by Staff Writers
Nuremberg, Germany (SPX) Mar 17, 2017
Chemists at Friedrich-Alexander Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU) have developed a process in which nitrogen oxides generated during industrial processes can be used in the manufacture of colourants and medicines. Using the method, businesses will in future be able to combine the decontamination of exhaust fumes with the production of new substances.
Nitrogen oxides are a major environmental pollutant. Nitrogen and oxygen compounds are primarily formed during combustion, for example in automobile engines and coal and gas power plants, but also through other thermal and chemical techniques employed by industry.
In order to clean these waste gases, the methods of post-combustion capture or catalytic reduction are employed - both of which are relatively complex and are also associated with certain disadvantages. But nitrogen oxides are not just unwanted toxins. In fact, recent research has shown that they can be used in the chemical synthesis of high-value products.
Using environmental pollutants as resources
'Copper nitrate is used as a colourant, an anti-corrosive coating, a wood preserving agent and as an oxidising agent in chemical synthesis,' explains Heinrich. 'We have developed a way of directly using the nitrogen oxide created during the manufacturing process in the synthesis of balsalazide and sulfasalazine - two azo compound drugs used in the treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.'
Nearly 100% exhaust gas purification
'However, we are working on the assumption that our technique will also lead to high efficiency levels in industrial applications.' Unlike earlier attempts undertaken in the laboratory by the pharmaceutical chemists, the new plant can also make use of low concentrations of nitrogen oxides and will function reliably even if there are fluctuations in the exhaust gas flow.
Azo compounds for a variety of applications
'Anywhere we have a manageable range of source materials, including for example the etching of printed circuit boards for electronic applications, we can use the by-product nitrogen oxide for the manufacture of medicinal products.
The situation is a bit different in the case of power plants or waste incineration plants - obviously it's best to avoid using such a cocktail of toxins and heavy metals to make medicines. But it is possible and it makes sense to use the nitrogen oxides present in exhaust fumes for the manufacture of certain colourants based on azo compounds.'
The results of the project, funded by the German Federal Environment Foundation (DBU), have been published in Chemistry - A European Journal in an article entitled "Sustainable synthesis of balsalazide and sulfasalazine based on diazotization with low concentrated nitrogen dioxide in air" (doi: dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201605359).
Ames IA (SPX) Mar 13, 2017
The U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory has successfully created the first pure, single-crystal sample of a new iron arsenide superconductor, CaKFe4As4, and studies of this material have called into question some long-standing theoretical models of superconductivity. The material is notable for having the high superconducting temperature of 35K without the need for small amounts of addit ... read more
Friedrich-Alexander Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU)
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