Crystallization and Competitive Advantage

Companies continuously seek advantage in their fields, and the chemical industry is particularly competitive.

Consider the race to economically produce bio-based materials. Composed of living organisms like yeast and enzymes, they serve as an alternative to fossil-based resources, and can be used as feedstock components for various consumer products.

Because oil prices continue to rise, advances in biotechnology hold significant potential to provide substitutes in place of traditional raw materials.

If this were an easy task, then all companies would immediately switch to making “green” products. However, new and effective methods of bio-based production require investment, research and engineering.

In this regard Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center provides the know how to test whether specific biomaterials are feasible for commercial production by undertaking a series of work that includes laboratory, pilot scale, and small scale production levels.

One of the processes undertaken by MATRIC for these purposes is crystallization, a technique for removing a substance from a solution in a solid form. For example, salt is removed from seawater by evaporating water, precipitating (or crystallizing) the salt and recovering the salt from the water/salt slurry. Sugar is recovered from water solutions by cooling a solution until sugar precipitates.

Many industrial materials, which can be used for commercial purposes, are recovered as solids from solution by crystallization techniques.

Crystallization is a powerful purification technique, since growing crystals tend to exclude impurities and a particulate product is produced. The practice of crystallization is highly complex and tends to be more experienced based rather than theoretical.

MATRIC is uniquely qualified in this discipline given its experienced personnel and experimental equipment (both laboratory and pilot plant scale), along with the analytical backup to conduct timely and sophisticated evaluation of proposed processes.

For more information contact MATRIC’s director of product and process R & D.