F O C U S

as acrylic acid, butanediol, and others used in paints, coatings, textiles and diapers. Novomer and its partners have the ability to reach pilot scale (2000 tonne/y) in 2015, and full commercial scale in 2017. This, in turn, could result in the first US acrylic acid plant built in over 10 years. The process being developed by Novomer and the low cost of feedstocks (waste CO2 and large volume shale gas) could allow US providers to become global low-cost leaders in chemical intermediates and reduce the dependence on crude oil markets. Novomer estimates cost savings as much as 20-40% compared to existing technologies. Novomer’s process offers increased energy productivity of chemical manufacturing by 30-70%; reduced CO2 footprint by 40-110% (depending on target chemical); energy savings of more than 20 trillion BTU/y within 10 years; and total sequestration of waste gases with only moderate temperature requirements.
Original Source: Coatings World, Nov 2013, 18 (11), 42-43 (Website: http://www.coatingsworld.com) © Rodman Publishing 2013

O N

C ATA LY S T S
Catalyst for making ethylene oxide
The established catalyst for epoxidising ethylene is silver metal supported on alumina. This patent specifies that when the silver solution, which may contain promoters, is contacted with the support, it must be heated rapidly.
US 8,629,079, BASF SE, Germany, 14 Jan 2014

allow the use of climate gas carbon dioxide on an industrial scale. BASF’s subsidiary hte AG and scientific institutions VDEhBetriebsforschungsinstitut in Düsseldorf and TU Dortmund University provide support to the companies in conducting the study. The method involves processing of natural gas at high temperature to achieve hydrogen and carbon. Hydrogen obtained from the first step is then reacted with carbon dioxide to generate syngas, a raw material that can be used in producing fuels. The project receives funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the ‘Technologies for Sustainability and Climate Protection – Chemical Processes and Use of CO2’ scheme. It already started on 1 Jul 2013 and is expected to end after three years.
Original Source: Green Chemistry Network Newsletter, 30 Sep 2013, (44), 19 (Website: http://www.greenchemistrynetwork.org) © Green Chemistry Network 2013

Ethylene epoxidation
The established epoxidation reaction (see previous item) is catalysed by chlorine in forms not containing hydrogen (eg diatomic chlorine, perhalogenated hydrocarbons), especially when the catalyst contains rhenium.
US 8,624,045, Scientific Design Co Inc, Little Ferry, NJ, USA, 7 Jan 2014

Isomerization of alpha olefins
The supported catalyst contains palladium and selenium and/or tellurium.
US 8,624,075, BASF SE, Germany, 7 Jan 2014

Catalysts boosted by simple textiles
A team of chemists working at the Max-Planck-Institut for Coal Research in Germany has developed a new procedure for using catalysts by immobilizing them on nylon textiles. The researchers used one of the catalysts fabricated to synthesize a pharmaceutical agent. This method could potentially make chemical production a quicker and cheaper process.
Original Source: Materials World, Nov 2013, 21 (11), 13 (Website: http://www.iom3.org) © The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) 2013

Novomer gas process cuts chemical cost
Novomer has developed a catalytic process that it claims could make the production of acrylic acid and butanediol cheaper and more ecofriendly. The process uses ethylene oxide derived from cheap shale gas as a feedstock, along with carbon monoxide. According to Novomer CEO Jim Mahoney, the process could cut the cost of producing acrylic acid and butanediol by 20-40% compared to conventional technology and make it more energy efficient. The secret is Novomer’s proprietary catalyst, which has more than 99% selectivity.
Original Source: TCE (formerly The Chemical Engineer), Nov 2013, (869), 24-25 (Website: http://www.tcetoday.com) © Institution of Chemical Engineers 2013

Production of lactic acid from biomass
Biomass is converted directly into lactic acid using a tungsten catalyst supported on oxides of Zr, Al, Ti, or Nb.
US 8,624,058, CNRS, Paris, and IFP Energies Nouvelles, Rueil-Malmaison, 7 Jan 2014

Production of syngas from methanol
Syngas is normally made from methanol using a catalyst containing copper and zinc on an alumina support. This improved version uses a ceria-zirconia support. It gives less by-products.
US 8,623,927, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Ulsan, and Korea Research Institute of Chemical technology, Daejon, Korea

PATENTS
Catalyst for making PET
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is made from ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate, using a catalyst. Known catalysts include compounds of Sb, Ge, Ti, and Zn. There are problems with all of them. This new catalyst, zinc borate made by reacting boric acid with a zinc salt in a glycolic solvent, overcomes these problems.
US 8,629,234, Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14 Jan 2014

German research cooperation develops innovative technology for making syngas from carbon dioxide and hydrogen
The Linde Group, BASF, and ThyssenKrupp are developing a twostage process technology that will
FEBRUARY 2014

BOOKSHELF
Biofuel Crops: Production, Physiology, and Genetics
If I had discovered this book before I completed the December special

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