Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seven chemical separations to change the world

Hydrocarbons from crude oil: Hydrocarbons from crude oil are the main ingredients for making fuels, plastics and polymers – keys to the world’s consumer economy. Each day, refineries around the world process around 90 million barrels of crude oil, mostly using atmospheric distillation processes that consume about 230 gigawatts of energy per year, the equivalent of the total 2014 energy consumption of the UK.
Distillation involves heating the oil and then capturing different compounds as they evaporate at different boiling points. Finding alternatives is difficult because oil is complex chemically and must be maintained at high temperatures to keep the thick crude flowing.
Uranium from sea water: Nuclear power could provide additional electricity without boosting carbon emissions, but the world’suranium fuel reserves are limited. However, more than four billion tons of the elements exist in ocean water. Separating uranium from ocean water is complicated by the presence of metals such as vanadium and cobalt that are captured along with uranium in existing technologies. Processes to obtain uranium from sea water have been demonstrated on small scales, but those would have to be scaled up before they can make a substantial contribution to the expansion of nuclear power.
Alkenes from alkanes: Production of certain plastics requires alkenes – hydrocarbons such as ethane and propene, whose total annual production exceeds 200 million tonnes. The separation of ethene from ethane, for instance, typically requires high-pressure cryogenic distillation at low temperatures. Hybrid separation techniques that use a combination of membranes and distillation could reduce energy use by a factor of two or three, but large volumes of membrane materials – up to one million square meters at a single chemical plant – could be required for scale-up.
Greenhouse gases from dilute emissions: Emission of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons such as methane contribute to global climate change. Removing these compounds from dilute sources such as power plant emissions can be done using liquid amine materials, but removing the carbon dioxide from that material requires heat. Less costly methods for removing carbon dioxide are needed.
Rare earth metals from ores: Rare earth elements are used in magnets, catalysts and high-efficiency lighting. Though these materials are not really rare, obtaining them is difficult because they exist in trace quantities that must be separated from ores using complex mechanical and chemical processes.
Benzene derivatives from each other: Benzene and its derivatives are essential to production of many polymers, plastics, fibers, solvents and fuel additives. These molecules are now separated using distillation columns with combined annual energy usage of about 50 gigawatts. Advances in membranes or sorbents could significantly reduce this energy investment.
Trace contaminants from water: Desalination is already critical to meeting the need for fresh water in some parts of the world, but the process is both energy and capital intensive, regardless of whether membrane or distillation processes are used. Development of membranes that are both more productive and resistant to fouling could drive down the costs.
They conclude the paper by suggesting four steps that could be taken by academic researchers and policymakers to help expand the use of non-thermal separation techniques:
  • In research, consider realistic chemical mixtures and reflect real-world conditions,
  • Evaluate the economics and sustainability of any separation technique,
  • Consider the scale at which technology would have to be deployed for industry, and
  • Further expose chemical engineers and chemists in training to separation techniques that do not require distillation.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ZLD in Egypt

ZLD units in Egypt

what is the other face of the industrial age ? it is simply pollution . but for our luck , industry offers us many solution to protect the environment . and here in Egypt , although it is a developing country but, it is seeking sustainability " simply meeting our needs with out any effect on next generations needs " and ,this is very obvious in the new plants constructed recently , using a powerful tools which is "ZLD unit "  and by meeting latest regulation like euro 5 . 
examples for ZLD units in egypt :

1) TCI SANMAR for chemicals in Egypt 

Briefly ZLD means transforming water effluent into permate " good water for reuse " , brine  for other industries or salt crystals  then the disposal of it , and steam .
to understand the process see this video

In the end i'd like to add that we try to have the good of it , for example at TCI sanmar there is another plant for soda production in which brine is used as a feed so evaporator here has no meaning so we just skip it . just another thing , the ministry of petroleum have plans to apply ZLD technology over its seven refining plant . 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

acid or base , is it confusing ?

acid or base , is it confusing ?

I will write today about acid , so bases well be handled simultaneously . In school we learn only one type of acidity ,although we don't know its name , no one had told us about bronsted or lewis acidity , so i will show them a little ans answer the confusing question " why NH3  is abase" meanwhile .
Firstly we have to remember an important rule of thumb “ don’t store acids in metal tanks unless u re able to overcome hydrogen , that will be evolved “
Now , we all know that acid : is asubstance when dissolved in water give H3O+ “ hydronium ion “ , and base : is a substance when dissolved in water give OH- ion, this is called Arrhenius theory .
Broncted-lowry theory :
It handles with protons , acid : donate proton , base : accept proton
Eg : HNO3 + H2O                  H3O+   + NO3-

      Acid         base                    acid        base

So , until now we can notice two things :
1)     OH- is an example of a base
2)     Acid-base reactions are not restricted to aqueous solutions

Lewis theory :
We always hear this word while studying catalysts and it define acid as : electron-pair acceptor , base : as electron-pair donor .


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

LNG competitor

methanol as fuel 
In these days the multinational companies have dominated every thing in the world , and one of these is methanex " "which has aplant in egypt with an annual production capacity of 1.3 million tonnes. but to sum up i will go to the main point, why methanol is the future fuel for ships ?
1) it doesn't contain sulfur
2) it is a liquid in ambient temperature which makes it easy to store abroad ships 
3) can be stored in normal un pressurized mild steel tanks
4) most of it are transported by ships world wide so it is already reachable in terminals and ports 
The only disadvantages of methanol " but a key factor " is its low cetane number ie. poor self ignition quality and this problem has been solved using special types of motor that rise injection pressure to 600 bar , using MAN methanol engines

Sunday, June 7, 2015

second wisper

first step
the worst thing in modern education , is that it relates the efficient of the education process by money , ie. if u have enough money u will be well educated . and enough money means in egypt alot of money . but the tragedy in egypt , if u pay money that not mean u well have a good education system . and the reasons for that uncountable , but to destroy the legend u will need to know that the most paid universities in egypt like AUC and GUC are not a branches for any other university abroad however u will pay alot of money . finally , to make the most of it u will need to know that , there is only one university in egypt which is abranch for a foreign university . it is TU BERLIN , which has only 3 program in engineering "energy engineering, urban engineering, water engineering " and tuition nearly 12000 euro and this is their facebook page . the last thing before i forget , those program are only for master degree .

first wisper

we are humans so we need a mentor, and as engineer it is really a big deal . as , mentor means less mistakes ,which we really need. so , i start this blog to help others and also to learn from them .  and as they always said " small steps mean big changes " . and this is my first step .