full effects of the upheaval, but there is a sense of revolution in the air that will cause lasting change for chemical engineers everywhere. Historically, the financial crisis, and the global recession that followed it, will be seen as accelerators of changes that were already waiting to happen. In 2009 the world realized that China and India were in the driver’s seat for determining the rate of future economic growth. It was the year that the Middle East saw the true dawn of its predominance in petrochemical production based on low-cost feedstock, and South America began to rise in industrial prominence. It was also the year when North Americans and Europeans realized that only game-changing innovation — especially in the fuels and energy sectors — was the route to lasting success for the future. Hopefully, it was not the year that protectionism started to gain a foothold. But there are signs that governments will try to protect their do domestic industries and their populations by employing covert protection protectionism, dressed up as environmental legislation to manipulate markets. In short, the last 12 months have been full of challenges. So what is the outlook and where are the opportunities? The manufacture of basic chemicals and plastics will shift eastward to an axis defined by the Mid Middle East at one end and China at the other. These regions are going to need more practiced and skilled engineers. First opportunity: Go East, young engineer! China is going to be the new magnetic consumer market — if its economy does not overheat in the short term, but certainly in the long term — replacing the U.S. as the place to sell almost everything and anything. However, the Chinese consumer is unlikely to mimic the U.S. consumer — it is simply not part of the Chinese culture to over-extend through easy bor borrowing. Second opportunity: Learn about China and its consumers’ needs. A shift to making chemical specialties in North America and Europe will happen sooner than previously expected. An export-led petrochemi petrochemical recovery on the U.S. Gulf Coast seems unlikely in the face of new Mid Middle Eastern and Latin American capacities. Specialty markets, especially anything relating to food-and-water supply, and health-and-personal care, will be the safe haven for many U.S. chemical companies. Third op opportunity: Investigate specialty chemicals. The other safe haven is innovation, where companies can obtain the funding to back the right projects. In short, North America and Europe will rely on chemical engineers to determine how they can build the new economies of the third millennium. More than anything, that means how we move from a world that depends on fossil fuels to one dependent on other technologies, and how we deal with removing greenhouse gases from our production processes. That means more biotechnology breakthroughs and more sustainable processes. Fourth opportunity: Go greener. For chemical engineers, 2009 brought change — with both great opportunities and much uncertainty. Change can be unsettling, but we should all hang on to this guiding principle — that the world’s problems, like the housing and feeding of six billion people, issues of sustainability and global warming, can only be solved by communities like the one that reads this magazine. We hold the solutions to the crises that confront the world in the decades ahead. ■ John Pearson, Divisional President ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com deCember 2009
Letters Spontaneous combustion
I enjoyed your advisory piece for chemical engineers — old and young: “Don’t wait to react” (CE, October, p. 5). Two weeks ago I gave a presentation on spontaneous combustion at a meeting of mulch facility operators. Of over 100 conference attendees, only one raised his hand when I asked how many operators had never had a problem with spontaneous combustion! I really enjoy the Chementator section of Chemical Engineering. Richard Buggeln, PhD Manager, Environmental Programs, Center for Industrial Services, University of Tennessee
Help us support ChE education
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Striving to continually advance the chemical engineering profession has been a goal for this magazine since its founding more than 107 years ago. To help cultivate new talent, CE established the annual Chopey Scholarship for Chemical Engineering Excellence in memory of Nicholas (Nick) P. Chopey, our former Editor In Chief. Nick carried many torches at CE including those for the Kirkpatrick and Personal Achievement Award competitions that are held in alternating years. To honor and continue Nick’s valuable and lasting contributions to the chemical engineering profession, CE will match up to $10,000 of all donations for the 2009 scholarship fund that are received prior to June 1, 2010. Donations. Checks should be made out to Scholarship America with “Nicholas P. Chopey Scholarship Program” in the memo area. Please send your donations to the following address prior to June 1, 2010: Nicholas P. Chopey Scholarship Fund Nanette Santiago Chemical Engineering 110 William St., 11th floor New York, NY 10038 Details and qualifications for applicants. The scholarship is a one-time award for current third-year students who are enrolled in a fulltime undergraduate course of study in chemical engineering at one of the following fouryear colleges or universities, which include Mr. Chopey’s alma mater and those of the current editorial staff: University of Virginia University of Kansas SUNY Buffalo Columbia University Polytechnic University The program will utilize standard Scholarship America recipient-selection procedures including the consideration of past academic performance and future potential, leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, and statement of career and educational aspirations and goals. Applications must be postmarked by April 1. Guidelines are distributed directly to the chemical engineering department of the qualified schools.
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Calendar NORTH AMERICA
21st International Organic Process Research & Development. Scientific Update Conferences (East Sussex, U.K.). Phone: +44 (0) 1435 873062; Web: scientificupdate.co.uk San Diego, Calif. Jan. 20–22 Stem Cells World Congress. Select Biosciences (Shelton, Conn.). Phone: 203-926-1400; Web: selectbiosciences.com South San Francisco, Calif. Jan. 20–21 Lab Automation 2010. Association for Lab Automation (Geneva, Ill.). Phone: 888-733-1252; Web: labautomation.org Palm Springs, Calif. Jan. 23–27 Safety and Selectivity in the Scale-Up of Chemical Reactions. Scientific Update Conferences (East Sussex, U.K.). Phone: +44 (0) 1435 873062; Web: scientificupdate.co.uk Savannah, Ga. Jan. 25–26 2010 SDA Annual Meeting & Industry Convention. Soap & Detergent Assn. (Washington, D.C.). Phone:
202-347-2900; Web: cleaning101.com Orlando, Fla.
IMAC 28th Conference & Expo on Structural Dynamics and Renewable Energy. Society for Experimental Mechanics (Bethel, Conn.). Phone: 203-790-6373; Web: sem.org Jacksonville, Fla. Feb. 1–4 2010 Forum on Energy Efficiency in Agriculture. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE; Washington, D.C.). Phone: 202-507-4033; Web: aceee.org/conf/10ag Madison, Wisc. Feb. 7–9 2010 Packaging Conference. The Packaging Conference LLC (Holland, Ohio). Phone: 866-509-6001; Web: thepackagingconference.com Las Vegas, Nev. Feb. 8–10 Informex 2010: The Business of Fine, Specialty and Custom Chemistry. UBM International Media/Informex (Princeton, N.J.). Phone: 609-759-4700; Web: informex.com San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 16–19
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Circle 09 on p. 62 or go to adlinks.che.com/23021-09 8
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
AAAS Annual Meeting. American Association for the Advancement of Science (New York, N.Y.). Phone: 202-326-6400; Web: aaas.org San Diego, Calif. Feb. 18â€“22 Biophysical Society Annual Meeting and Biophysics Congress. Biophysical Society (Bethesda, Md.). Phone: 301-634-7114; Web: biophysics.org San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 20â€“24 Scaling from Milligrams to 1â€“2 kg. Scientific Update Conferences (East Sussex, U.K.). Phone: +44 (0) 1435 873062; Web: scientificupdate.co.uk San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 22â€“23
Screening Europe. Select Biosciences (Shelton, Conn.). Phone: 203-926-1400; Web: selectbiosciences.com Barcelona, Spain Feb. 11â€“12 Analytica 2010: International Trade Fair for Instrumental Analysis, Lab, Technology & Biotechnology. Messe Munchen GmbH (Munich). Phone: +49 (0) 89 949 20651; Web: analytica.de Munich, Germany March 23â€“26
Chemical Development & Scale-up in the Fine Chemical and pharmaceutical Industries. Scientific Update Conferences (East Sussex, U.K.). Phone:+44 (0) 1435 873062; Web: scientificupdate.co.uk Lisbon, Portugal March 2â€“4 Advances in Synthetic Biology. Select Biosciences (Shelton, Conn.). Phone: 203-926-1400; Web: selectbiosciences.com London March 4â€“5
ASIA & ELSEwhErE
2nd International Conference on Drug Discovery & Therapy. Higher Colleges of Technology and Eureka Science (Sharjah, UAE). Phone: +971 6 5571132; Web: icddt.com Dubai, UAE Feb. 1â€“4 ChemSpec India 2010: The Fine & Specialty Chemicals Connection. Quart Business Media (Uxbridge, Middlesex, U.K.). Phone: +44 (0) 1737 855 076; Web: chemspecindia.com Mumbai April 15â€“16 â– Suzanne Shelley
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Edited by Gerald Ondrey
‘All-in-one’ fluegas scrubber cleans up sulfur and particulate matter
Cleaned fluegas to atmosphere
multi-stage wet scrubber that combines the removal of sulfur, hydrogen chloride, sulfuric acid mist (SAM) and particulate matter (PM) in a single unit has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by an average of 99.7% in its first large-scale commercial installation on a coal/oil-fired swing boiler. PM emissions were reduced to 0.005 grains/ dscf (dry standard cubic feet; 12.5 mg/Nm3), according to Kimmo Peltonen, a product manager with Andritz, Inc. (Roswell, Ga.; www.andritz.com), who spoke at the recent TAPPI Engineering, Pulping and Environmental Conference in Memphis, Tenn. Andritz markets the technology together with EnviroCare International (American Canyon, Calif.; www.envirocare.com). The installation is on a 420,000-lb/h boiler at a large pulp-and-paper mill. Previously, smaller systems had been installed in rotary kilns and municipal sludge incinerators, says Peltonen. In the first stage of the process (flowsheet), large particles are removed from hot fluegas by an atomizedwater-spray quench. From the quench, the stream enters the lower half of a scrubberseparator vessel — a vertical, cylindrical unit, where the upflowing gas is scrubbed by a countercurrent water stream. The gas flows up through a Venturi stage that consists of about 40 parallel Venturi tubes, each preceded by a high-pressure liquid atomizer. The combination of the Venturis with finely atomized sprays causes multiple collisions between the droplets and fine particles left in the gas, resulting
Preventing droplet carry over
Makeup water Caustic
Tray 2 “Flushing” removal of dirty mist
Fluegas from boiler
True venturi tubes
Condensation and agglomeration of H2SO4, fumes and submicron PM Removal of any remaining SO2
Removal of coarse PM (particulate matter) and some SO2 and HCl
Removal of SO2 & HCl, and all PM>1 micron
Venturi stage pumps inlet & throat pumps Quench recirculation tank
Venturi stage recirculation tank
in high particulate capture as well as acid absorption, says Peltonen. Final cleanup is achieved by a set of dual-orifice mist-elimination trays. Most of the water used in the process is recycled to the Venturi stage after makeup water and caustic have been added. The rest is collected in a sump at the bottom of the scrubber-separator and recycled to the quench section. Dissolved solids concentration is controlled by blowing down a fraction of the recycled water. Peltonen says the installed cost is approximately 50% that of a traditional arrangement of a dry electrostatic precipitator (ESP) followed by a wet scrubber or wet ESP. Chemical costs are minimized by reusing alkali present in the fly ash.
