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Industry Breakout - Chemistry and Advanced Materials

December 9, 2013 6:02 am | by R&D Magazine/Battelle | Articles | Comments

The chemicals and advanced materials industry consists of large multinational companies serving nearly every other market, key single market material and application development firms and an array of smaller, niche chemical and material companies.

BP pushes technical limits to tap extreme fields

December 5, 2013 3:01 am | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

BP's strategy after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy: Go deeper. BP is leading an industry-wide push to develop technology that can retrieve oil from formations that are so deep under the sea floor, and under such high pressure and temperature, that conventional equipment would melt or be crushed by the conditions.

Virtual wall builds invisible barrier and could stop spread of oil spills

December 4, 2013 12:23 pm | News | Comments

The outer shell of a droplet of oil on a surface has a thin skin which allows it to hold its shape like a small dome. Researchers at the Univ. of Missouri have developed a technique to form a virtual wall for oily liquids that will help confine them to a certain area, aiding researchers who are studying these complex molecules. The finding could also help halt industrial oil spills.

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Dow Chemical looking to separate about 40 plants

December 2, 2013 8:43 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dow Chemical is looking to separate about 40 manufacturing plants from its business as it continues to concentrate on moving away from cyclical commodity products. The company said it is considering joint ventures, spinoffs or sales. It expects those deals to happen within the next 12 to 24...

Researchers use simple scaling theory to better predict shale production

November 19, 2013 7:05 am | News | Comments

Scientists at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have developed a new method to estimate gas production from hydraulically fractured wells in the Barnett Shale. The approach, which uses a simple physics theory called scaling, is intended to help the energy industry accurately identify low- and high-producing horizontal wells, as well as accurately predict how long it will take for gas reserves to deplete in the wells.

Study uses neutron scattering, supercomputing to demystify biofuel production

November 14, 2013 7:23 am | News | Comments

Researchers studying more effective ways to convert woody plant matter into biofuels have identified fundamental forces that change plant structures during pretreatment processes used in the production of bioenergy. Experimental techniques including neutron scattering and x-ray analysis with supercomputer simulations revealed unexpected findings about what happens to water molecules trapped between cellulose fibers.

Prairies vanish in the U.S. push for green energy

November 13, 2013 11:15 am | by Chet Brokaw and Jack Gillum, Associated Press | News | Comments

Across the Dakotas and Nebraska, more than 1 million acres of the Great Plains are giving way to cornfields as farmers transform the wild expanse that once served as the backdrop for American pioneers. This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline.

Cheap metals can be used to make products from petroleum

October 21, 2013 2:30 pm | News | Comments

A new process developed at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago suggests that base metals may be used as catalysts in the manufacture of countless products made from petroleum-based raw materials. The metals, copper and iron, could potentially replace a rare and expensive metal catalyst currently required for the chemical process called borylation.

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Calif. finds more instances of offshore fracking

October 21, 2013 7:56 am | by Alicia Chang and Jason Dearen, Associated Press | News | Comments

In waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach—some of the region's most popular surfing strands and tourist attractions—oil companies have used fracking at least 203 times at six sites in the past two decades. This discovery made from drilling records and interviews shows that offshore fracking is more widespread and frequent that state officials believed.

Researchers address economic dangers of “peak oil”

October 16, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

Experts from the Univ. of Maryland and a leading university in Spain demonstrate in a new study which sectors could put the entire U.S. economy at risk when global oil production peaks. This multi-disciplinary team recommends immediate action by government, private and commercial sectors to reduce the vulnerability of these sectors.

First pilot system to extract dandelion rubber for making tires

October 14, 2013 12:24 pm | News | Comments

Rubber can be extracted from the juice of the dandelion, but transitioning this technology to the industrial setting has been a challenge. The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has joined with Continental tire company to build the first-ever pilot system to extract vast quantities of dandelion rubber for making tires

Ice that burns helps make potable water from oil and gas production

August 29, 2013 9:13 am | News | Comments

In the midst of an intensifying global water crisis, scientists are reporting development of a more economical way to use one form of the “ice that burns” to turn very salty wastewater from fracking and other oil and gas production methods into water for drinking and irrigation. The method removes more than 90% of the salt.

