This is where Uhde’s Envinox process comes in. With the aid of an iron-rich zeolite catalyst developed in partnership with Clariant, the process reduces NOx and N2O (laughing gas) in one step to N2, O22 and water vapor. Depending on temperature and composition, the gas can be decomposed catalytically or through reduction. Envinox is an archetypal end-of-pipe process. The reactor installed in the exhaust gas tract produces nothing, generates no heat and does not reduce resource consumption. It is nevertheless a good investment.
The Work has Only Started
Innovation will continue to have an important role to play. The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) expects that expenditure on innovation in the chemical industry will increase to a peak level of 13.4 billion euros in 2013. Sustainability, energy costs and efficiency pose formidable challenges for the chemical industry, and obviously these challenges can only be met if companies and engineers are prepared to try new innovative approaches and rethink the old ways of doing things. Not everything that works at the lab workbench is feasible on an industrial scale. “Any university researcher is happy when selectivity has reached 99 %. For us, that is just the starting point,” reported Dr. Krill. ●
* The author is an editor at PROCESS.