The power of osmosis last month, Statkraft (oslo, norway; www.statkraft.com) opened what is claimed to be the world's first osmotic power plant. although the prototype is very small (designed for 10 kw), the company believes data gained from the pilot study will lead to a commercial-scale unit by 2015. The plant is located along the coast at Tofte, south of oslo. Fresh water flowing into the sea is diverted to a vessel containing a semipermeable membrane (spiral-wound, cellulose acetate) with brine
(Continues on p. 12)
Non-invasive probe measures corrosion inside boiler water tubes in real time
hanges in the rate of corrosion in water tubes have been detected within minutes by an externally mounted monitor developed by the Center for Nuclear Energy Research (CNER, Fredericton, NB, Canada; www. unb.ca/cner). The data were obtained in online tests over the past 18 months on a black liquor recovery boiler at a kraft mill operated by Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. (Saint John, NB). Details were presented at the recent TAPPI Conference (see story above). Note: For more information, circle the 3-digit number on p. 62, or use the website designation.
The monitor operates on the principle of hydrogen effusion. In the corrosion process, two moles of hydrogen atoms are produced for every mole of iron that is dissolved into water, explains Kelly McKeen, a CNER project manager. The atomic H2 migrates through the wall of the steel tube and recombines to form H2 gas, which is captured in CNER’s hydrogen effusion probe (HEP). The HEP measures the rate of H2 pressure increase and converts it to a corrosion rate of millimeters per year.
The HEP consists of a silver cup that is clamped to the outside of the tube, silver tubing, a pressure transducer and a valve. McKeen points out that silver is practically impermeable to H2. The system is operated under vacuum and the valve is automatically opened to allow evacuation of the H2 and to restart a cycle after a predetermined pressure setpoint is reached. McKeen says the main advantage of the HEP over conventional methods, such (Continues on p. 12)
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
Concentrated sulfuric acid
C hementato R
Water 1st stage hydrolysis
Higher yields and lower cost are expected for this biomass-to-ethanol process
process that produces 75–85 gal of ethanol per dry ton of mixed cellulosic waste feed will be commercialized by BlueFire Ethanol (Irvine, Calif.; www.bluefireethanol.com). The plant, to be built in Lancaster, Calif., will convert 130 dry ton/d of feed (post-sorted municipal solid waste, including green waste) into 4-million gal/yr (about 12,000 gal/d) of ethanol when it goes into production in the fall of 2010. It will mark the first commercial use of a process developed by Arkenol, Inc. (also of Irvine), although the process has been tested in three pilot plants. The process uses concentrated sulfuric acid as a catalyst to transform cellulose and hemicellulose feedstocks into glucose and xylose (C6 and C5) sugars. The yield is 1.5–3 times those of processes that use a combination of dilute sulfuric acid and enzymes for hydrolysis, says John Cuzens, senior vicepresident of BlueFire and a former principal with Arkenol. Coarsely ground feed is dried to less than 10% moisture, contacted with 75% concentrated acid, and cooked at about 85°C and ambient pressure for under 30 min. The hydrolyzed C6 and C5 sugars and acid are then separated from lignin and other solids, which are used as boiler fuel for process
corrosion inside boiler water tubes
(Continued from p. 15) as weight-loss coupons, ultrasonic measurement and other types of H2 probes is that it provides a realtime, online response. Also, it can be operated at temperatures above 350°C, compared with a maximum of about
Acid reconcentration Dilute sulfuric acid Steam Condensate return
Water Sugar solution
Yeast recycle Ethanol
steam and plant power. About Distillation and dehydration beer 98% of the acid and 100% of the sugars are recovered in a simulated moving-bed chro- Ethanol product matographic separator. Acid Process is recycled and the sugars are water recycle converted to ethanol by continuous fermentation, using yeast (conver(Continued from p. 12) sion is 100% for C6 sugars and 20% for C5s). The sugars may also be converted to higheron the other side. water from the fresh side passes through value products, using heterotrophic algae, the membrane due to the conbacteria or fungi. centration difference, thereby Cuzens says the key elements of the proincreasing the pressure on the cess are the use of concentrated acid and of brine side. This osmotic preschromatographic separation, which recovers sure — equivalent to a 120-m the acid rather than neutralizing it and discolumn of water (about 12 bar) posing of the waste. The Lancaster plant will — is then used to drive a turhave an operating cost of $1.50–2/gal (not inbine for making electricity. cluding a $1.01/gal tax credit), he says, and a The company estimates the full-scale plant of 50-million gal/yr will have global potential of osmotic power at 1,600 to 1,700 Twh/ an operating cost of below 80¢/gal. 250°C for other H2 probes. The system’s rapid reaction to an increased corrosion rate was proved during a boiler shutdown, when the tubes were drained and cleaned with inhibited hydrochloric acid. McKeen says CNER is now negotiating with a petroleum company to do a test in a refinery.
yr — equivalent to 50% of the eU’s total power production.
Efficient Cl2 production The oxygen-depolarized cathode (oDC) of bayer materialScience (bmS; le-
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The commercial debut for a process that makes ‘natural’ gas from coal
aldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; www.topsoe.com) has signed a design contract with an undisclosed client in China for a new plant that will produce substitute natural gas (SNG). When the plant comes on stream in 2011, it will produce close to 180,000 Nm3/h of SNG using Topsøe’s methanation process, called TREMP. The plant will be the first large-scale order for TREMP technology, says general manager Jens Perregaard, New Technologies, Technology Division. The Topsøe high-temperature methanation process (for flowsheet, see CE, 12
February 2007, p. 11) uses coal-derived syngas (H2-to-CO ratio of slightly above 3), which has been passed through a sulfur-tolerant shift and acid-gas removal unit for removing H2S and excess carbon (as CO2). In order to protect the methanation catalyst — Topsøe’s nickelbased MCR — from poisoning, the feed is first passed through a sulfur guard bed to remove traces of sulfur components. Desulfurized feed is then mixed with recycle gas to control the maximum temperature rise and passed to the first methanation reactor, where H2 reacts with CO and CO2 to form CH4.
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
The reaction is performed in a reactor with a very large DT and at the same time with a technology preventing the formation of nickel carbonyl. The DT ensures that heat can efficiently be recovered from the exothermic reaction and used for generating superheated, high-pressure steam. The cooled gas then passes through two or three methanation reactors in series for complete conversion. Products leaving the last reactor are cooled and compressed to meet pipeline specifications. The SNG is typically 94–96 mol.% CH4, with a heating value of 950–978 Btu/scf.
Honeywell’s field solution portfolio keeps getting bigger and bigger. Reliable and cost-effective, we offer a constantly expanding portfolio of field solutions to satisfy a broad range of your process needs. From analytical sensors and transmitters, to pressure and temperature transmitters, to flow and tank gauging solutions, Honeywell offers many solutions. Honeywell’s collection of field solutions let you tackle any job with ease to improve business performance.
To learn more about Honeywell field solutions, please call 1-877-466-3993 or visit www.honeywell.com/ps © 2008 Honeywell International, Inc. All rights reserved.
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C hementato R Sewage sludge 4% DM
Onsite incineration of sewage sludge to be demonstrated
ncineration is becoming the only viable method for sewage sludge disposal as landfilling or spreading sludge onto farmland is no longer permitted in some countries. Today, sludge is commonly incinerated in large, centralized incinerators or as an additive in coal-fired power plants or cement kilns. An alternative to these costly and inconvenient options — small, localized incinerators — has been developed by Huber SE (Berching, Germany; www.huber.de), in cooperation with partners in a three-year project supported under the European Commission’s Life program. The new incinerators are based on Huber’s sludge2energy process (flowsheet). Sludge is first pre-dried in a belt dryer to a solids concentration of up to 90% by blowing hot (90°C) air through the belts. The cooled air is reheated with heat recovered from the incinerator and recirculated through the dryer. A slight underpressure is maintained in the dryer to prevent the release of air, vapors and odors. Dried sludge is then
Flue gas Flue cleaning gas
Sludge Off gas 25% DM
Combustion Flue Dryer Sludge 90% DM gas
Air Future Ash phosphate
Preheated combustion air
Heat for drying
ast month, a photocatalytic water-cleaning system that removes organic and inorganic contaminants that are difficult to breakdown from wastewater was inaugurated at the German Aerospace Center (DLR; Stuttgart; www.dlr.de) facility in Lampildshausem. The so-called RayWOx system features a new type of solar receiver consisting of glass pipes. Wastewater mixed with an iron salt — the iron ion serving as photocatalyst — and hydrogen peroxide flows through the tubes until the absorbed solar radiation has decomposed the contaminants. In pilot trials, the RayWOx process has been shown to be effective for decontaminating water containing pharmaceutical agents; X-ray contrast media and hormones as well as chlorinated hydrocarbons from contaminated groundwater; harmful substances in exhaust-air scrubbing solutions from textile manufacturing; and toxic materials in municipal wastewater. The system operating at Lampildshausem, developed in collaboration with Hirschmann Laborgeräte GmbH (Eberstadt) and KACO new energy GmbH (Neckarsulm; www.kaconewenergy.de), has a solar reactor 49-m long and 470-cm wide and can clean about 4,500 14
conveyed to a small furnace. The hot fluegas from the furnace passes through a heat recuperator that transfers the heat to compressed ambient air, which drives a micro gas turbine and electricity generator. Even small systems can produce enough electricity and supply sufficient heat to run the entire process nearly autothermally, says the firm. Formation of oxides of nitrogen are prevented by staged combustion, fluegas recirculation and selective, non-catalytic
reduction. Acid gases (such as SO2 and HCl) are neutralized by lime addition, and remaining organic components are adsorbed by activated carbon. Huber is designing the first sludge2energy demonstration plant for the Bavarian city of Straubing. This first plant will have a capacity to incinerate 2,200 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of dried solids and will generate approximately 100 kW of electric power. Startup for the plant is planned for the end of 2010.
