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Breakthrough on gas separation technologies

Scientists from China, Ireland and the United States have used a new process to separate ethylene from a gas mixture at much lower cost.

Ethylene, a major raw material for plastic, rubber and paint production, must be separated from acetylene, a byproduct, in order to manufacture these products.

The new separation process is considered a breakthrough, as the amount of acetylene absorbed is 5.7 times as much as the current technique, Professor Xing Huabin, a member of the research team from Zhejiang University, said Friday.

Xing said the technique will help companies separate purer ethylene while lowering costs because of the new energy-saving separation process.

The research, jointly conducted by Zhejiang University, University of Limerick of Ireland and other institutions from the United States, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, was published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Referees of the journal said the work has set a new "benchmark" for separation of the two chemicals, calling the purification capacity "exceptional."

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