Solution for a chemicals manufacturer

Solution for a chemicals manufacturer


Player: Chemicals manufacturer

Issue: Dust generation from catalysts was affecting high-purity fine chemical products

Properties contributing to the solution: High strength, high purity, low dust


Impurities were leaking from the coconut shell-based activated carbon used as a catalyst, creating problems in the company’s products. Of the fine chemical products being developed in the technology development department, particularly those requiring a high degree of purification were failing to yield performance in line with control values. An investigation of all the processes revealed impurities mingled with precursors. Further delving into the causes, the Department isolated a problem in the catalyst used in the reaction process.

When technology development personnel carefully checked the reaction process, they found that dust generated from the activated carbon impeded the reaction. They were using a special catalyst that consisted of precious metals supported in coconut shell-based activated carbon. When they tested the catalyst for durability, the speed of degradation was faster than expected and the catalyst soon became worn out. The technology development team looked into ways to improve the catalyst replacement cycle. However, as the precious metal-supporting catalyst was expensive, and as replacement involved time and effort, the team did not quickly decide upon which action to take. They continued to look into better methods, but had no similar experience and were failing to find ideas to address the problem.

Key points of the issue

  1. The coconut shell-based activated carbon used in the catalyst released dust, which kept performance from meeting control values.
  2. The catalyst exhibited poor durability and deteriorated more quickly than expected.
  3. Although the team considered shortening the catalyst replacement cycle, the precious metal-supporting catalyst was expensive and the company did not immediately take action.


  • Kureha’s BAC, a bead-shaped activated carbon featuring high durability and low impurities, provided an option for resolving the issue.
  • BAC was found to cut costs by about 50% compared to coconut shell-based activated carbon supporting precious metals, assuming long-term use.

In addition to its high strength and high durability, BAC offered the advantages of high purity, a low level of impurities, and a low level of dust. Hearing the details, the technology development team promptly acquired samples and decided to try out BAC as a catalyst carrier in the process. The results of the evaluation were clear.

The previously observed generation of dust and deterioration of the catalyst were practically non-evident, and performance in line with control values was achieved.

In terms of another issue, i.e., costs, calculation estimates revealed a reduction of up to 50%* compared with the precious metal-supporting catalyst that the company was using.

*Calculated by Kureha Corporation based on the amount of precious metal loading volume obtained from customer evaluations, precious metal prices, and the price differential between coconut shell-based activated carbon and BAC as of the end of April 2020, as well as on vibration wear rates of coconut shell-based activated carbon compared with those of BAC according to internal experimental data.

More information about BAC

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