Using the sun to decontaminate wastewater
L of industrial wastewater, removing of all oxidizable contamination in 2 h (given suitable weather conditions). The demonstration unit is able to completely clean the cooling water from the engine test facilities at the DLR Institute of Space Propulsion, which is contaminated with rocket fuels and their combustion products, such as hydrazine and its derivatives, and nitrite. The hydrazine derivatives are slow to degrade with previously applied ultraviolet (UV) oxidation technology, notes Christian Jung, a scientist at the DLR’s Institute for Technical Thermodynamics. The UV reactors consume large amounts of electrical energy — for powering lamps, and for fast pumping to dissipate waste heat — and UV oxidation typically needs 2–3 times more oxidant (H2O2 and caroate), he adds. In contrast, the oxidant requirement of the ironcatalyzed RayWOx process is close to the theoretical demand, which saves 50–80% of the H2O2 required, he says. Modular construction of the RayWOx technology makes is easy to install and well suited to building systems of any desired size. KACO new energy has commercialized the technology under the RayWOx tradename.
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
(Continued from p. 12) verkusen, germany; www. bayermaterialscience.com) will be used to produce chlorine on an industrial scale. bmS is in negotiations with Uhde gmbh (Dortmund, germany; www. uhde.biz) to build an oDC plant scheduled to start up in 2011. The oCD technology (see CE, February 2001, pp. 31–35) enables electrolysis to be performed at a lower voltage, thereby generating energy savings of up to 30%. bmS has been using this technology to recover Cl2 from hCl, and has been operating the largest hCl electrolysis plant at its site in Shanghai since 2008 (CE, october 2006, p. 16).
Direct polymerization last month, construction on a production plant for thermoplastic methacrylate resin was completed in Shanghai. The facility will mark the commercial debut for the Continuous
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Microsoft Dynamics® CRM integrates information from different sources and puts it in one place, at one time, so everyone in your company sees the information needed to make better decisions faster. It’s simple for your sales and support people to use, and it’s ready to fit your company right away. So you can spend less time on service calls and more time building stronger relationships. To learn more about the efficiencies Microsoft Dynamics CRM can create for your business, go to microsoftdynamics.com/manufacturing
Circle 12 on p. 62 or go to adlinks.che.com/23021-12
C hementato R
A bioleaching process moves closer to commercialization
n February 2009, Talvivaara Mining Company Plc. (Espoo, Finland; www. talvivaara.com) delivered its first in a series of commercial shipments of metals to Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta refinery in Finland. Talvivaara expanded the crushing circuit and has restarted the metals precipitation process in September of 2009. Talvivaara expects to continue its production ramp-up targeted at eventually achieving up to 50,000 m.t./yr in nickel production in 2012 at the multi-metals ore deposit in Sotkamo, Finland. The operations — consisting of mining, crushing, leaching and metals recovery — utilize a bioleaching process developed in collaboration with several companies and research institutions, including Tampere University of Technology. Bioleaching is said to be more environmentally friendly for extracting metals than traditional smelting because it generates no gaseous emissions and requires less energy. In the process (diagram), the crushed ore is piled on a pad into 8-m-high stacks. Piping at the bottom of the heap supplies aeration to the stacked ore. A leach solution, containing mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria indigenous to the region, is circulated through the stack from the top. As the bacteria oxidize large quantities of pyrrhotite and pyrite, the exothermic reaction elevates the temperature to over 50°C — even when am-
(Continued from p. 14) bient conditions are at –20°C. After the metals are leached from the ore — which takes about 1.5 yr — the metals can be recovered from the pregnant leaching solution by precipitation and filtration. Pilot-scale leaching trials were conducted with 110 m.t. of ore in 2005, followed by a 17,000-m.t. demonstration trial carried out from 2005–2008. The commercial operation will process approximately 15-million m.t./yr of ore.
A Japanese push for bio-ETBE over bioethanol
ast month, Nippon Oil Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.eneos.co.jp) started production bio-ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether), which will be blended into gasoline as an alternative to ethanol as an oxygenate. Nippon Petroleum Refining Co., a subsidiary of Nippon Oil, inaugurated the facility at its Negishi Oil Factory at Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on October 26. Nippon Oil is planning to mix bio-ETBE with regular gasoline, which will be sold at 1,000 of its service stations in Tokyo. Bio-ETBE is made by the catalytic reaction of bioethanol with iso-butene derived from the company’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit. Nippon Oil modified its existing production facility for ETBE, and established a production capacity of 100-mil16
lion L/yr. The facility uses 40-million L/yr of bioethanol — produced at Hokkaido and imported from Brazil — and 70-million L/yr of FCC-based iso-butene. The benefits of blending ETBE instead of ethanol outweigh the increased complexity of ETBE production, says Nippon Oil. For example, gasoline with more than 3% ethanol is corrosive and leads to a higher vapor pressure. Also, ethanol must be blended at the point of distribution to prevent water contamination and phase separation. ETBE does not have these problems. The Japanese petroleum-refining industry aims to market 840-million L/yr of gasoline with bio-ETBE (corresponding to 360-million L/yr of bioethanol) starting with the fiscal year April 2010. ■
CHEmICAL EnGInEERInG WWW.CHE.Com DECEmbER 2009
Direct Polymerization (CDP) process of Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik. com), and will make products used primarily as binders in the coatings industry.
Preventing biofims At last month’s Watec Conference (Tel Aviv, Israel), Yissum Research Development Co. of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. (Israel; www. yissum.co.il) introduced an environmentally friendly method for preventing biofilm. The patented method, which was developed at Hebrew University, uses heterocyclic compounds that disrupt cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing), thereby interfering with the formation of biofilms. The compounds can be applied as non-leaching polymer coatings on pipes, filters, membranes, air-conditioning ducts and other surfaces, and are effective against both fungal and bacterial biofilms. Potential applications include municipal and industrial water pipes, irrigation pipelines, paper making machines, and desalination and water-recycling processes. ❏
40th KirKpatricK award announced
2009 Board of Judges
Seven companies are honored for innovation in chemical engineering
ast month at the Chem Show, Chemical Engineering (CE) had the pleasure of honoring this year’s finalists and the winner of the 2009 Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award, a biennial prize that the magazine has bestowed continuously since the early 1930s (for more, see CE, January 2009, p.19) The award recognizes the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized anywhere in the world during 2007 or 2008. CE presented the top prize to Lucite International UK Ltd. (Wilton, U.K.; www.lucite.com) for its Alpha process for making methyl methacrylate (MMA). Honor awards were also presented to: The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; www.dow.com) and BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com), for a jointly developed process for the production of propylene oxide (PO) via hydrogen peroxide (HPPO); Evonik Industries AG (Essen; www.evonik.de) and Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, both Germany;
Klavs S. Jensen, MIT Norman J. Wagner, University of Delaware Tom Spicer, University of Arkansas Michael D. Graham, University of Wisconsin, Madison T.J. Lakis Mountziaris, University of Massachusetts Jean-Claude Charpentier, President European Federation of Chemical Engineers, Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, France
www.uhde.biz), for a jointly developed process for the production of PO via hydrogen peroxide; Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com), for its Epicerol process for making epichlorohydrin; and to DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; www.dupont.com), for Cerenol — a new family of renewably sourced, high-performance polyether glycols.
Lucite’s Winning Achievement A new route to MMA
Two existing processes dominate the manufacture of MMA. In the original ACH process — still the predominant process in Europe and the U.S. — hydrogen cyanide and acetone are reacted to form cyanohydrin, which is then isomerized in the presence of 100% sulfuric acid to methacrylamide sulfate. This is reacted with methanol to yield MMA and ammonium hydrogen sulfate, which can either be converted to ammonium sulfate fertilizer or incinerated to SO2 with subsequent conversion back to sulfuric acid. The
ACH process uses toxic and corrosive chemicals and the MMA production is generally limited by the availability of HCN as a byproduct from acrylonitrile production. The selectivity, based on acetone, is 85–90%. In Asia alongside the ACH process is the so-called C4 process, whereby isobutene is extracted from crackerintermediate streams, then oxidized in two stages into methacrylic acid (MAA). The MAA is then esterified into MMA. Although the C4 process is simpler that the ACH process, it has a very low selectivity (about 70% of the isobutene is converted to MMA) and scale is limited by the design of the oxidation reactors and feedstock availability to approximately 80,000 metric tons (m.t.) per year. The Alpha process developed from a need identified by the then ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) board to escape from the straitjackets of high capital and variable cost plants and limited scale of production, all of which were believed to have held back MMA
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
Cover Story against other high-volume plastics, such as polystyrene and polyacrylates. In 1990, a team of Lucite chemists and engineers identified several processes that, on paper at least, appeared to be alternatives for existing technology. These were investigated experimentally through catalyst development and conceptual process design of separations. Variants were assessed for economic attractiveness using predictive models for the longterm future of feedstocks, such as ethylene, propylene, methanol, acetone and isobutene. Using this iterative process, the technology best suited to the company was chosen for piloting. The Alpha process is a two-step route to MMA (Figure 1). In the first step, carbon monoxide, ethylene and methanol are reacted together in a single, homogeneous catalyzed reaction step to produce methylpropionate (MeP). In the second step, MeP is reacted with formaldehyde in a single heterogeneous reaction step to form MMA. The MeP synthesis is carried out in a continuous stirred tank reactor under moderate conditions of temperature and pressure. A proprietary agitation and gas-liquid mixing arrangement is used to ensure optimal reactant concentration and mass transfer rates. The catalyst — a palladium bisphosphine — displays enzyme-like selectivity with excellent activity. Because the reaction is highly selective, there are no byproducts to separate. The MMA synthesis reaction takes place in a fixed bed of catalyst, which has cesium oxide on silica as its active component. This catalyst converts MeP and anhydrous formaldehyde into MMA with a selectivity of 95% (from MeP). Two parallel MMA reactors are used to allow in-situ catalyst regeneration without disruption of the process. The reactor product is separated by an initial distillation, which produces a crude MMA stream free of water, MeP and formaldehyde. Unreacted MeP and formaldehyde are recycled, via a formaldehyde dehydration process, and the crude MMA further refined, by a series of conventional (but unique to this process) vacuum distillations to a product MMA stream of >99.9% purity. MMA plant capital cost using the Alpha process is about 30–40% lower 18
Alpha stage 1 (MeP)
2CH3OH + O2
Licensed Formalin process
Conventional Formalin process
MeP process CO + C2H4 + CH3OH
2CH2O + 2H2O
(93% CH3OH reaction selectivity)
Alpha stage 2 (MMA)
(No reaction byproducts)
MMA feed vaporization & superheat
MMA reactor 2
Reactor Regen loop
Carbon monoxide Ethylene
MMA reactor 1
MeP + CH2O MMA + Water (95% Reaction selectivity)
Waste water Crude separation
Refining Heavy esters
Figure 1. Lucite's award-winning Alpha MMA Process is based on completely new chemistry and a radically different flowsheet
than equivalent scale ACH, or C4 plants. The Alpha process also has a number of safety and environmental advantages, including the following: There are no significant inventories of hazardous chemicals; byproduct formation is low, and waste treatment requirements are minimal (trivial); and the principal hazards are only those associated with flammability of inventories. With Alpha, MMA manufacturing locations are no longer constrained by feedstock availability, and there are no engineering scale limitations to at least 250,000 m.t./yr. Lucite’s Alpha MMA Process was successfully demonstrated in a 120,000-m.t./yr plant that started up in the 4th Q of 2008 at Jurong Island in Singapore (photo, p. 17).
