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The Separations Report – 2021: Commercial, Technical and R&D Assessment in Refining, Petrochemical/Syngas, Natural Gas and Industrial Gases – 3rd Biennial Edition –


TCGR to Update its Ground-Breaking Assessment of Industrial Separations: ab/adsorbents, membranes, advanced distillation, cryogenics and other approaches to have critical role in energy transition, sustainability, circularity, and decarbonization…

View Updated Proposal Here (PDF format)

The Separations Report – 2021: Commercial, Technical and R&D Assessment in Refining, Petrochemical/Syngas, Natural Gas and Industrial Gases

– 3rd Biennial Edition –

The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR) is pleased to return to the subject of industrial separations in 2021 and offer this updated, refined and further expanded evaluation. Building on well-received editions in 2017 and 2019, this 3rd biennial edition will provide insightful assessment of areas of particular importance and/or rapid change: energy transition (including the hydrogen economy), industry decarbonization, carbon circularity, and product/process sustainability, while continuing to highlight technical advances which are certain to change the competitive landscape.

Similar to TCGR’s first two editions, which were the first of their kind to provide comprehensive global data on market size (volumes and values), growth rates and competitor profiles for applications across the separations industries, this 3rd biennial edition will depict competitive offerings (by separation approach, including membranes, ab/adsorbents, reactive separations, distillation, and integrated approaches, etc.) to provide industrial participants with market opportunities for further pursuit. Evaluations will be provided on technology changes and their impacts on commercial offerings, permitting forecasts of penetration by new approaches and side-by-side comparisons between them. This will, again, be a “by the industry, for the industry” assessment.

All separation processes are becoming more sophisticated on an application by application basis. In light of the increasing expectations for low/zero-waste processes (circularity) and improvements affecting energy usage (decarbonization), there is a need to bring the disparate issues together into a concise commercial understanding and to develop comparative systems so future decision-making can be made more straightforward. The drivers/incentives for this effort are, of course economics, but also macroeconomic ones like regulation (tighter product specifications), the drive toward energy transition and ESG pressures like sustainability and NetZero 2050 objectives.

A snapshot of the progress in technological and commercial developments in just the past two years justifies more careful consideration for documentation in TCGR’s proposed study.

  • Decarbonization, as part of the energy transition, continues to be a driver for technical development. ExxonMobil and Mosaic Materials have partnered to use Mosaic’s MOFs to separate carbon dioxide from air or flue gas (Green Car Congress, 2020).

Figure 1. MOF for Carbon Capture

MOF pore structure; the inset shows captured CO2. Atom colors: oxygen (red), carbon (gray), nitrogen (blue), magnesium (green) Source: ARPA-E
  • Cyclic distillation has seen limited use in the petrochemical industry but has begun to be used for the separation of ethanol for biofuels, industrial solvents distillation, and fractionation of kerosene. Cyclic distillation derives its benefits from an increase in the driving force for separation through a modification of the column operating principle with the use of modified internals. These benefits include lower energy requirements (by up to 35%), reduced capital costs, and better column performance (Hydrocarbon Processing, 2021).

Figure 2. Trays for Cyclic Distillation Operation

Trays suited with sluice chambers, especially designed for cyclic distillation columns (left). Top view of an installed cyclic distillation tray column with a diameter of 1.7 m (right). Source: Hydrocarbon Processing, 2021.

As it did in 2017 and 2019, The Separations Report – 2021 study will cover the following topics:

  • Market size/growth, key trends and competitor profiles
  • Application advances by industry
  • Technical advances by separations approach (i.e., ab/adsorbents, membranes, distillation/thermal, reactive separations, etc.)
  • Implications on key drivers, including energy transition, decarbonization and carbon circularity
  • Strategic analysis and competitive implications

This 2021 update, scheduled for completion within 3-4 months of study launch, will build upon, but go well beyond, the foundation established in 2017 and 2019 serving as a new “gold standard” for the separations industry.

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As it does in each of its industrially-focused multi-client studies, TCGR will seek input from “charter” subscribers (i.e., those who sign up prior to study launch) to help shape the report’s final scope/TofC by delineating areas of particular interest, including the applications by industry and separations method, as depicted in Sections IV and V in the preliminary TofC.

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Notice to Subscribers of TCGR’s 2017 and/or 2019 editions of The Separations Report:

Due to the complementary nature of this study to TCGR’s previous reports in this area, namely The Separations Report – 2017 (1st edition) completed in October 2017 and The Separations Report – 2019 (2nd edition) completed in July 2019, TCGR is offering a discount of $1,000 off The Separations Report – 2021 (3rd edition) to subscribers of either of those studies.  Subscribers are requested to contact Steve Deutsch at +1.215.628.4447 or sdeutsch@catalystgrp.com if further details are required or to determine if your organization is entitled. When completing the order form, please make sure to indicate your company’s subscription to the earlier report(s).

Additional information, including the complete study proposal, the preliminary Table of Contents and the Order Form, can be downloaded via the link below.  For additional study details or to subscribe, please contact Steve Deutsch at +1.215.628.4447 or sdeutsch@catalystgrp.com.

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The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.


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