September 19, 2005

TPC adds $3.5M to Quantiam-led R&D to cut olefins production emissions

A Canadian consortium led by Edmonton-based Quantiam Technologies will receive up to $3.5 million from the federal Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) initiative. The TPC investment is part of a $12.2-million research and development project focusing on new nanotechnology-based coatings to be used in the production of olefins, the building blocks of plastics, textiles, consumer goods and other chemicals. In May, the project was also chosen to receive a $1.45-million contribution from Sustainable Technology Development Canada (ELW May 16, 2005).

Quantiam, working with Nova Chemicals, a leading olefins producer, will research, develop, and demonstrate the benefits of coatings aimed at reducing energy requirements for manufacturing olefins, and significantly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. In particular, these coatings will enhance the olefins manufacturing process and protect against carbon deposits that negatively affect process results, equipment performance and plant energy efficiency.

Current olefins manufacturing processes operate at very high temperatures and at the limits of current furnace materials. These limitations result in process inefficiencies, including accumulation of carbon deposits on the surfaces of furnace components. The deposits negatively affect process results, equipment performance and plant energy efficiency, leading to increased emissions of greenhouse gases and other air contaminants.

It is estimated that in 2004 the treatment of refinery-processed raw material, including the manufacture of olefins, released 180 million tonnes of CO2 worldwide. Thus, there exists a critical worldwide need for a lower-temperature, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly approach to producing olefins.

Quantiam Technologies and Nova Chemical will develop and demonstrate the benefits of new nanomaterials that will coat the internal and/or external surfaces of olefins furnace coils in order to reduce operating temperatures, inhibit the deposition of carbon, enhance heat transfer and chemical feedstock conversion, lower energy requirements and greenhouse gas formation, and improve plant productivity. The innovation will enable manufacturers to reduce both emissions and production costs.

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