Honor AwArd: THe dow CHemiCAl Co. And BASF Se Industrial Process for the production of PO via H2O2
Propylene oxide (PO) is a widely used chemical intermediate, with a worldwide demand estimated to be in excess of 6.5 million m.t./yr. PO is used for the production of a broad range of industrial and commercial products, including polyurethanes, propylene glycols and glycol ethers. Traditionally, four commercial-scale PO processes have been used globally, the chlorohydrin (CHPO) route and three hydroperoxidation processes: propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA), styrene monomer/propylene oxide (SMPO) and cumene hydroperoxide (CPO). In the HPPO process developed by Dow and BASF, the organic peroxides
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com DeCember 2009
or chlorinated oxidants used in the hydroperoxidation processes are replaced by hydrogen peroxide — a clean, versatile, environmentally benign oxidant. The reaction of H2O2 with propylene produces only water as a co-product, as well as minor amounts of PO derivatives, such as propylene glycol. The key to the HPPO process developed by the Dow, BASF team is the patented catalyst — a shaped body titanium-containing MFI-type zeolite with channels of about 0.5 nm in dia., which was developed and is produced by BASF. The catalyst is used in a fixed-bed reactor, and the reaction of H2O2 and C3H6 takes place in the liquid phase (methanol as solvent) under mild conditions. A patented reaction sequence with a main and finishing reactor and an intermediate separation tower (Figure 2) allows high H2O2 conversion at high selectivity by preventing PO-consuming reactions that lead to the formation of byproducts. The primary reactor is operated at an optimum conversion of H2O2. The effluent product from this reactor is then sent to a separation tower that removes PO from unreacted H2O2. H2O2 conversion is then completed in a second reactor to enable a complete H2O2 conversion in a single pass, while optimizing the PO yield. The combination of the highly selective catalyst, the two-stage reactor concept and an optimization of the methanol solvent concentration in the process enables the reaction system to be operated with a relatively small excess of propylene to H2O2, while still maintaining a high overall yield. The crude PO product is purified by distillation, and the methanol purified and recycled. The small
PROCESS INSIGHT Comparing Physical Solvents for Acid Gas Removal Physical solvents such as DEPG, NMP, Methanol, and Propylene Carbonate are often used to treat sour gas. These physical solvents differ from chemical solvents such as ethanolamines and hot potassium carbonate in a number of ways. The regeneration of chemical solvents is achieved by the application of heat whereas physical solvents can often be stripped of impurities by simply reducing the pressure. Physical solvents tend to be favored over chemical solvents when the concentration of acid gases or other impurities is very high and the operating pressure is high. Unlike chemical solvents, physical solvents are non-corrosive, requiring only carbon steel construction. A physical solvent’s capacity for absorbing acid gases increases signiﬁcantly as the temperature decreases, resulting in reduced circulation rate and associated operating costs.
PC (Propylene Carbonate)
The Fluor Solvent process uses JEFFSOL® PC and is by Fluor Daniel, Inc. The light hydrocarbons in natural gas and hydrogen in synthesis gas are less soluble in PC than in the other solvents. PC cannot be used for selective H2S treating because it is unstable at the high temperature required to completely strip H2S from the rich solvent. The FLUOR Solvent process is generally limited to treating feed gases containing less than 20 ppmv; however, improved stripping with medium pressure ﬂash gas in a vacuum stripper allows treatment to 4 ppmv for gases containing up to 200 ppmv H2S. The operating temperature for PC is limited to a minimum of 0°F (-18°C) and a maximum of 149°F (65°C).
Gas Solubilities in Physical Solvents
All of these physical solvents are more selective for acid gas than for the main constituent of the gas. Relative solubilities of some selected gases in solvents relative to carbon dioxide are presented in the following table. The solubility of hydrocarbons in physical solvents increases with the molecular weight of the hydrocarbon. Since heavy hydrocarbons tend to accumulate in the solvent, physical solvent processes are generally not economical for the treatment of hydrocarbon streams that contain a substantial amount of pentane-plus unless a stripping column with a reboiler is used.
Typical Physical Solvent Process
DEPG at 25°C
PC at 25°C
NMP at 25°C
MeOH at -25°C
DEPG is a mixture of dimethyl ethers of polyethylene glycol. Solvents containing DEPG are marketed by several companies including Coastal Chemical Company (as Coastal AGR®), Dow (Selexol™), and UOP (Selexol). DEPG can be used for selective H2S removal and can be conﬁgured to yield both a rich H2S feed to the Claus unit as well as bulk CO2 removal. DEPG is suitable for operation at temperatures up to 347°F (175°C). The minimum operating temperature is usually 0°F (-18°C).
DEPG (Dimethyl Ether of Polyethylene Glycol)
The most common Methanol processes for acid gas removal are the Rectisol process (by Lurgi AG) and Ifpexol® process (by Prosernat). The main application for the Rectisol process is puriﬁcation of synthesis gases derived from the gasiﬁcation of heavy oil and coal rather than natural gas treating applications. The two-stage Ifpexol process can be used for natural gas applications. Methanol has a relatively high vapor pressure at normal process conditions, so deep refrigeration or special recovery methods are required to prevent high solvent losses. The process usually operates between -40°F and -80°F (-40°C and -62°C).
The Purisol Process uses NMP® and is marketed by Lurgi AG. The ﬂow schemes used for this solvent are similar to those for DEPG. The process can be operated either at ambient temperature or with refrigeration down to about 5°F (-15°C). The Purisol process is particularly well suited to the puriﬁcation of high-pressure, high CO2 synthesis gas for gas turbine integrated gasiﬁcation combined cycle (IGCC) systems because of the high selectivity for H2S.
Choosing the Best Alternative
A detailed analysis must be performed to determine the most economical choice of solvent based on the product requirements. Feed gas composition, minor components present, and limitations of the individual physical solvent processes are all important factors in the selection process. Engineers can easily investigate the available alternatives using a veriﬁed process simulator such as ProMax® which has been veriﬁed with plant operating data. For additional information about this topic, view the technical article “A Comparison of Physical Solvents for Acid Gas Removal” at http://www.bre.com/tabid/147/Default.aspx. For more information about ProMax, contact Bryan Research & Engineering or visit www.bre.com.
Bryan Research & Engineering, Inc. P.O. Box 4747 • Bryan, Texas USA • 77805 979-776-5220 • www.bre.com • email@example.com Circle 13 on p. 62 or go to adlinks.che.com/23021-13
Cover Story propylene offgas stream is recycled (after catalytic removal of O2 for safety reasons). Product yields, based on propylene and H2O2 exceed 90%. Compared with existing PO technology, this HPPO process reduces wastewater by 70–80%; reduces energy usage by 35%; and reduces infrastructure and physical footprint with simpler raw material integration and avoidance of co-products. New PO plants using HPPO technology require up to 25% less capital to build. In 2008, Dow and BASF successfully started up the first commercial-scale PO production plant with a capacity of 300,000 m.t./yr based on the BASF/ Dow-developed HPPO technology at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium, facility. A second plant based on this technology is scheduled to begin production in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in the first half of 2011.
