BASF expands international research network

(BASF) -- BASF and three top European universities team up on functional materials research. BASF SE has set up a research initiative called Joint Research Network on Advanced Materials and Systems (JONAS) in collaboration with the universities of Strasbourg, France; Freiburg, Germany, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

The aim is to work jointly to strengthen the scientific base and understanding of modern materials and systems and expand the international research network. ⌠Functional materials with new combinations of properties offer vast innovative potential. To realize that potential, we need both wide-ranging expertise and a creative interdisciplinary network in order to develop new impulses and ideas and joint exploration of new themes. That is precisely what we hope to achieve through close cooperation with these top universities, said Dr. Christian Fischer, head of Polymer Research at BASF.

The cooperation will create approximately 20 new post-doc positions at the three universities. The spectrum of future research themes is broad. One area is multi-materials, which are made up of a variety of components and in that way present new and improved performance profiles. Other examples of future research topics are biobased and biodegradable polymers.

⌠The diversity of the potential material innovations from this cooperation is immense, and the potential applications are equally wide-ranging, commented Dr. Bernd Bruchmann, BASF Vice President in Polymer Research and head of JONAS, adding that system solutions in heat management, lightweight construction and sustainable packaging were areas of interest.


LG Chem suspends planned polysilicon plant

(Reuters) -- LG Chem Ltd said on Friday that it has suspended a plan to build a polysilicon production plant because of worsening market conditions.

In June, South Korea's largest chemical company said it would invest 491 billion won ($435 million) to construct a 5,000-tonne-per-year polysilicon plant.

Polysilicon is a key material used to the production of solar panels.


Sinopec, SK to further discuss ethylene JV

(Reuters) -- Asia's top refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and Korea's SK Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding on strategic cooperation on Friday, including a joint investment on an 800,000 tonne-per-year ethylene project in central China.

"The two parties will continue exploring the joint investment in the Wuhan ethylene project," Sinopec said in a brief statement. It did not give any financial details.

Sinopec started building the petrochemical complex in central Chinese city of Wuhan around the end of 2007, Chinese media reported.

In February, an SK official said the Korean firm aimed to hold a 35 percent stake in the joint venture with Sinopec. The total cost of the Wuhan petrochemical project was estimated at $2.88 billion to $2.97 billion.

In 2004, Sinopec and SK Group jointly invested $26.5 million to build a 60,000 tonne-per-year specialized solvent oil facility in Shanghai. The joint venture is currently operating smoothly, Sinopec said. (Reporting by Wan Xu and Chen Aizhu; editing by James Jukwey).


Slovnaft continues in mega investments

(Slovnaft) -- Slovnaft plans to implement three large investment projects in Bratislava refinery in next 42 months with total value more then 300 million euro. The aim of the projects is to enhance competitiveness in sale of plastics, as well as improvement of ecologic parameters of manufacture. Currently the largest investment in the chemical industry in Central Europe, during the implementation can work from 500 to 1000 people through the delivery companies.

The construction of new line for the manufacture of polyethylene (LDPE 4) with the utilization of proved German technology will be the main part of the investments.

The reconstruction of ethylene unit as the source of material for polyethylene links will be realized before these investments. The reconstruction will start in next year. New line should be built by the end of 2015.

"New production unit will be able to produce nearly 30 types of polyethylene. Due to the extension of portfolio Slovnaft will be able to address new customers and expand to new markets within EU.

"Due to modern technologies the new production unit will be not only able to replace all present 7 lines for the production of polyethylene, but also ensure the increase of polymers production by 42 thousand tones. The construction of new line is a key investment for the whole market of plastics in Central Europe and ensures long- term sustainable competitive advantage for our company," said Ivan Dezd, the director of Slovnaft Petrochemicals.


China records USD297.9 billion foreign trade values in October

(adsalecprj) -- According to latest statistics from China Customs, in October, exports continued to slow down while imports were on the rise. The country's total foreign trade value was USD297.9 billion in the month, up by 21.6% year on year.

Statistics also showed that although exports increased by 15.9% compared with the same month of last year, their growth rate was down by 1.2% from September. Meanwhile, imports recorded an increase of 28.7% year on year, up by 7.8% compared with September. After seasonal adjustment, in October exports and imports were down by 7.2% and 9.5% month on month respectively.
A USD17 billion foreign trade surplus was recorded in the month, up by USD2.5 billion than September.

By category, most textile and light industrial products experienced slowdown in export growth. In October, export values of furniture, plastics products and light fixtures increased by 13%, 25.9% and 12.1% year on year respectively. These figures were down by 0.6%, 2.1% and 2.1% compared with September respectively.

In the month, export values of toys and garments increased by 5.3% and 6% year on year, while down by 1.6% and 7.9% month on month respectively. Exports of shoes and bags also increased by 6.1% and 30.9% increase in value, yet both numbers happened to be 4.5% and 1.6% lower than in September respectively.

Meanwhile, export values of machinery & electronics products as well as hi tech products were recorded at USD93.2 billion and USD48.4 billion respectively, an increase of 12.6% and 6.1% year on year respectively.
However, the numbers were down 0.6% and 0.2% than in September. Only textile products have experienced growth in both categories, up 18.4% year on year and 1.8% month on month.