Automotive LFT technology makes leap in to solar sector

(Plastics Today) -- Long long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT)-polypropylene (PP) compounds are extensively employed in automotive applications. They are now taking on a new challenge in a solar application that requires both non-halogenated flame retardance and colorability.

The need to develop these new FR LFT-PP grades arose from the requirement of Tulipps Solar B.V. (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), a startup company working on a new composite-based solar photovoltaic (PV) module system for flat roofs in which the composites are used in place of aluminum components. New regulations are anticipated in many geographies requiring all plastic materials used on roofs to be flame retarded.

Since the composites used in Tulipps' module system needed to be formulated to offer an extremely demanding target service life of 25 years or longer, company founder and managing director, Paul Stassen wanted to ensure the units would comply not only with current regulations but also with future requirements. That presented an interesting challenge, since the composite module system needed both to be flame retardant as well as lightweight and thin, and therefore required high stiffness and strength plus excellent long-term durability - properties that can be affected by the non-halogenated additives package.


Taiwan's Nan Ya Plastics to conduct shutdown in Mailiao

(ICIS) -- Taiwan's Nan Ya Plastics has been given permission to conduct a phased shutdown of its five units at Hai Fong in Mailiao, Taiwan, for safety checks relating to a fire at Formosa's petrochemical complex on 12 May, a company spokesperson said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the company started the shutdown process for the 360 KTa No 3 MEG plant and 820 KTa No 4 MEG unit, as per the instruction of Yunlin County government, but the shutdown order was lifted in the afternoon, said a company source, who declined to be named.

Tsou said that the local government gave Nan Ya Plastics the leeway to choose the shutdown dates for four of the five plants that were initially ordered to halt operations on 1 June.

Apart from the two MEG units, the company was asked to decide when to shut its 60 KTa 1.4 butylene glycol line No 2 and its 130 KTa bisphenol-A No 4 line. Nan Ya's 110 KTa 7-methyl-1-octanol plant will immediately be shut, Tsou said.


The US outlook for water-treatment chemicals to be strong in the short term

(ICIS) -- The US outlook for water-treatment chemicals will likely be strong in the short term because of dry, hot weather through much of the country, sources said on Wednesday. In North America, the peak of the water-treatment season lasts from the US holidays of Memorial Day at the end of May to Labor Day at the start of September. The summer heat bodes well for companies such as Arch Chemicals, which makes calcium hypochlorite, used in swimming pools and spas.

Other chemicals used in water treatment includes caustic soda, chlorine-based chemicals and varying coagulants such as aluminium sulphate. But the season comes at a time when the rest of the general economy is still lagging.

Typically, peak summer water usage can be up to double that of winter usage, said Alan Roberson, director of regulatory affairs for the American Water Works Association, a trade group that represents municipal water utilities.

Cost for chemicals to treat the water - ­which can vary depending on the geography and utility - are the second biggest cost outside of power. Together, the two costs can make up about 10% of a utility's budget.

And utilities are becoming constrained with rising raw material costs, particularly in commodity markets such as caustic soda.


UK-headquartered specialty chemicals company to target new areas of future growth

(ICIS) -- Johnson Matthey is increasing investment in research and development (R&D) to target new areas of future growth for its business, the UK-headquartered specialty chemicals company said on Thursday. The company posted a net profit of EUR 207.6m, USD 297.8m for its 2010-2011 fiscal year, up 11% from the previous year. In its outlook, Johnson Matthey predicts its fine chemicals division will continue to grow steadily in 2011 and 2012.

Demand is expected to increase in active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and new products, driven by additional capacity following its acquisition of an API plant in Conshohocken, near Philadelphia in the US, in November 2010, the company added.

An increase in useable natural gas reserves, particularly shale gas, is set to play a major role during the next decade.

Johnson Matthey says shale gas will supply 40% of US gas by 2020, as new shale formations are being regularly found around the world.


BASF increased prices for antioxidants and process stabilizers

(BASF) -- BASF increases prices globally for antioxidants and process stabilizers for plastic applications up to 15 %, in selected cases up to 25 % and for selected products across the portfolio of additives and pigments for plastic applications up to 25 %. New prices are effective for deliveries starting today or as contracts allow. These price increases are applied in addition to the prior announced December and February increases.

These price increases are necessary to cover further significant increase in raw material cost, mainly fatty alcohols, methyl acrylate and phenols as well as increases in other raw materials.