Honor AwArd: Evonik induStriES AG And uHdE GmbH Industrial process for the production of PO via H2O2
As mentioned in the previous section, conventional routes to PO generate considerable amounts of co-products. Per ton of PO, the chlorohydrin route generates 2.1 tons CaCl2; the PO/SM route makes 2.3 tons of styrene; PO/ TBA coproduces 2.4 tons of MTBE; and the cumene route makes dimethylbenzyl alcohol that needs to be hydrogenated and recycled. The EvonikUhde HPPO process produces no co-products. With the HPPO process (Figure 3), propylene is catalytically oxidized with H2O2 to PO and H2O. The highly exothermic reaction (DHR° = –220 kJ/ mol) takes place in a methanol solvent over a solid titanium silicalite (TS-1) catalyst. The key to the Evonik-Uhde HPPO process is the oxidation reactor. A shell-and-tube reactor of an entirely new design is used, making it possible for the liquid to flow through each of several thousand catalystfilled tubes. The reaction takes place at a pressure of about 30 bar and at a temperature well below 100°C. The new design and an optimized process configuration guarantee good removal of the reaction heat and nearly ideal 20
H2O2 MeOH Main reactor
Finishing O2 reactor removal PO separation Offgas
PO Water MeOH puripuriCrude glycols PO separation fication fication
Figure 2. In the HPPO process developed by BASF and Dow, a patented reaction sequence with a main and finishing reactor and an intermediate separation tower allows high H2O2 conversion at high selectivity
flow characteristics in each tube, resulting in very high PO selectivity. Reactor internals, such as distributors and collectors, were developed for this special application. The innovative design combines efficient heat transfer with an almost ideal plugflow characterization. Subsequently, the unconverted propylene and the solvent methanol are separated from the PO product by decompression and distillation to be fed back into the reactor. Finally, the PO is further processed to achieve a product purity greater than 99.97 wt.%. During the development phase, the cost efficiency of the process development was continually checked and controlled with the help of IRR (internal rate of return) calculations. All process steps and the core equipment are patented. The complete process was demonstrated in a miniplant featuring all of the process steps, and described by means of a simulation model. This is particularly important in order to detect trace components in the closed recycle loops at an early stage and to permit a low-risk scaleup to commercial scale. The scaleup procedure — from miniplant to a worldscale PO facility with a capacity of 100,000 m.t./yr as a reference plant — was carried out in a single development step. The scaleup risk was minimized for the reaction unit by increasing the number of miniplant reactor tubes and connecting them in parallel. Especially for the downstream processing, intensive process simulation was performed and verified using the miniplant data. Finite element methods (FEM) and computational fluid
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dynamics (CFD) calculations complemented the development work. The first large-scale industrial plant to use this HPPO process was built for SKC Co., Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea) at Ulsan, approximately 300 km southeast of Seoul. The 100,000-m.t./yr plant came onstream in March 2008. After a short time of parameter adaption, the plant operated at full capacity and within specifications in July, 2008. Since then, the plant has been producing top quality PO at 100% capacity.
Honor AwArd: du Pont A new family of renewably sourced polyether glycols
On June 4, 2007, DuPont announced the commercial launch of DuPont Cerenol, a new family of 100% renewably sourced, high-performance polyether glycols made from corn-derived 1,3-propanediol (Bio-PDO), instead of a petroleum-based ingredient. There are now five commercial grades of Cerenol homopolymer, which are manufactured in batch operations spanning the molecular weight range of 650 to 2,400 g/mol. Cerenol polymers possess a unique combination of properties that make them exceptionally attractive for a variety of end-use applications, including performance coatings, inks lubricants, functional fluids and personal care products. Cerenol polymers can also be used as building blocks for several value-added thermoplastic elastomers, such as polyurethanes, spandex, copolyether esters and copolyether ester amides. Cerenol polymers are linear, ether-
HO MeOH recycle
Figure 4. The poly(trimethylene ether) glycol molecule can be synthesized from either a polycondensation of 1,3 propanediol [Reaction (1)] or by cationic ring opening of oxetane [Reaction (2)]
the oxetane alternative. The polycondensation process inDecompressing/ volves the self-condensation propane recyling of diol in the presence of a soluble acid catalyst (<1 wt.%) and subsequent removal of the acid during the purification process. Since PO Methanol this reaction can be executed purification processing under an inert atmosphere at ambient pressure without the use of an organic solvent, it does not require the highpressure reactors needed for PO Wastewater the ring-opening reaction of oxetane. The polycondensaFigure 3. The key to the HPPO process develtion process also simplifies oped by Evonik and Uhde is the shell-and-tube the control of the reactor as oxidation reactor the evaporation of the water linked, long-chain molecules with byproduct creates an endothermic three carbon atoms in the repeat process as opposed to the strongly exounit. This three-carbon linkage pro- thermic reaction process utilized by vides Cerenol polymers improved low- the oxetane process. Beyond the environmental benefits temperature flexibility and toughness in elastomers when compared of making Cerenol from Bio-PDO into alternative polyether glycols. The stead of petroleum-derived PDO, Cerepoly(trimethylene ether) glycol mol- nol also provides unique functionality ecule can be synthesized from either over alternative polyether glycols. a polycondensation of 1,3-propanediol (Figure 4, top) or by the cationic ring Honor AwArd: opening of oxetane (Figure 4, bottom). SolvAy S.A. The production of Cerenol through The Epicerol process for the polycondensation of Bio-PDO re- making epichlorohydrin quired several process and product Epichlorohydrin (ECH) is a basic innovations to engineer cost-effective chemical for the production of epoxy methods for manufacturing the prod- resins, which are used in a variety of uct. One of the key enabling tech- applications, including the automotive nologies was the use of Bio-PDO to and aircraft industries; windmills; eliminate costly and energy intensive electronics; packaging; and sports pre- and post-polymerization treat- equipment. ECH is also used in other ments that had previously been re- chemical fields, such as for the producquired for polymers from petroleum tion of water-treatment chemicals and based PDO. pharmaceuticals. The world demand The use of polycondensation of Bio- for ECH is 1.3 million m.t./yr with an PDO to produce Cerenol enables an in- estimated growth rate of 4–5% in the herently safer process than the cationic coming years. ring opening of oxetane — a hazardous The traditional production route to material that is highly flammable, vol- ECH uses propylene and chlorine as atile, toxic and highly reactive. In con- feedstocks and follows a three-step trast, Bio-PDO is renewably sourced process: First, propylene is reacted and biodegradable with low volatility, with chlorine to make allyl chloride flammability and toxicity. and hydrogen chloride; allyl chloride Polycondensation of Bio-PDO is then reacts with Cl2 and water to form also less equipment intensive than dichloropropanol and HCl; finally, di-
chloropropanol reacts with sodium hydroxide to form epichlorohydrin and NaCl. This process is not very selective; some amounts of chlorinated byproducts are produced that cannot be utilized or sold. Also, the process is energy and water intensive, and based on an inflammable, petroleumbased feedstock. Meanwhile, the rapid evolution of the biodiesel industry in the last few years has significantly increased the availability of glycerin — a byproduct of the transesterification technology of biodiesel production. In the past, glycerin had even been made by using ECH as a feedstock. Studying the opportunity to invert this process lead Solvay to the development of its Epicerol process. In the Epicerol process (details not disclosed), dichloropropanol is made in one step by the reaction of glycerine and HCl over a proprietary catalyst, thus avoiding the need to use Cl2. In addition, the process is said to generate fewer chlorinated byproducts with a sharp reduction of water consumption. Epicerol has the extra advantage of replacing a hydrocarbon feedstock by glycerin, which is a byproduct from the biodiesel and oleochemical industries. After preliminary laboratory and pilot trials were made, the first industrial-scale unit — with a production capacity of 10,000 m.t./yr — was started in Tavaux, France, in 2007. This unit helped the company to improve the process conditions and to prepare for the construction of a 100,000-m.t./yr Epicerol unit for Solvay’s integrated site of Map Ta Phut, Thailand, which is slated to startup at the end of 2011. Compared to the conventional route to ECH, Epicerol requires one-tenth the water demand; reduces emissions of chlorinated residues by a factor of eight; reduces CO2 emissions by 20% for the value-added chain; and halves the consumption of non-renewable energy resources. ■ Gerald Ondrey
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When DME is combusted, it generates absolutely no sulfur oxides and 90% less nitrogen oxide emissions than today's fossil fuels.
Process Economics Program Report: DME from Coal Dimethyl ether (DME) is a clean energy fuel that can be manufactured from various primary energy resources including coal. DME is colorless, nontoxic and an environmentally benign compound used in industry today as a solvent and a propellant in aerosol products. According to the International Energy Agency, long term global energy demand is expected to increase by 60% between 2002 and 2030. In this report, SRIC has calculated that DME as an energy source is economically viable when the crude oil price is at US$55 a barrel. Conventional DME (methanol dehydration) technology lacks the efficiency for large-scale production. By integrating coal gasification and single step DME technology, large-scale production can be achieved from low cost coal. SRIC's DME from Coal report provides process economics for integrated production of DME from coal using indirect and direct process technology.
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ScreenerS target efficiency Screening system manufacturers look to squeeze more out of their equipment
s bulk-solids processors look for ways to save money, manufacturers of screening equipment are concentrating on maximizing the efficiency of the equipment they offer. Screening has been prominent in solid-solid separations in the chemical process industries (CPI) for decades. It is usually performed either to remove oversize particles and foreign materials from a bulk solid (scalping), to separate different size fractions of a bulk material to create multiple products (classification), or to remove fines or dust from feed material. While the basic principles of screening technology have changed little over time, screening companies are focusing on efficiency and have developed ways to improve throughput, reduce screen blinding, and make screening systems easier to use and maintain. Screening efficiency can be defined in several ways, depending on the application and the desired outcome. For removal of undersized material, efficiency could be expressed as a ratio between the amount of feed that actually passes through the screen and the amount that should pass. For classification, efficiency can be the amount of on-size product separated by the screen over the amount of onsize material available in the feed. When screening to remove oversized particles, engineers could define efficiency as the actual amount of oversized material over the amount of feed that passes. Screening equipment manufactur-
The SMICO/Symons V screen (left) has the capability to combine centrifugal force with vibratory energy to enhance screening. Above, one of Virto-Elcan’s Kroosh machines is equipped with a multifrequency vibration adapter to amplify vibratory energy. SMICO/Symons
ers that exhibited at the 2009 Chem Show in New York from November 17–19 provide examples of this focus on efficiency. These companies include Russell Finex (Feltham, U.K.; www. russellfinex.com), SMICO Manufacturing Co. (Oklahoma City, Okla.; www.smico.com) and Virto-Elcan (Mamaroneck, N.Y.; www.virto-elcan. com). Virto-Elcan is a business name recently added to the company known also as Elcan Industries Inc. and as Minox-Elcan. Virto-Elcan added the moniker for its business selling, servicing and testing screening equipment from Kroosh Technologies (Ashdod, Israel; www.kroosh.com).
Efficiency is king
The current economic environment has prompted companies in the CPI to concentrate on maximizing efficiency in every area of their processes. Among the general approaches to reach optimal screening efficiencies pursued by those who handle powders and other solids are: increasing throughput; boosting separation specificity; reducing maintenance requirements; and shrinking the physical footprint, along with other screening parameters that
can impact process efficiency. “No one can survive running inefficiently anymore,” says Bob Grotto, president of Virto-Elcan. This assertion applies equally to those developing screening equipment as well as those using it. Many processing problems need to be solved more precisely now, he explains, and that requires screening equipment capable of more specific separations or higher throughput. Tim Douglass, product manager at SMICO Manufacturing Co. and its subsidiary Symons Screens (www. symonsscreens.com), agrees, saying that CPI companies are trying to save money and save on capital equipment costs, and that the drive to save includes searching for value in screening equipment. “People are focusing on ‘How much can you process?’ and ‘How well can you do it?’” because they want to process “more with less,” Douglass says. Processors are trying to reclaim more product, recycle materials, reduce waste or make productive use of waste material. Efficiency is of primary importance to customers, and screening companies are trying to design equip-
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Newsfront ment to maximize productivity. “It all goes back to efficiency,” he adds.