Gulf “dead zone” above average but not near record

July 31, 2013 8:02 am | by Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press | News | Comments

This summer's "dead zone" at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where there's so little oxygen that starfish suffocate, is bigger than average but doesn't approach record size as scientists had predicted, according to findings released this week. The area of low oxygen covers 5,840 square miles of the Gulf floor—roughly the size of Connecticut.

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Chemical reaction could streamline manufacture of pharmaceuticals

July 23, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Texas have discovered a new chemical reaction that has the potential to lower the cost and streamline the manufacture of compounds ranging from agricultural chemicals to pharmaceutical drugs. The reaction resolves a long-standing challenge in organic chemistry in creating phenolic compounds from aromatic hydrocarbons quickly and cheaply.

DOE study: Fracking chemicals didn't taint water

July 22, 2013 2:04 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site. After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water

Chemicals that break down water contaminants pass safety test

July 22, 2013 11:59 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon | News | Comments

A family of molecules developed at Carnegie Mellon Univ. to break down pollutants in water is one step closer to commercial use. Recently published study results show that the molecules, which are aimed at removing hazardous endocrine disruptors from water sources, aren't endocrine disruptors themselves. They proved to be non-toxic to developing zebrafish embryos.

Computing toxic chemicals

July 18, 2013 2:19 pm | News | Comments

There is increasing pressure on the chemical and related industries to ensure that their products comply with increasing numbers of safety regulations. Researchers at the Univ. of Kansas have developed a computational technique that could allow the industry to predict whether a given compound will be toxic even at a low dose and thus allow alternatives to be found when necessary.

Nanoparticle-based technology helps recover more oil

June 14, 2013 9:42 am | by Claude R. Olsen/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann | News | Comments

When petroleum companies abandon an oil well, more than half the reservoir’s oil is usually left behind as too difficult to recover. Now, however, much of the residual oil can be recovered with the help of nanoparticles and a simple law of physics. A partnership of Norwegian and Chinese scientists has succeeded in recovering up to 50% of residual in North Sea rock samples.

Early exposure to bisphenol A might damage the enamel of teeth

June 10, 2013 12:53 pm | News | Comments

Are teeth the latest victims of bisphenol A (BPA)? Yes, according to the conclusions of a team lead by researchers in France. They have shown that the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA could be damaged the chemical.

FEI, University of Oklahoma collaborate to develop unconventional oil, gas resources

June 6, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

A research collaboration agreement has been formed between imaging company FEI and the University of Oklahoma to establish an oil and gas center of excellence. Called the FEI-OU Pore Scale Characterization Laboratory, the center will focus on the development of routine quantitative methods to classify shales in the economic assessment of tight oil and gas plays.

New filtration material could make petroleum refining cheaper, more efficient

May 23, 2013 10:55 pm | News | Comments

A newly synthesized material might provide a dramatically improved method for separating the highest-octane components of gasoline. These components are expensive to isolate. Created in the laboratory of Jeffrey Long, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, the material is a metal-organic framework, or MOF, which can be imagined as a sponge with microscopic holes.

Dow Chemical gets $2.2B Kuwait dispute payment

May 7, 2013 4:56 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Dow Chemical Co. said Tuesday it received a $2.2 billion payment from Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait, settling a dispute over a scrapped joint venture. A year ago, an international arbitration court awarded Dow $2.2 billion in damages stemming from Kuwait's move to withdraw from the joint venture.

New technology propels “old energy” boom

May 6, 2013 9:38 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

Oil companies big and small have used technology to find a bounty of oil and natural gas so large that worries about running out have melted away. New imaging technologies let drillers find oil and gas trapped miles underground and undersea. The result is an abundance that has put the United States on track to become the world's largest producer of oil and gas in a few years.

Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe?

May 3, 2013 9:15 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

t's a chemical that's been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, from the body wash in your bathroom shower to the knives on your kitchen counter to the bedding in your baby's basinet. But federal health regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan—the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75% of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S.—is ineffective, or worse, harmful.

U.N. chemicals summit expected to adopt new controls

April 27, 2013 1:42 pm | by JOHN HEILPRIN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

At the start of a major conference to regulate chemical and hazardous waste safety, top officials voiced optimism Saturday that delegates will approve new international controls on several industrial compounds and agree to clamp down on some cross-border pollution.

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