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Methanol in the driving seat?

Summary

With the most stringent clean air standards in the world, California provides the greatest opportunity for methanol as a transportation fuel. However, other alternative fuels are competing for a slice of the world's. most promising "green" motor vehicle market.

Abstract

A unique set of challenges has propelled the state oft-California to the forefront of clean air legislation. The combination of population, air quality, climate and the state's dependence on oil have been the key factors spearheading California's radical approach to air pollution. Today, from a series of stringent regulations, both federal and state, and policies such as those of the California Energy CDmmission (CEC), a new market for vehicles which run on fuels other than petroleum·(alternative fuel vehicles - AFVs) has been created. Although petroleum products will continue to dominate the transport market for many years to come, the CEC forecasts that by 2010, nearly 29% of the light-duty vehicles in California could be fuelled by something other than gasoline or diesel.

Included in the list of alternative fuels are neat alcohols such as methanol or ethanol blended with 15% gasoline and generally referred to as M85 or E95. The others are: compressed natural gas (CNG); electricity; hydrogen; LNG; coal-derived liquid fuels; and biofuels derived from biological materials like soyabean and rapeseed.

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Maximising gains

Summary

Urea plant retrofits are often performed to boost plant capacity, reduced plant emissions and/or improve product quality. Nitrogen reviews the current process technology and equipment design options.

Abstract

In the current urea market, there is a demand for a global increase in production capacity. The construction of new urea plants. requires large investments which may have long or uncertain returns. In view of this, the retrofit of existing plants, which in most cases involves lower investment costs and much quicker returns, remains an important consideration and has led to new equipment design and improved process technology.

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Targeted for growth

Summary

ICI Katalco highlighted its recent process and catalyst developments at IMTOF 95. Lisa Connock reports.

Abstract

San Francisco, the "Pearl of the West Coast", was the setting chosen for ICI Katalco's third ICI Methanol Technology Operators Forum (IMTOF 95). Needless to say, the location proved to be highly popular with all those who attended the conference, which took place from 19 to 22 June 1995 at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel.

At the forum, ICI Katalco's methanol industry team provided companies worldwide who have licensed ICI's methanol technology with a comprehensive update on the wide range ofICI Katalco products and services available. Approximately 110 people attended the conference with more than 20 countries represented. Twenty papers were presented covering commercial aspects of the methanol industry, technology, catalysts, revamps and operations. With over half of the papers presented by ICI Katalco customers, there were ample opportunities for plant operators to share their experiences, problems and successes.

Apart from formal sessions, time was allocated in the programme to enable delegates to enjoy San Francisco and the surrounding countryside.

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Process improvements focus on safety, quality and cleanliness

Summary

Ammonium nitrate production is simple in principle but is potentially hazardous and polluting. The product can also be notoriously troublesome under certain ambient conditions. Current processes have to be designed with these considerations in mind as well as more normal economic criteria.

Abstract

In contrast with urea, by which it is now outproduced by more than 100%, ammonium nitrate (AN) production has remained fairly static in recent years, if anything declining slightly.

The pros and cons of ammonium nitrate and urea have been rehearsed often enough in the columns of Nitrogen. 1,2 To summarize them, ammonium nitrate is more expensive to produce per unit of N and, because it has a lower nitrogen content (33.5-34.5%) than urea (46%), it is more bulky and therefore more expensive to transport and handle. Ammonium nitrate particles can undergo severe caking if subjected to temperature cycling around the point (32°C) at which it undergoes a change of crystal habit.

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