Combining screen motions
Size-based separation with a screen involves some kind of motion or vibration, since the mechanism by which particles are separated depends on motion of the bed to continously renew the layer of material exposed to the screen. Screener motions are usually vibratory, gyratory or centrifugal. Symons Screens, a subsidiary of Chem Show exhibitor SMICO Manufacturing Co., offers a product that combines the three modes of motion — vibration, rotation and gyration — to pursue larger capacities and more efficient separations. The centrifugal force enhances the gravitational pull, and the screener drum gyrates as it rotates, subjecting the material to over 1,000 pulsations per minute on the screening surface. The company says the design causes the material to strike the screen surface 50% more often than with a conventional screener.
Another efficiency-improving innovation on display at the Chem Show was the multifrequency vibration adapter developed by Kroosh Technologies. Kroosh machines are tested, serviced and distributed by Virto-Elcan in North America. The specially designed adapter is capable of converting the single frequency vibration of a screener motor into higher-energy, multifrequency vibrations. The adapter captures and amplifies energy from the vibratory motor and transfers it to a support screen. Vibratory screens on Kroosh instruments are designed to use untensioned working meshes. “The support screen grabs the energy,” says Virto-Elcan’s Grotto, “and we lay down a fine mesh over that.” The Kroosh adapter is mounted directly underneath the mesh, and uses the energy of the screener motor to distribute a wide range of sub- and super-harmonic frequencies — what the company calls “a chaotic symphony of vibrations” — through the screening media. Screeners with multifrequency vibration can achieve higher accelera24
tions of the screening surface than a conventional setup. Acceleration gravitational forces experienced by the surface mesh are increased significantly by the adapter — to around 1,000 × g — which is a factor of ten more than the gravitational force observed in many conventional screening systems. The high acceleration applied to the mesh provides a mechanical means of deblinding, potentially a major source of inefficiency in screening processes. The amount of energy An ultrasonic deblinding probe from Russell in the screening area makes Finex is shown applied to a working screen. it impossible for blinding to occur, explains Grotto. In addition, itor, has observed success in customer the high energy stirs powders and de- applications where the ultrasonic deagglomerates material clusters, which blinding approach was used. The techhelps increase processing efficiency. nique allows higher screening capaciThe Kroosh technology can increase ties and screening on finer meshes. throughputs by 10-fold, Grotto says. The main operating component of The built-in antiblinding capabil- the ultrasonic deblinding system is ity of the multifrequency adapter an acoustically developed transducer, eliminates the need for other types which is bonded to a velocity transof screen-blinding countermeasures, fer plate on the sieving mesh. When such as sweeping arms or loose plastic the transducer (sometimes called the spheres on the screening surface. probe) is excited at its resonant freThe vibration action afforded by the quency, the velocity transfer plate vimultifrequency adapter broadens the brates each wire of the mesh and precapabilities of the screening system. vents particles from sticking to them. An efficient screening system could Current screeners equipped with ulrepresent a possible replacement for trasonic deblinding systems give opmore expensive technologies. Grotto erators control over the ultrasonic acpoints to air classifiers as one possible tivity, so engineers have the ability to example. Separations on an efficient pulse the ultrasonic signals or vary the screener can save money compared activity across the screening surface. to an air classifier system, he notes. Rob O’Connell, Midwest regional The vibration mechanism also would sales manager at Russell Finex, says make possible finer separations that recent improvements in the company’s would be impractical with a conven- products are mainly aimed at making tional screener. Grotto says particles them easier to use and maintain. For as close in size as 12 μm can be sepa- example, Russell-Finex offers screenrated using a tensionless mesh on the ers with hand-operated clamps, which Kroosh equipment. obviates the need for tools and makes changing screens a quicker and easier job. The company has also worked on Ultrasonic deblinding Ultrasonic deblinding — the applica- reducing the level of noise produced by tion of ultrasonic frequency energy the equipment. Other efforts include a to the screening mesh to effectively screener design that allows the equipreduce friction in the wire mesh and ment to fit into smaller spaces, and sysprevent particles close in size to the tems that allow for enclosed streams, mesh openings from blocking the for harmful materials, and those that screen — is another approach aimed convey solids through screens with the aid of vacuum or positive pressure at maximizing efficiency. ■ Screening equipment maker Rus- rather than relying on gravity. Scott Jenkins sell Finex, another Chem Show exhib-
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GEA Process Engineering
Building a Better dryer Although they are notorious energy hogs, drying systems can be made more efficient
rying as a process is one of the most energy-intensive unit operations on the planet. Add to that the fact that dryers are used extensively throughout the chemical process industries (CPI) and it becomes obvious that there ought to be more attention paid to reducing the energy consumption and upping the “green” ante of drying processes. Unfortunately, the current economy is putting any such projects and plans on hold for many processors. Drying equipment experts, however, say it doesn’t have to be this way as there are a variety of methods and measures, ranging in price from no or low to high cost, that can be taken to reduce the environmental impact of drying processes, many of which will significantly reduce operating expenses down the road. What makes dryers so energy intensive is that the equipment’s function is to dry product by evaporating moisture, which means it must provide enough latent heat so that the moisture particles change from liquid to gas and then that gas must be extracted. “There is no magic bullet to change this,” says Darren Traub, executive vice president with Drytech Inc. (Irvine, Calif.). “The latent heat is a defined amount of heat and, depending on the moisture level, you have to invest that energy into the process to achieve the drying. However, there do exist opportunities to reduce the amount of energy consumption and environmental impact.”
Heat exchangers can be used in heat recovery systems to preheat the mass of fresh air required
The right tool for the job
The biggest energy savings comes from wise selection of new drying equipment. “In order to have the piece of equipment that has the least energy consumption, you need to ensure that you’re picking the right dryer for the right application,” says Geoff Pridham, director of business development with General Air Products (Exton, Pa.). He says this is something that is often ignored due to the current economy. “Equipment is often selected because it’s the cheapest option on the front end, but if it is the wrong type of dryer for the application, it will cost an arm and a leg in operating costs,” he says. On the contrary, selecting the most appropriate dryer, even with a higher upfront cost, will almost always save in energy and operating costs over the life of the application. For this reason, experts suggest that rather than looking strictly at investment cost, engineers should review the overall cost of the equipment from a lifecycle perspective. This assessment includes not only the initial cost loading from analysis, specification and purchase, but also the operational demands of energy, maintenance, retrofitting and ultimately disposal and replacement. “When you examine this broad spectrum for opportunities, one of the easiest to analyze is energy efficiency as a function of operational cost,” notes Paul Branson, regional director of the industrial group with Aeroglide Corp.’s National Drying Division (Trevose, Pa.).
This cost can often be related in terms of a cost per unit weight of material through a dryer. This calculable number allows comparisons between investments in both the initial selection of the dryer, as well as selection of energy management strategies. The relative cost of energy in a dryer is very significant. For example, a typical dryer used in acrylic polymer processing may have a capital cost of $1.5 million with a total installed cost approaching $2.5 million. This initial investment, ignoring the personnel cost, can be amortized across the first five years at about $500,000 per year. The corresponding thermal energy demand on such a system, however, can approach triple that value, so any reduction in energy will have a dramatic impact, especially over a longer period. “There are strategies for reducing this investment and outlay in the short, as well as the long term,” says Branson.
The simplest of these strategies is to make sure the equipment is running in optimal condition. “To reduce the amount of energy used, it is important to improve the operation of the dryer,” explains Traub. “One of the biggest steps is to eliminate thermal losses that stem from breakdowns in insulation and to get rid of heat sinks and air ingress that cool the drying medium.” Also, optimizing the electrical devices within the dryer will help reduce the energy load. For instance, using
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variable frequency drives in fans will only allow the fan to produce the required amount of air, as opposed to using mechanical dampers where the fan produces more air than is required and uses more energy to run the fan. “There are many similar aspects of the drying system that can be corrected to contribute toward reducing the energy consumption and increasing environmentally responsible processing,” says Traub. While it is not related to energy consumption, optimizing the system will also reduce the environmental footprint in another way. The easiest and most immediate impact on therDryers have two major en- mal demand for dryers is the use of heat recovery. Here, a heat recovery system is used on a dryer vironmental emissions is- exhaust line sues associated with them: the heat source (the resource used to On a typical dryer, the spent exgenerate heat for the dryer) and par- haust air can be passed through an ticulate-matter emissions. To reduce air-to-air heat exchanger to preheat emissions related to the heat source, the mass of fresh air required. This exTraub suggests making sure the com- haust air is hot and heavily laden with bustion and cleaning system are meet- water vapor. The makeup air is gening or exceeding current codes. Adding erally significantly cooler and lower technology on the back end, such as in humidity. As the exhaust air cools, cyclones, dust collectors and scrub- the inlet air is preheated. In its most bers, will reduce the amount of par- efficient operation, the air-to-air heat ticulate matter generated during the exchanger will allow a cross over point process that is normally carried over so that not only is sensible heat capwith the air. tured as the two air streams pass each other, but there can be significant latent heat recovered as the exhaust air Thermal demand Another strategy for upping efficiency is suppressed below the dew point and is to reduce the thermal demand of condensation occurs. In such systems, these simple static the system. The easiest and most immediate impact on thermal demand devices can recover as much as 75 to for dryers is the use of heat recovery. 80% of the waste heat directly into the “Standard heat recovery schemes can system. “As an example, in conveyor be routinely deployed in over 70% of dryers routinely used in a Canadian operation, the exchangers are capable industrial dryers,” notes Branson. A typical example of heat recovery of preheating 80,000 acfm (actual cfm) systems is the straightforward pre- of air from 40 to 115°F, while reducing heating of makeup air to a dryer using the exhaust from the dryer from 140°F the spent exhaust from the dryer it- with corresponding condensation,” self. This allows a close-connected sys- explains Branson. “This overall effitem and is not subject to upstream or ciency achieves 77%. At an effective downstream swings in operating char- cost of $6 per million Btu, this type of acteristics from other unit operations. machine can save over $250,000/yr at It also provides a stable and repeat- these latitudes.” He adds that in addition to the imable recovery of energy throughout mediate thermal payback, there are the full operation of the dryer.
