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Fragrant energy

Published: 20 October 2016

Energy is a hot topic, especially the renewable variety; cleaning up after a cow is not, even as our farmers struggle with a large excess of cow manure (that is no BS). A new government initiative therefore comes under the heading: €150 million subsidy for renewable energy.
Our Ministry of Economic Affairs has made available this amount to build some 200 manure digesters. For the production of biogas of course, not to get rid of the manure, for that is the farmers’ problem. What to do with the digestate is not mentioned. Maybe that is a subject for another subsidy.

Explosion at BASF

Published: 18 October 2016

The joint venture with Avantium was not the only reason for BASF to be in the news. An explosion in a supply line between a harbor and a tank depot left 2 people dead and 20 injured of which 6 severely. The cause has not yet been established, but terrorism has been excluded. A view from the air can be found here.


FDCA and PEF – the next step towards mass production

Published: 17 October 2016

pefIn March we reported the signing of a letter of intent for the formation of a joint venture between Avantium and BASF for the production and marketing of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), as well as marketing of polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) (See our news archive: 21 March).
This joint venture has now come off the ground under the name Synvina, which will have its headquarters in Amsterdam, while the intended production site will be at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp. It is planned to invest “a mid-three-digit million euro sum” (translation: around half a billion) to build a plant with a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons of FDCA per year. Stoechiometrically you need 1.15 ton of sugar per ton of FDCA.
For an explanation of the chemistry involved click here.

Survival in the Chemical Industry

Published: 4 October 2016

A symposium with this name will be held at the Eindhoven University of Technology on the 11th of October.
With presentations about the safety aspects (advantages) of Process Intensification, Flow Chemistry, the the “Hazard Study 1 to 6” methodology and more, this is well worth attending.
Organisation is in the hands of two study associations of Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e in cooperation with NPT.

Nothing new, but still a first!

Published: 27 September 2016

What could be new about an underground pipeline? For water, or even for naphtha, not much.
But for beer?
Read on

Bruges in Belgium has an acute problem: a major tourist attraction in the center of a 16th century inner city with narrow streets, that wBrugse zotere never meant to handle modern traffic. And yet, two big tanker trucks a day have to negotiate the narrow streets. We are talking of course about “De Halve Maan”, the famous brewery of “Brugse Zot”. To increase their capacity, they had the choice between moving out of the center of town or do something innovative. They decided on ‘innovative’, in the shape of a 3 km long pipeline to the bottling plant at the edge of town. Beyond the hassle of receiving the necessary permits, the first requirement was of course that the pipe should not influence the taste of the beer. Polyethylene was therefore chosen as construction material. At the same time this allowed the pipe to follow the street pattern, with all the required bends, because for various reasons it was decided not to run it under the houses. Then there was the presence of yeast and carbon dioxide, dictating low speed and low pressure. And then the matter if CIP (Cleaning in Place).
And finally the cost: some 4 million euros, partly financed by online crowdsourcing. More than 500 people contributed, encouraged by the promise of free beer for life in proportion to their contribution. Someone who made only a small investment would get a pack of beer every year for his/her birthday, but someone who paid the maximum amount will receive one bottle a day for the rest of his life.

For some nice photographs click here.