Speciality Chemicals Magazine JAN / FEB 2021 | Page 39

converting off gases from steel production into methanol and other useful products , using the MegaMax catalyst

• Storing and transporting hydrogen from renewable resources in liquid organic hydrogen carriers , in partnership with Hydrogenious , using the dedicated EleMax catalyst in 2018
• A new collaboration with the start-up company Ineratec , which has developed a technology to convert gas to liquids in modular container-sized reactors , using the MegaMax and HyProGen syngas conditioning and upgrading catalysts
Investment continues
More generally , Clariant Catalysts ’ capabilities are based on a global R & D footprint , with over 300 experts spread across ten R & D centres in all major global regions . “ It ’ s not good enough to be number two in innovation or ‘ as-good-as ’ in catalysts . We need to be number one and that also means investing above average levels in our R & D ,” Estenfelder said . A particular highlight in this context is the high-throughput research centre in Palo Alto , California , which was established in 2009 . Its work is all about applying multiple techniques to accelerate the R & D rate . Using high-throughput methods , the typical time needed to develop a new catalyst can be reduced from three to five years to one to three . However , this is not something that can simply be achieved by spending money on parallel reactors , according to Estenfelder . “ Highthroughput can only work if you put it into an expert environment . This starts with the design of the operation and the equipment .” Most of the equipment used at Palo Alto was designed in-house for company-specific needs . It mostly comprises scaled-down versions of commercial operations , which means that any catalyst developed through
Clariant carries out high-throughput research at its lab in Palo Alto
the lab will have exactly the same benefits when scaled up and applied commercially . Clariant is unique in this respect , Estenfelder said . Last summer , Clariant announced that it has made a significant investment at this site in terms of both space and equipment , including software , and preparation , characterisation and testing units , in recent months . This has almost doubled capacity . As a result , there will be more research projects for both new and existing applications . In addition , because of the way the facility operates , there will be scope for more use of high-throughput technologies in the later as well as the earlier stages of development , thus further accelerating time to market and reducing production costs . •
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Marvin Estenfelder
CLARIANT CATALYSTS marvin . estenfelder @ clariant . com www . clariant . com