FlexCat™ by Unifrax Produces Increased Yield with Less Coking in Model PDH Study

The new fiber solution demonstrates promising results for petrochemical industry, with research supported by German-based high throughput experimentation company hte GmbH

BUFFALO, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Unifrax, a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty materials, today announced initial results of the first phase of its testing campaign, performed at hte GmbH, leading provider of high throughput technology in catalysis research. These results support the ability of the recently launched FlexCat™ by Unifrax to significantly improve production throughput, increase process runtime and reduce a company’s carbon footprint.

FlexCat, a new customizable fiber-based catalyst support material, is designed for use in industrial catalysis, improving the output of hydrogen and specialty gas production, chemical processing, air purification and other chemical manufacturing applications.

Tested by hte GmbH, Unifrax targeted a model reaction of propane dehydrogenation (PDH) as a common industrial process and compared FlexCat to a literature derived and pellet-supported catalyst. Unifrax’s first step into industrial catalysis is a catalyst support material that has been proven to:

Provide enhanced yield and selectivity.

  • FlexCat increased output by 20 percent in the initial cycle and retained at least 90 percent conversion activity during the subsequent cycle tested.
  • This patented technology provided more tortuosity, maximizing catalyst interaction and producing 50 percent less side products per cycle, including four times less benzene.

Reduce production downtime.

  • FlexCat retained its conversion activity throughout the two cycles, offering up to 50 percent reduction in regeneration time and up to 12 percent longer run time.
  • FlexCat’s innovative product forms can be up to 10 times lighter than the conventional support being used, reducing loading and unloading time.

Allow for reduced downstream processing and cleaner outputs through plant optimization.

  • First lab scale data showed the potential of FlexCat to significantly reduce coking, improve conversion, and increase selectivity; addressing emissions concerns and providing a safer environment for employees and surrounding communities.

“In this latest round of testing, we homed in on specific areas where our industry partners strive to see improvements and derive value – from increased yield, reduced emissions and lower carbon footprints,” said Chad Cannan, senior vice president of research and development, Unifrax. “This next generation of catalysis technology will significantly increase production through existing assets and avoid costly capital expenditures and unnecessary downtime. This data shows that companies can realize greater value through their current production systems and improve their environmental footprint.”

“This collection of data, in partnership with hte GmbH, is a step in the right direction for industrial catalysis,” said John Dandolph, president and CEO, Unifrax. “With FlexCat, we’re working to optimize plant performance and the impact on local communities, focusing on a unique, game-changing solution. In confirming that we can increase output while reducing emissions and overall costs for our industry partners, we are excited to move forward with implementing this new technology to create better and more efficient catalysis that this industry has never seen before.”

With a track record of 75+ years developing and supplying engineered inorganic materials on a large scale to advanced industries worldwide, Unifrax has a deep history of fiber-based technology and manufacturing. As a first step into industrial catalysis for Unifrax, FlexCat offers a revolutionary fiber-based catalytic media that delivers more than the alumina-based catalysis technology used today.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with Unifrax on FlexCat,” said Wolfram Stichert, CEO, hte GmbH. “We’ve already seen promising results from our testing, and we can’t wait to see what’s ahead for this exciting and brand-new technology.”

Customizable for individual partners, processes and specific reactions, FlexCat can be manufactured at scale today. To learn more about FlexCat, visit www.unifrax.com/flexcat.

About Unifrax

Unifrax develops and manufactures high-performance specialty materials used in advanced applications, including high-temperature industrial insulation, electric vehicles, energy storage, filtration and fire protection, among many others. Unifrax products are designed with the ultimate goal of saving energy, reducing pollution and improving safety for people, buildings and equipment by delivering on our commitment to our customers of greener, cleaner, safer solutions for their application challenges. Unifrax has 37 manufacturing facilities operating in 12 countries and employs 2,700+ employees globally. More information is available at www.unifrax.com. For updates, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About hte GmbH

At hte – the high throughput experimentation company, we make R&D in the area of catalysis faster and more productive. We enable cost-effective innovations and reduced time-to-market for new products, thereby allowing our customers in the energy & refining, chemical & petrochemical, and environmental industries to keep ahead of the competition. Our technology and services comprise:

  • R&D Solutions: highly efficient contract research programs at hte’s state-of-the-art laboratories in Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Technology Solutions: integrated hardware and software solutions, enabling our customers to establish high throughput workflows in their own laboratories.

Our customers benefit from broad technical and scientific expertise, exceptional customer orientation, complete end-to-end solutions, and outstanding data quality. Our close ties with BASF guarantee long-term orientation and stability.


For Unifrax:

Deborah L. Myers

Global Marketing Communication Director


For hte GmbH:

Jacqueline Stalica

Marketing Communications Manager

+49 (0) 6221 – 74 97 – 290

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