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Originally published as Nature: Seven world-changing chemical separation technologies In a review published in Nature, two researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology identified seven energy-intensive separation processes as the first targets for research on low-energy purification technologies. Advances in chemical separation technology not only help to save energy consumption, but also reduce pollution, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and even open up new ways to access the world’s key resources. The authors explain that the technologies that can be applied to the separation process are at different stages of development. At present, the development level of alternative technologies is still very low, or it is difficult to achieve large-scale, to achieve the large-scale application of these alternative technologies still need huge R & D investment. David Sholl, one of the authors of the commentary and dean of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, said, “What we want to emphasize is that there is a lot of energy used in chemical separation in the world, but there are some areas where we need to strengthen the research and development of chemical separation processes.” It is hopeful to achieve a major breakthrough in energy conservation. Although most people have no idea about these processes, the development of new technologies in these separation processes is of great significance from the point of view of saving energy and protecting the environment. Taking the United States as an example,wiped film distillation, if non-thermal separation technology can replace traditional separation technology, the annual energy expenditure for petroleum industry, chemical industry and paper industry can be reduced by $4 billion, and the annual carbon dioxide emissions are expected to be reduced by 100 million tons. “Chemical separation consumes about half of the energy consumed by industry in the United States,” said Ryan Lively, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and the second author of the article. “Developing alternative processes that do not consume heat can greatly improve the efficiency of separation processes by 80% on the basis of existing technologies.” Expand the full text Here are their picks for “seven chemical separation processes that will affect the world”: The separation of hydrocarbons from crude oil. Hydrocarbons in crude oil are the main raw materials for the production of fuels,50l rotovap, plastics and polymers, and play a vital role in the world economy. According to the article, refineries around the world process a total of about 90 million barrels of crude oil per day, mostly using atmospheric distillation, which consumes about 230000 megawatts of energy per year, equivalent to the energy consumption of the United Kingdom in 2014. In the process of distillation, the oil is first heated, and then, due to the different boiling points of different compounds, thin film distillation ,rotovap distillation, their volatilization rates are also different in the heating process, which can be used to collect different compounds. Finding an alternative process is difficult because of the complex chemistry of the oil itself and the need to maintain high temperatures to keep the viscous crude flowing and transporting. Separation of uranium from seawater. Nuclear power can provide additional energy for human beings without increasing carbon emissions, while the world’s uranium fuel reserves are limited. However, there are more than 4 billion tons of uranium in seawater. The process of separating uranium from seawater is very complex, mainly because the existing technology introduces vanadium, cobalt and other impurities in seawater while separating uranium. At present, some small-scale demonstration experiments have been carried out to separate uranium from seawater, but in order to make the separation process play a significant role in promoting the development of nuclear power, it is still necessary to realize its large-scale application. Parating olefins from alkanes. Olefins, hydrocarbons such as ethylene and propylene, are used in the production of some plastics, and the total annual output of these hydrocarbons is more than 200 million tons. Take the separation of ethylene from ethane as an example, which generally requires high pressure and low temperature distillation. Hybrid separation technology, which combines membrane and distillation processes, can reduce energy consumption by half or even a third.
However, in the practical application process, only one chemical plant will use up to one million square meters of film, so large-scale preparation of this kind of film material is the prerequisite for the large-scale mixing and separation technology. 4 Separation of greenhouse gases from diluted emissions. Diluent gas emissions from places such as power plants are rich in carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons such as methane, which contribute to global climate change. Liquid amine materials have been used to remove such gaseous compounds from dilute emissions, but the process of removing carbon dioxide from such materials requires heat. At present, the industry still needs to find a cheaper way to remove carbon dioxide. 5 separating the rare earth metals from the ore. Rare earth metals are widely used in magnetic materials, catalysts, efficient luminescence and other fields. Although these substances are not really scarce, they are very difficult to obtain because they occur in trace amounts in ores and their separation requires complex mechanical and chemical means. Separation of 6 benzene ring derivatives from each other. Benzene and its derivatives play an irreplaceable role in the production of polymers, plastics, fibers, solvents and fuel additives. At present, the separation of these molecules mainly uses distillation columns, with a total energy consumption of about 50000 megawatts per year. The development of thin films and adsorbents plays a vital role in reducing these energy inputs. 7 Separation of trace impurities from water. In some parts of the world, desalination of seawater has become a key technology to meet freshwater needs. However, regardless of whether membrane or distillation technology is used, the process is both energy and capital intensive. The development of high-yield,winterization filtration, anti-fouling films is expected to reduce their cost. At the end of the article, Sholl and Lively summarize four steps for researchers and policy makers to promote the application of non-thermal separation technology: Return to Sohu to see more In the process of research, scholars should consider the actual chemical mixture and the actual engineering conditions; Evaluate the economics and sustainability of any separation technology; Consider the scale of the technology when it is actually applied in industry; Enhance the training of chemical engineers and chemists to improve their understanding of separation techniques without distillation Responsible Editor:. toptiontech.com
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