Total may become the sole shareholder in Fina Antwerp Olefins

(PlastEurope) -- Before 2011 came to a close, Total Petrochemicals signed an agreement with ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemicals BVBA - a member of ExxonMobil to acquire the latter's 35% stake in common joint venture Fina Antwerp Olefins. The deal, which was signed by Total affiliate PetroFina, still has to meet the approval of the European competition authorities. If approved, Total will become the sole shareholder in the Antwerp-based base chemicals producer.

According to Total's data, Fina Antwerp Olefins has capacity to turn out about 1.4m t/y of ethylene, 890,000 t/y of propylene, 190,000 t/y of benzene, 110,000 t/y of cyclohexane as well as 100,000 t/y of toluene - with some of the output earmarked for Total's downstream units in Antwerp and Feluy. Whereas the French petrochemical giant turns out 510,000 t/y of HDPE at the former site, in Feluy, Total has capacity for 930,000 t/y of PP, 170,000 t/y of HDPE as well as 160,000 t/y of PS.


Abu Dhabi to boost investments in the downstream sector

(Arabian oil and gas) -- As part of strategic vision for 2030, Abu Dhabi has revealed plan to set up two industrial zones in the Western region, local news agency WAM reported. The first industrial zone will be located in al-Rowais and covers an area of 14 square kilometers and dedicated mainly for chemical, petrochemical, plastic manufacturing, oil and gas, cement, building, and logistics industries.

The Madinat Zayed industrial zone will focus on the oil and gas, food manufacturing and logistics industries and will cover an area of 2.5 square kilometers. Both of these industrial zones will provide employment for the people of that region.

The development of an auto city which will be located adjacent to ICAD (Industrial City Abu Dhabi) was approved. It will act as a cluster development for all auto-related businesses and is intended to serve the future growth needs of the automobile sector in Abu Dhabi. The project will attract investment in automobile manufacturing and spare part logistics for facilities across the region and it is also anticipated that this will provide employment opportunities for UAE nationals.


BASF's carbonyl iron powder to improve electrical components for smartphones and tablet

(BASF) -- High-purity carbonyl iron powder (CIP) from BASF contributes decisively to solving the problem of different voltage: incorporated in the cores of high frequency coils it makes sure that the current flowing into the sensitive electronics always has exactly the required voltage.

"With our decades of experience in synthesizing CIP, we can precisely control the structure of the iron particles and thus their electromagnetic properties to create an optimal material, thereby making even very small high-frequency coils extremely efficient," emphasizes Dr. Frank Prechtl, Business Manager at BASF. "Every tablet PC contains three or four of these high-frequency coils with CIP core, and a notebook has as many as ten."

CIP is produced from normal scrap iron, which is finely ground and reacted with carbon monoxide at increased temperatures under high pressure. CIP differs markedly from iron powders manufactured using other techniques, such as electrolytic processes or spray methods. This is the decisive factor for many applications - for example, the perfect spherical shape of the CIP particles in the coil cores allows them to be packed together particularly tightly and the wires of the coil are


Italy's Novamont to build a new type of BDO unit

(chemmonitor) -- The Italy-headquartered maker Novamont will start a new project. The project presupposes construction of a butanediol (BDO) facility. The product will be generated from renewable feedstock materials. The output will be mainly of the internal use. It will be the first plant of the type in Europe.

The US company Genomatica will assist in execution of the project. It will provide a manufacturing technology. The firms have inked a JV agreement.

A nameplate capacity of the unit will be 0.04 million lb per year. The plant is likely to initiate operations in two years.


Kaiser Permanente replaces PVC packaging with PET

(plasticstoday) -- Kaiser Permanente, a huge West Coast health provider, is banning use of PVC in tubing and bags and P&G is replacing PVC packaging in toothbrush containers with PET, which is more easily recyclable.

The irony is that just as widespread conversions out of PVC might really take hold in a few years, PVC could becoming one of the greener materials on the planet. For starters, consider that PVC is the only major volume thermoplastic that is substantially derived (57%) from a non-fossil fuel feedstock. Vinyl chloride monomer is derived from brine, which is industrial-grade salt.

The other feedstock for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is ethylene, which can now be made from sugar-derived ethanol in very large quantities in Brazil. Braskem has a huge plant while a Dow Mitsui joint venture is building another world-scale plant.

Solvay Indupa, the Brazilian arm of Belgium-based chemical giant Solvay, has announced plans to use Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as a PVC feedstock to replace naphtha, which has been bought from Middle-Eastern sources. According to Solvay's Erik De Leye, the project remains in the project stage for now, but a plant of 120,000 tonnes a year is envisioned. That would make PVC a 100% natural material from a polymer point of view.

The typical PVC compound, however, is heavily loaded with chemical additives, most famously plasticizers that impart flexibility. According to Kaiser Permanente, research suggests that long-term exposure to a commonly used plasticizer called DEHP can affect the body's endocrine system, resulting in a variety of hormonal abnormalities, particularly in infants. The European Union has banned some uses of DEHP, such as children's toys.