F O C U S Melamin GmbH is said to cut nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines in commercial vehicles. The urea solution is injected into a special exhaust system catalyst. The nitrogen oxides are converted to nitrogen and water. OMV hopes to implement the technology by 2005, when stricter exhaust standards come into force in Europe. Handelsblatt Wirtschafts- und Finanzzeitung, 3 Apr 2003, 14 (66), 20 (in German)
C ATA LY S T S
Photochemical process destroys toxic organics in wastewater
Dual catalyst bed for methanol oxidation
Prosys GmbH, Bremen, is developing a photo-catalysed process for destroying toxic wastes such as chlorinated organics and organotins in water. The catalyst is a chlorophylllike dye adsorbed on a spherical particulate carrier. The dye absorbs visible light and transfers the energy to the dissolved oxygen in the water.
The purpose is to make formaldehyde by oxidising methanol. The first bed contains a vanadia/titania catalyst, the second a molybdena/titania catalyst. Splitting the process in this way reduces the amount of CO formed and prevents the volatilisation of the moybdena.
Chemical Engineering, Apr 2003, 110 (4), 15
US 6,559,345, 6 May 2003, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, USA
Toshiba unveils photocatalyst A new titanium dioxide photocatalyst for painting and surface materials has been developed by Toshiba Ceramics. This is five times more active than conventional photocatalysts. A medium sized production plant is to be built by Toshiba Ceramics. Chemical Market Reporter, 28 Apr 2003 (Website: http://www.chemicalmarketreporter.com)
JR Tokai rolls into photocatalytic materials business Central Japan Railway Co (JR Tokai) has started working with a group at Tokai University to carry out research into high-performance photocatalytic materials for automotive and building material applications. The partners aim to develop materials which will remove odours from inside smoking cars in trains, and remove dirt from the surfaces of the cars. The company plans to develop, produce, and sell the materials. Nikkei Net, 23 Apr 2003 (Website: http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/)
New paint helps fight sick-house syndrome On 1 May 2003, Plaza of Legacy Co will launch a new paint which is claimed to combat the causes of sickhouse syndrome. The paint is chiefly made from titanium dioxide, which is known to break down formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. The titanium dioxide is coated with apatite to enhance its catalyst function. Tests have shown that the paint reduced formaldehyde in the air to 0.015 ppm from 0.041 ppm forty days after it was applied. The company is aiming for sales in the first year of Yen 700 M. Nikkei Net, 25 Apr 2003 (Website: http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/)
Aluminoxanes, used as co-catalysts for metallocene olefin polymerization catalysts, are more active if they are first partially hydrolysed to form gels.
A process for epoxidizing olefins having 3 or more carbon atoms. The catalyst is a supported catalyst containing Ag, Ti, optionally Au. The support can be an inert material containing Ti. Both hydrogen and oxygen gases must be present.
US 6,529,991, 13 May 2003, Albermarle Corp, Richmond, VA, USA
US 6,692,986, 13 May 2003, Dow Global Technologies Inc, Midland, MI, USA
One-pot synthesis of metal bis(imine) complexes Metal bis(imine) catalysts, especially those based on iron or cobalt, are useful olefin polymerization catalysts. The catalysts can be made by mixing all the starting materials for making the bis(imine) with a metal salt in a flask containing an interior filter. This gives a better yield of the catalyst than the usual two-pot process in which the bis(imine) is made in a separate step. US 6,562,973, 13 May 2003, Equistar Chemicals LP, Houston, TX, USA
Continuous vapour-phase synthesis of acryllic acid from acrolein The catalyst is a complex mixed oxide containing Mo, V, W, Cu, and an alkali metal. The activity of the catalyst is controlled by varying the alkali content. The linear, fixed bed is divided into sections packed with catalysts of varying activity, the least active coming first. This catalyst distribution permits more accurate control of the temperature along the reactor, thus eliminating hot spots, preventing catalyst deterioration, and improving productivity. US 6,593,000, 13 May 2003, Nippon Shokubai Co Ltd, Osaka, Japan
Polyethylenes suitable for electrical equipment The electrical properties of polyolefins can be improved if the anionic constituent of the catalyst is initially chemically bonded to an inert particulate solid. US 6,526,920, 13 May 2003, ExxonMobil Chemical Patents Inc, Houston, TX, USA
BOOKSHELF Advanced catalysts for emission controls Papers presented to the SAE 2003 World Congress. No editor, 2003, SAE International, Hitchin, UK, ISBN 0-7680-1181-7, 93 pp, £53
Handbook of green chemistry & technology A substantial book having 23 chapters, 26 international contributors, and many references to catalysis. J Clark and D Macquarrie (eds), 2002, Blackwell Publishing, Abingdon, ISBN 0632057157, 540 pp, £149