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Microwave landscape

October 24, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 42

We recently reviewed C&EN’s article “Microwaving by the Ton” (Sept. 12, page 24). The article features the following sentences: “It’s not as if industrial-strength microwaving was never considered, but in general, ‘lab success in the use of microwaves has not translated into scaled-up processes,’ observes Mike Collins, CEO of CEM, a leading U.S. manufacturer of microwave analytical tools and laboratory synthesizers. In most applications, scaling up microwave-based synthesis costs too much.”

Thankfully, these statements are not accurate. Our company, FCG Chemical, developed a cost-effective platform to scale up liquid-phase microwave chemistries several years ago using 2.45 GHz. In fact, C&EN has quoted one of our founding members, Richard Wagner, in the past regarding this very subject (Nov. 26, 2012, page 12). We were somewhat surprised to see Collins making those comments considering he has had conversations with Wagner and others in the company. Furthermore, we are not alone in developing a scale-up solution for microwave processing. Aseptia, located in Raleigh, N.C., has developed 915-MHz microwave technology for the continuous processing of food products.

Our technology was featured in Specialty Chemicals Magazine in November 2012, and the article details the seamless scale-up of four different chemistries, such as Suzuki coupling. We have since changed our name from UpScale Microwave to FCG Chemical and are currently developing processes for rapid, low-cost production of specialty polymers and resins as well as biobased products.

Norman Horn
vice president of chemistry
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Ezekiel Maki
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.



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