Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis
  • Home
  • Pump up the volume and save

Pump up the volume and save

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New process for butyraldehyde could save energy, cut costs

For many years, scientists have been exploring what happens when gases like carbon dioxide are dissolved in liquids.

Of course we all know what happens to water when carbon dioxide gas is added: it turns fizzy. But what happens when gases are added to organic solvents? They take up huge amounts of gases, expanding in volume like an inflatable beach ball. This changes their physical properties and impacts chemical reactions—such as hydroformylations—performed in that environment.

CEBC Director Bala Subramaniam and his graduate student, Dupeng Liu, are exploiting the novel effects of these “gas expanded liquids.” Recently, Liu’s research showed how this technology enhances the making of butyraldehyde, a building block for consumer products like detergents, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals.

The results, which are published in the AIChE journal, suggest the technology enables using a mixed feed of propane and propylene, instead of just super pure propylene like the current industrial process. Since only propylene reacts to make the product, the enriched propane stream from the reactor can be reused to make more propylene! 

Eliminating the need for a costly purification step could save energy, curb greenhouse gas emissions and cut both capital and production costs.

Liu, D.; Chaudhari, R.V.; Subramaniam, B. "Enhanced solubility of hydrogen and carbon monoxide in propane- and propylene-expanded liquids," AIChE J. 2018 64:3 970-980. (Abstract)

CEBC Calendar

February 6, Tuesday - CEBC Colloquium
Robert Chen, University of Massachusetts

9:00 a.m., CEBC Seminar Room (Bldg B Rm 104), 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence, KS
Title TBA

February 12, Wednesday - Mandatory Safety Meeting 
9:00 a.m., CEBC Seminar Room (Bldg. B Rm 104)
Presenter: TBD
This meeting is mandatory for all CEBC researchers working at 1501 Wakarusa

April 6 & 7 - Industry and Science Advisory Boards Spring Meeting
Monday - 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, 200 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS
Tuesday - 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, 200 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS


KU Today
48 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Pharmacy school No. 2 nationally for NIH funding