Improved electrodialysis operation with buffer solution

A novel electrodialysis process for theproduction of a specialty agricultural chemicalhas been successfully commercialized by ateam at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).This technology controls the pH in a bipolarelectrodialysis stack by using a buffer agentthat is regenerated continuously. Thetechnology significantly improves theefficiency of electrodialysis cells and stacks, inparticular those used in chemical synthesis.Working with BASF Corp., ANL integrated itstechnology for process control with BASF’snew electrodialysis process.ANL researchers used their unique pilot-plantfacilities to carry the bench-scale work throughto commercial production in less than 18months. Once the viability of the process wasconfirmed with pilot production runs at ANL’selectrodialysis facility, a license was negotiatedthat transferred ANL technology to BASF.Agreements were reached that providedtraining of BASF plant operators at ANL. Toprovide short-term commercial production tomeet market demand for the new chemical, anagreement was also reached that allowed theANL facility to be operated by BASF personnelas a commercial production plant. The facilityoperated successfully 24 hours per day, fivedays per week, for six months, with nounscheduled downtime. During the six monthsof operation, production exceeded the initialtargeted production by almost 25%.The outcome of this technology transfer effortis expected to advance the use ofelectrodialysis for applications in the specialtychemical and pharmaceutical industries.
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