UOP to expand adsorbents, catalysts production at Alabama facility

Honeywell’s UOP said Tuesday that it will invest $20 million to expand its production facility in Mobile, Ala., to produce adsorbents and catalysts.

The investment will expand production of UOP’s IONSIV Ion Exchange adsorbents, which remove radioactive material from liquid, and are currently being used in Japan in response to last year's nuclear disaster.

It will also support the production of new adsorbents and catalysts used by petrochemical producers and refiners, UOP officials said.

The expansion is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

"This investment helps us meet the demand for our newest advanced materials, as well as established products that are in demand by customers around the world," said Mike Millard, senior vice president and general manager for UOP’s catalyst, adsorbents and specialties business.

"We continue to invest in new technologies that will help meet refiners and petrochemical producers' needs for materials that offer more flexibility, increase production and lower cost,” he added.

IONSIV Ion Exchanger adsorbents are crystalline materials that can selectively remove radioactive ions from liquids.

At Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, these adsorbents are successfully being used to reduce radioactive cesium to non-detectable levels in the plant's contaminated wastewater after the earthquake and tsunami last year.

These materials have been used commercially for more than 30 years to remove radioactive ions from liquids, such as radioactive waste streams in commercial nuclear power plants, alkaline tank waste, and spent fuel storage pool water.

The Mobile plant also produces the ADS-47 Parex adsorbent, the latest generation of the company's Parex adsorbent.

The new adsorbent allows petrochemical producers to increase yields of paraxylene by more than 20% over previous technology.

Paraxylene is a material used in the production of synthetic fibers such as polyester as well as plastic bottles.

The plant also produces catalysts that help petrochemical producers increase production while reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

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