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Waste-to-energy applications for Dryers
he potential use of agricultural waste materials, such as biomass, or waste materials from other processes as viable raw materials for different applications has created a whole new life for dryers. “Right now in terms of the environmental movement, there is a big push for waste to energy and this is creating a growing segment for dryers that are processing environmentally friendly materials and turning them into something else,” says Darren Traub executive vice president with Drytech Inc. (Irvine, Calif.). He says all kinds of products such as bamboo, peanut shells and rice hulls can be sent to a recycling facility and turned into a product with an energy value that can be used as a fuel source and sold to someone else. Currently the most viable application for this is biomass use. Biomass, whether it is conventional timber feedstock grown specifically for pelletization or various cellulosic grasses under new development, is being reviewed for overall thermal capability. And, most of these biomass systems require a drying unit somewhere in the process. For example, in wood pelletization, moisture of wood feedstock needs to be reduced from 50% to approximately 10% to support proper size reduction and pelletization. “These pellets are then used for direct combustion from the industrial level down to the consumer level,” says Paul Branson with Aeroglide Corp. (Trevose, Pa.). Additional technologies are taking the energy conversion a few steps further — where reduced moisture biomass is fed to gasification units. These produce hydrocarbons in a much more useable gaseous and liquid form, allowing conversion to biofuels or direct combustion for power generation, or both. In power generation, in particular, the theme of energy recovery again resurfaces, where the low-calorific-value spent exhaust from turbines can actually be used to preheat and pre-dry the initial feedstock, again greatly increasing the overall energy balance of the installations, says Branson. In addition to standard pelletization or gasification, a third option is Torrefaction, where the biomass is pre-dried and thermally converted to a denser pellet that not only reduces overall transport costs, but can also closely replicate the performance of coal pellets in combustion, capitalizing on being combusted in the highly controlled and efficiently designed burners already in existence at power plants, says Branson. ❏
added benefits from a reduction in total exhaust, as well as in a reduction in the odor exiting the dryers themselves. While heat recovery does provide benefits, Fred Shaw, vice president of the chemical division of GEA Process Engineering, Inc. (Columbia, Md.), reminds us that the heat recovered from dryers is often low-grade heat, which can be a challenge to find a good use for. He adds that even with a use for recovered heat, an investment in capital equipment is still needed to install a heat recovery system. “There is always competition between projects that require capital to save energy and those that require capital to purchase equipment used to make more product to sell,” says Shaw. “In order to justify heat recovery equipment, you will have to demonstrate a good return, and, with the volatile prices of energy, it can be difficult to justify.” Branson agrees that many companies choose not to invest in thermal
recovery units because the payback is often beyond two years. However, he says this is a very shortsighted approach on the part of management. “As experience has shown in the last two cycles of increased energy costs, the upward spikes in energy are very rapid. At times such as this, with thermal costs doubling or even tripling, the payback can drop from this theoretical two to three year term to one year or even less,” stresses Branson.
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Another method to manage and reduce the total energy demand of the dryer is to reduce the actual drying requirements of the product. In many chemical processes, this can be accomplished by substitution of upstream manufacturing technology or raw materials to reduce the amount of water in the residual product. This has a direct reduction in the total thermal load of evaporation. Mechanical dewatering, which com-
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Newsfront bines the dryer with other process equipment, is another approach, says Shaw. “If you can remove water by use of a filter or centrifuge, it may reduce the moisture content of feed to the dryer, so you get more product with less drying time and effort,” he says. However, this can be a bit tricky. A typical example of this effort would use a leaf or rotary filter upstream of the dryer, explains Branson. In conveyor dryers, this can have a very positive thermal effect but can be limited by handling issues. Examples with polymer extrusion have shown that while it’s possible to operate rotary filters at higher suction and dwell times in an effort to change the inlet moisture, there is sometimes an overall decrease in thermal efficiency. “While the material is fed to the dryer at a reduced moisture content and evaporative load, the physical handling characteristics of the extrudate are such that it limits the processing capability of the
Drying system equipment anD service proviDers: Aeroglide www.aeroglide.com Anhydro www.anhydro.com Coperion www.coperion.com Drytech www.drytechinc.com GEA Process Engineering www.geaprocessengineering.com
dryer itself,” he says. “The extrudate actually breaks more easily and reduces the air permeability of the product in the dryer, forcing the system to work less efficiently.” This, notes Branson, can result in reduced production or upset conditions, which have a net result of greater energy load per unit mass. “The key with this strategy is to review the synergy of water reduction in both the filter model, as well as the dryer model, to come up with an overall system that has a net positive effect.” Shaw also suggests considering the
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• Outstanding separation technology & cost-saving solutions • Long standing experience with over 700 units installed worldwide • Customized all-in solutions supplied by one partner • Permanent technology development, qualied consulting & testing service For additional information please contact: FRANKEN FILTERTECHNIK KG, Germany Phone: +49 (0) 2233 974 40-0, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.frankenlter.com
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General Air Products www.generalairproducts.com Heyl & Patterson www.heylpetterson.com Komline Sanders www.komline.com Syray Drying Systemswww.spraydrysys.com Wyssmont www.wyssmont.com
use of evaporators to concentrate the feed to the dryer because evaporators use less energy. “In a multistage evaporator with mechanical vapor recompression, you can get two or three pounds of water evaporation for every pound of steam you put into the dryer or evaporator,” he explains. “Whereas, you can’t achieve this in a drying system alone because you don’t have the ability to use multiple effect evaporation.” Dehumidification is also seeing some action as an energy reduction strategy, according to Svend Bojgaard, regional sales manager with Anhydro (Soeborg, Denmark). “In many cases we combine different dehumidification systems to optimize total energy cost to meet our customer’s requirements, meaning that the system will be tailor made,” says Bojgaard. While such customization prevents him from providing exact energy savings, he does say Anhydro has seen energy cost savings of up to 50% resulting from combining dehumidification systems with drying equipment. While it may be difficult to justify the higher price of a more appropriate, and therefore more efficient, drying system or the capital needed to include heat recovery or pretreatment, drying experts feel that it is worth the effort and expense. “Even though the economy is actually driving processors away from being green and more energy efficient regarding drying systems, spending less on the upfront cost of the dryer and related equipment is only a short term solution,” says General Air Products’ Pridham. “Over a longer period, it will cost more to operate and have a negative impact on production. The wiser choice is to choose drying equipment based on the total life operating cost.” n Joy LePree
Avoid kinking on tight turns with this tubing Tex-Flex fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) corrugated tubing (photo) can turn sharp corners without kinking. The manufacturer asserts that the tubing can handle bend diameters four times smaller than a typical smoothbore tube of the same size. The tubing’s ability to bend without kinking makes it perform well in confined spaces, wrapping around machine legs and other obstacles that would normally restrict or kink a smoothbore tube. Tex-Flex corrugated tubing is lightweight, seamless and clear, allowing operators to monitor material passing through the tube. Tex-Flex is also offered in a high purity polyfluoroalkoxy (PFA). For higherpressure applications, the tubes can be stainless-steel braided. Available sizes range from ¼ to 2 in. — Parker Hannifin Corp., Fort Worth, Tex. www.parker.com
Measure oxygen drift-free with this transmitter The XTP600 oxygen transmitter (photo) is a self-contained oxygen transmitter for the process industries that measures oxygen content between 0.01 and 100%. Using the latest thermo-paramagnetic technology, the transmitter is almost drift-free. The XTP600 has ESAB Welding and Cutting Products no moving parts, so it can operate in that operates with a reed-switch and harsh industrial environments without magnet technology. The design avoids any interference from vibration. It is several challenges of standard rupture also stable at high hydrogen concentra- disc sensors. Some sensors require retions. The XTP600’s compact size, sim- placement or rewiring after one use, ple design and explosion-proof housing and are often in contact with the promake it ideal for installation next to cess flow, creating possible leak paths. the measurement point. — Michell In- Designed to work with the Opti-Gard struments, Cambridgeshire, U.K. rupture disc, the Flo-Tel sensor posiwww.michell.com tions a magnet over the rupture disc so that when the disc bursts, the magnet and disc arc away from the sensor, creA magnet operates on this ating an open circuit signal. After ruprupture-disc sensor The Flo-Tel rupture disc detection turing, the disc is the only element of system (photo) is a noninvasive sensor the system requiring replacement. The Note: For more information, circle the 3-digit number on p. 62, or use the website designation.
