R&D and Manufacturing for Polymers, Fuels and Chemicals

Our latest R&D and Manufacturing for Polymers, Fuels and Chemicals Symposium in Houston on July 24 was a success.  The event featured well recognized experts, including:

  • Professor Rob Storey – University of Southern Mississippi
  • Glenn Cormack – Lubrizol
  • Allen Beard – Albemarle
  • Matthew Jorgensen – Nalas Engineering
  • Kishori Deshpande – Dow Chemical
  • Andrew Yen – Nalco
  • Steve Pavel – Full Spectrum Consulting

The technical level of the presentations was excellent.  The presentations matched the skill level of the seventy chemists and chemical engineers in attendance from companies and academic institutions such as Akzo Nobel, Albemarle, Baker Hughes, Dow Chemical, Huntsman, Sasol, Shell, Texas A&M University.  We enjoyed the question and answer sessions!

Professor Storey’s keynote, which addressed the mechanism of TiCl4-catalyzed cationic polymerization of isobutylene, was outstanding.  His presentation demonstrated how thoughtful and methodical he and his team are when conducting chemical research at the University of Southern Mississippi.  Real time in situ mid-IR monitoring was applied to reaction kinetics in order to define a model best explaining the experimental results. This furthered our knowledge of isobutylene polymerization, which is extremely useful research as illustrated by the questions and comments from the TPC Group!

Glenn Cormack (Lubrizol) offered us an overview of his company and how the engineering team leverages lab technologies, including the RC1e reaction calorimeter and ATR-FTIR to speed up and improve the quality of process development. A case study illustrated this fast track approach when applied to a small molecule lubricant additive.

We enjoyed another fascinating engineering and development study from Allen Beard, PhD (Albemarle). Allen has been a long time user of efficient process and engineering technologies such as reaction calorimetry and real time ATR-FTIR.  Case studies, including a Gatterman-Koch formylation, butene oligomerization, and aqueous ZnBr2 synthesis, demonstrated the value of proper process safety analysis based on process calorimetry, the importance of kinetic modeling for right-the-first-time scale-up using ATR-FTIR knowledge.  Few real life stories offer such a compelling demonstration of well-planned and thoughtful preparation for full-scale manufacturing.

The next two presentations from Matt Jorgensen (Nalas Engineering) and Kishori Deshpande, PhD (Dow Chemical) rivaled in quality with Allen’s. Once again, Nalas Engineering proved that they are first class in providing development services for chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Matt’s example was a double step debenzylation/olefin hydrogenation process run in a RC1e reaction calorimeter. Gas uptake, calorimetry, real time Raman and mid-IR spectroscopy provided the required knowledge to characterize mixing, develop a comprehensive kinetic model, and ensure process safety and efficiency when moving to a larger scale unit, fully meeting customer’s needs. Kishori’s presentation focused on the use of real time Raman spectroscopy and the development of PLS modeling to enhance a multi-phase chemical process as well as the determination of a kinetic model to optimize a large scale project implementation.

Andrew Yen discussed the use of inline particle size distribution and particle shape analysis applied to deepen our knowledge of asphaltene precipitation and the use of corresponding inhibitors. Although my knowledge of this topic is limited, some of my colleagues, such as Anjan Pandey, have a deep understanding of the topic. The quest for asphaltene inhibitors under a wide range of temperature was facilitated using such tools as FBRM and Particle Vision and Measurement (PVM). Andrew gave us insight into how the use of such technologies helped him understand the effect of temperature of particle size, formation kinetics, and delayed onset. He also used synthesis workstations like the EasyMax, in combination with PVM and FBRM, for better control of reaction variables (temperature, mixing, dosing).

In the final presentation, Steve Pavel, Managing Director at Full Spectrum Consulting LLC, discussed the use of inline particle size distribution and particle shape analysis to characterize crude oil from various origins and better understand the processes involved in upgrading crude oils into fuels and chemicals. We all learned a lot about flow assurance, risk reduction, economics of blending, transportation and upgrading of tight oil and gas.

Attendees enjoyed coffee breaks, lunch, and a post-event networking reception. We were pleased with the attention to detail offered by our marketing team, and the level of comfort at the Westin Galleria Mall Hotel. time now The preliminary feedback I received from the audience was excellent, and I have already read numerous thank you and congrats messages. With the help of word of mouth, I am convinced that we will easily exceed one hundred participants at our next year’s event! I look forward to seeing you again or meeting you next time!