sensor is not in contact with the process flow, so there are no potential leak paths. — Oseco, Broken Arrow, Okla. www.oseco.com These regulators suppress internal cylinder forces for safety Purox and Oxweld oxygen cylinder regulators (photo) have a patented design that suppresses internal forces from a cylinder explosion within the cylinder walls. The design minimizes risk of injury in the event of an explosion. The regulators are machined from solid brass bar stock to ensure longterm
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New Products performance with minimum maintenance. — ESAB Welding and Cutting Products, Florence, S.C. www.esabna.com A vacuum conveyor that is GMP-compliant The UC Series of vacuum conveyors (photo) comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards, and are suitable for pharmaceutical processing applications, including loading and unloading coating pans, manufacturing tablet cores and handling or transferring pharmaceutical powders. Fully pneumatic, the UC Series is built with unibody construction for tool-free dismantling and easy cleaning. Powered by pneumatically air-driven vacuum pumps, the UC Series can safely and quietly transport pharmaceutical ingredients such as sugar, dextrose, magnesium oxide, or starch. Constructed of stainless-steel AISI 316L, the UC Series features an ultra-sanitary butterfly valve and a Gore Sinbran filter, which can trap particles down to 0.5 μm. The UC Series also includes FDA-approved silicone seals with a working range of –4 to 176°F. The conveyors can also be custom built per application to meet specific user requirements. — Piab Vacuum Conveyors, Hingham, Mass. www.piab.com Monitor hydrogen sulfide in water with these sensors S10 and S17 Sulfide Analytical Sensors (photo) provide accurate, reliable analysis of sulfide levels in watertreatment, sewage and wastewatertreatment applications. The S10 Sensor is an immersion- or insertion-style sensor, while the S17 is a valve-retractable-style sensor. Both feature a 316 stainless-steel body that incorporates the sensing element, a temperature module and a signal conditioner with cabling. The sensors’ pIon electrode cartridge measures the activity of “free” sulfide ions in solution in concentrations from 0.01 to 32,000 ppm over a pH range of 11 to 14. The electrode cartridge can measure sulfide ions across a temperature range of 0 to 80ºC. The S10 immersion sensor is 28D-2
Piab Vacuum Conveyors
designed to allow a variable insertion length to accommodate installation in pipe tees, flow cells or through tank walls. The S17 retractable sensor is designed with a ball valve and a compression fitting that allows it to slide freely for insertion into the process or retraction from the process. — Electrochemical Devices Inc., Irvine, Calif. www.ecdi.com Use this keyboard in industrial settings The DT-102-SS industrial keyboard (photo) is constructed of stainless steel and is specially designed to withstand the rigors of industrial processing areas. The DT-102-SS meets NEMA 4X and IP68 specifications, and can withstand rain, snow, splashing water and hose-directed water. With an operating temperature range of 0 to 60°C, it can be used outdoors and in other locations where extreme temperatures exist. The stainless-steel keyboard is also a nonincendive device that will not ignite flammable gases or vapors in hazardous locations. The keyboard’s integrated touchpad features left- and right-click buttons, with a full-size number pad above it. It is built with brushed stainless-steel keys and is 100% humidity resistant. — iKey Inc., Austin, Tex. www.ikey.com Gas leak simulation tool is available in trial version Said to be the world’s first, this gasleak-simulation tool for ultrasonic gas detection can be accessed in a trial
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version online at the Website www.gassonic.com/simulator. The simulator allows users to experience the benefits of ultrasonic gas leak detectors for quick leak detection in challenging conditions found in most outdoor oil-and-gas installations. The system responds to the distinctive ultrasound created by the leak. The detectors pick up gas leaks at the speed of sound without having to wait for the gas to accumulate and physically enter a point-sensor head (conventional point detector) or within a narrow beam (open-path gas detector). The acoustic detection method is thereby unaffected by unknown factors, such as wind conditions, gas dilution and leak direction. — Gassonic A/S, Ballerup, Denmark www.gassonic.com In field tests, this grit washer achieves 95% grit retention The Pista Turbo grit washer contains new technology that can achieves grit retention of 95% down to 140 mesh particle size. It can produce drier and cleaner grit with less putrescible organic material. The new technology, called Tri-cleanse, features intense hydro-flushing and high air-infusion to aid in organic separation, as well as a custom-engineered and patented screw to further clean grit through additional agitation. Machine design is sleeker, with a smaller total footprint, and the washer can be retrofitted in the place of traditional screw classifiers and conveyors. — Smith and Lovelace Inc., Lenexa, Kan. www.smithandlovelace.com
A solution in every drop of water. In the simple bond of hydrogen and oxygen, the complexity of human need presents itself. But if we apply chemistry, using the Human Element as our filter, we discover solutions as vital as water itself. Solutions like advanced desalination and re-use technology from Dow Water Solutions that make the purification and recycling of municipal water possible.
Dow Water Solutions’ reverse osmosis technology is at work in three wastewater reclamation and reuse facilities in Beijing, China. Reverse osmosis technology enables Beijing to meet its 50 percent www.dow.com/hu ®™The DOW Diamond Logo and Human Element and design are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company © 2008
wastewater reuse rate for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games this summer. It also helps address growing worldwide
own commitment to conservation and reuse. Caring for man is caring for the future of mankind. And that is what The Dow Chemical Company is all about. www.dowwatersolutions.com
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HF Inverting Filter Centrifuge Cutting edge centrifuge technology for filtration, washing and drying of solid/liquid suspensions • Increase production • Improve productivity - Thin Cake Processing • Eliminate Operator Exposure - Full Containment • Effective Automated CIP • Widest Range of Applications - Hardest to Easiest Filtering Products • Lowest Possible Moistures - PAC ™ Technology • Dry Product Inside the Centrifuge PAC™ Technology
Conical Vacuum Dryer - Mixer Advanced technology for simultaneous multi-function drying and mixing • Full Containment Operation • Largest Heat Transfer Surface Area • Automatic CIP • Handles the Widest Range of Materials • Variable Volume Batch Sizes • Gentle Low Shear Drying & Mixing • Quick & Trouble Free Product Discharging
Pennwalt Super-D-Canter Cutting edge continuous centrifuge technology for separation of slurries into liquid or solid phases. • Only (1) drive motor • High Abrasion Points are fitted with replaceable parts • Advanced Polymer injection system • Most economical cost Ideal for: • Ethanol Stillage Dewatering • Sludge Thickening & Dewatering • Chemical Intermediates & Fine Chemical • Production of Plastics (PVC Dewatering) • Clarification of Liquids • Distillery Stillage
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This mixer is available in a wide size range The VersaMix Model VMC (photo) is offered in sizes ranging from 1– to 750–gal working capacity. The model has an air/oil lift system that raises and lowers the agitators from the mixing vessel. The vessel is attached to a frame that has a manual tilting mechanism, allowing 120-deg tilting for full discharge and thorough cleaning after completion of the mixing cycle. The VersaMix combines up to three separate agitation systems — a three-wing anchor, a high-speed disperser and a high-shear, rotor-stator mixer. The mixer is ideal for manufacturing viscous dispersions and emulsions with viscosities up to 1,000,000 cp. — Charles Ross and Son Co., Hauppauge, N.Y. www.mixers.com A purging compound effective for biodegradeable resins The commercial purging componPurgex 461 Plus is effective for purging new biodegradeable and compostable polyethylene resins. The compound comes ready-to-use, and is recommended for color or material changes and the removal of residual contamination. The new compound blends low-linear polyethylene carrier with FDA-approved active ingredients that are designed to be non-toxic, nonabrasive and safe. — Neutrex, Inc., Houston, Tex. www.purgexonline.com Measure non-condensing steam with these flowmeters The RNS and RWS Series flowmeters are designed to measure non-condensing steam and saturated process steam at pressures of up to 150 psi in energy-related applications. Both series types have no moving parts and require negligible maintenance. All meters in the series are loop-powered devices with standard HART communication for field programming. Operating temperatures for the meters are –20 to 366°F. An internal resistance temperature detector (RTD) and an external pressure sensor provide data to the flowmeter software,
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Charles Ross and Son
which compensates for changes in temperature and pressure to achieve accuracies of ±1%. — Racine Federated, Racine, Wisc. www.racinefed.com Transfer flammable liquids safely with this pump The SCP-6500 (available March 1, 2010) is designed to accommodate the transfer of alcohols, volatile hydrocarbons and flammable solvents. The pump features a lug with a grounding wire to allow users of flammable liquids to ground it, making the pump safe for use with Class 1 and 2 flammable substances. All components that come in contact with the fluid are created with conductive plastic, so there is grounding of the liquid, the pump, and, with correct bonding, the container. The pump is designed to fit containers and drums from 5 to 55 gal, and have a cost-effective life expectancy of 10–15 years. — Westcott Distribution Inc., Milford, Conn. www.goatthroat.com Handle high-volume applications with this screener The Megatex XD Screener provides high-capacity throughput for largevolume applications in agriculture, plastics and chemicals. The screener has a unique elliptical-linear motion designed for high screening performance with low energy consumption. A single-screen deck change can be completed in 10 min, and all decks can be changed in 2 h. The Megatex XD provides 25%–50% greater capac-
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New Products ity per square foot of screen cloth in a compact footprint measuring a 12-ft. cube. for the standard model. Its motion is generated by an external drive cartridge and separates from Âź in. to 100 mesh. The accessible external drive of the Megatex XD is a cartridge with two spherical roller bearings that run for 200,000 h and is powered by a single 15- or 20-hp motor. â€” Rotex Global LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio www.rotex.com Vacuum systems for areas with noise or space constraints Vacuum systems in the Com-pak Plus blower series (photo) are positive displacement, tri-lobe blower packages that provide consistent, reliable vacuum. They feature heavy-duty construction and low noise levels. The Compak Plus Series delivers flows to 3,305 ft3/min and vacuum to 15 in. Hg. The packages include inlet and discharge silencers, a high-efficiency, Energy
Policy of 2005 Act-compliant totally enclosed, fan-cooled motor and an automatic Vbelt tensioning device. The blower packages offer lower pulsations and significantly reduced footprint. â€” Kaeser Compressors Inc., Fredericksburg, Va. www.kaeser.com These pipe caps can be installed without tools The skirts on the new CE Series pipe caps are designed to stretch over the pipe edges while retaining their shape and tight fit. This feature allows them to be installed without tools. Ribbed skirts provide ventilation to ensure that the caps will not blow off under pressure. The pipe caps are made of linear low-density polyethylene, and are available in a range of sizes. â€” Caplugs, Buffalo, N.Y. www.caplugs.com
This membrane bioreactor is a complete packaged system The Puron Plus membrane bioreactor (MBR) system is a skid-mounted packaged plant that provides customers with a full scope of supply from prescreening and biological treatment through to the final membrane clarification step. The Puron Plus is designed for both industrial and municipal wastewater applications and offers a modular, small footprint solution which has been optimized for effluent requirements. The preengineered, membrane bioreactor plants are available with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 gal/d
Sulzer SMXLTM and SMRTM Heat exchangers for viscous and temperature sensitive media
MOVING AHEAD CT.36e
s #OMPACT AND COST EFFECTIVE EQUIPMENT DESIGN s 'ENTLE HEATING AND COOLING OF SENSITIVE PRODUCTS s .O PRODUCT DEGRADATION s 3HORT RESIDENCE TIME s .ARROW RESIDENCE TIME DISTRIBUTION s /PTIMALE FOR HARMFUL AND DELICAT PRODUCTS THANKS TO MINIMAL VOLUME