PolyOne launches Geon BIO PVC using soy-based materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp., said Plasticsnews.

Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne launched Geon BIO at NPE 2015 in Orlando. The flexible PVC compounds use reFlex-brand bio-based plasticizers that were developed by Battelle, a nonprofit research and development firm in Columbus, Ohio.

Battelle developed the patents used in reFlex in 2002 and 2003, and began working with PolyOne in 2008. PolyOne began marketing reFlex in late 2012.

"Selling a plasticizer was a bit of a departure for PolyOne,” Battelle senior market manager Rick Heggs said in an April 15 phone interview. “It was a little bit out of their sweet spot. But a compounded resin like Geon BIO is more a core business for them."

Geon BIO already has some commercial applications in footwear and furniture, PolyOne market development manager Alan Barcon said in a recent interview with Plastics News. On the horizon for Geon BIO are opportunities in medical devices such as surgical masks, as well as in toys, he added.

The material can be used in "any kind of flexible PVC product in the home," according to Heggs. The reFlex bio-plasticizer used in Geon BIO is soybean-based and USDA-approved, as well as being phthalate-free.

The bio-plasticizer will be used in loadings of at least 20 percent, Barcon said. Geon BIO also has good thermal stability, which can allow higher frequency runs and better manufacturing results, he added. Soybeans often are used in bioplastics because of their abundance and affordability, Heggs said. Soybeans also have chemical attributes that make them attractive for chemical modification, he explained.

PolyOne is the exclusive licensee for Battelle’s reflex bio-plasticizers in North America and Asia. In Brazil and South America, the technology has been licensed to Nexoleum Bioderivados Ltda. of Sao Paulo.

Battelle is looking to add a reflex licensee in Europe, and hopes to do so by the end of the year, Heggs said.
In addition to PolyOne, Battelle continues to work with Biobent Polymers, a Dublin, Ohio-based firm that uses Battelle technology to make soy-based Panacea-brand bioplastics. Biobent has received funding from Battelle and from the United Soybean Board.

Battelle was founded in 1929 and ranks as the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, employing more than 22,000 employees at more than 60 locations.

As MRC informed earlier, in February 2014, PolyOne Corporation announced the addition of new capabilities to its OnColor HC Plus portfolio. These expanded offerings add medical-grade LDPE, nylon, PEBA, PS and PVC to the globally available palette of specialty healthcare colorants, and are pre-certified to meet or exceed biocompatibility requirements for ISO 10993 and/or USP Class VI protocols.

PolyOne Corporation, with 2013 revenues of USD3.8 billion, is a global provider of specialized polymer materials, services, and solutions. PolyOne is a provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions with operations in specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, polymer distribution and specialty vinyl resins.

Dow reports Q1 2015 results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow has reported earnings per share of USD1.18 or operating earnings of USD0.84 per share. This compares with earnings of USD0.79 per share on both a reported and an operating basis in the year-ago period, as per the company's press release.

EBITDA for the quarter was USD3.1 billion. Operating EBITDA was USD2.4 billion, with gains reported in Consumer Solutions, Infrastructure Solutions, Performance Materials & Chemicals, as well as Performance Plastics. Operating EBITDA increases were led by Consumer Solutions and Infrastructure Solutions (both up 10%).

Sales were USD12.4 billion, down 14% driven primarily by price declines, due to changes in crude oil values and currency devaluations versus the dollar. Demand for Dow products grew across all geographic regions. Volume increased in Performance Plastics (up 6%), and Performance Materials & Chemicals and Consumer Solutions (both up 5%). Overall, growth was led by emerging geographies (up 5%), with particular strength in Greater China (up 10%).

Operating cash flow was USD1.2 billion - a first quarter record and an increase of more than USD660 million versus the same quarter last year.

Dow announced the signing of a definitive agreement to divest a substantial portion of its chlorine value chain through a transaction with Olin Corporation for a tax-efficient consideration of USD5 billion, and taxable equivalent value of USD8 billion.

Additional, ongoing portfolio management in the quarter included the sale of the ANGUS Chemical Company and Sodium Borohydride businesses, generating USD688 million in pre-tax gains.

Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated: "Dow delivered a tenth consecutive quarter of operating earnings and margin growth with the full impact of an integrated, diversified portfolio on display. Demand for our high-margin, technology-driven businesses, coupled with our low-cost integration delivered margin expansion. This performance underscores the power of our portfolio to deliver in the face of significant macroeconomic pressures, with issues like oil price declines and currency volatility, plus weather impacts in agriculture, all overcome in the quarter. Our targeted market participation strategy, together with the strength of our integrated portfolio, has created a company with higher and even more predictable earnings.

"The actions that we have taken to build a shareholder-centric foundation are fudamentally transforming Dow into the premiere company in the chemicals, materials and agricultural sectors. Our ongoing execution against the commitments we have made is demonstrated by the return of an additional USD977 million to shareholders during the quarter and our announced divestiture transactions, which we expect to exceed USD11 billion - well ahead of our stated target of USD7 billion to USD8.5 billion."

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. As of 2007, it is the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue (after BASF) and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization (after BASF and DuPont). Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

UK government warns BP over potential takeover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The British government has told BP it would oppose any potential takeover of the company, which was seriously weakened by the huge bill incurred after the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster five years ago, reported Financial Times.

Amid wider consolidation in the energy sector, triggered by the sharp fall in oil prices, Downing Street has informed BP and senior City figures that it wants the group to remain a British industrial champion with global reach.

Prime Minister David Cameron has long presented Britain as a welcoming destination for foreign investment, but his government has made it clear that it would not remain neutral if the company were the target of a foreign takeover.

Analysts have in the past linked ExxonMobil, the world’s largest non-state oil company, to a possible move on BP. But British officials have told the Financial Times that Number 10 would be "sceptical" about any takeover - even if it involved Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil major - because it wants Britain to have two big global oil companies.

BP declined to comment on whether the UK government had discussed the issue with the company. But Number 10 said: "The government talks to a wide range of UK businesses, as you would expect. It is in the UK’s interest to have British companies competing and succeeding at home and abroad."

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, BP has planned to invest over USD200 million to upgrade its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants at Cooper River, South Carolina and Geel, Belgium. The investments will position these assets amongst the most efficient PTA manufacturing facilities in the world.

BP is one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items.

Shintech investing USD1.4 billion at Iberville Parish plants to add ethylene production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In a move that will allow the company to produce ethylene at its Iberville Parish plants and create an estimated 100 new direct jobs, Shintech has announced plans to invest USD1.4 billion at its facilities in the parish, as per BusinessReport.

Shintech, a North American subsidiary of Japan-based Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. - the world’s largest PVC producer and a leading manufacturer of silicone and specialty chemicals - will also retain 335 existing direct jobs at its plants in Plaquemine and Addis with the investment, Louisiana Economic Development estimates.

Shintech expects to break ground on the project in the second quarter of this year, with completion of the project slated for the first half of 2018. LED says it began discussing the project with the company in December 2013. To secure it, the state is providing the company with an incentive package that includes a USD5 million performance-based grant to offset the cost of infrastructure improvements at the Plaquemine site, along with a USD5 million Modernization Tax Credit, to be claimed in equal installments over a five-year period. The company also will receive workforce training assistance through the LED FastStart program.

With roughly 5,700 acres on the Mississippi River southwest of Baton Rouge, Shintech’s Plaquemine and Addis plants chiefly produce PVC and vinyl chloride monomer, or VCM, the key ingredient from which PVC plastics are made.

As MRC wrote before, in 2013, Shintech Inc. unveiled its plans to add almost 700 million pounds of PVC capacity as part of a USD500 million expansion of its plants in Louisiana. The project also will include 660 million pounds of new capacity for PVC feedstock vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 440 million pounds of new capacity for caustic soda.

Shintech was founded in 1974 to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. The catalyst for its current success came in 1976 when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. Since then Shintech has completed a series of production capacity expansions that combined aggressive domestic and export business plans with careful analysis of market conditions and customer needs. Currently, Shintech Inc. is the largest producer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the United States.

Chang Chun Chemical starts operating second Changshu Bisphenol-A facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chang Chun Chemical (Jiangsu) Co. has started up its second bisphenol-A (BPA) plant at Changshu in China's Jiangsu Province using proprietary technology from Badger Licensing, said Apic-online.

The new 135,000-t/y BPA unit was built on the same site as Chang Chun's other 135,000-t/y BPA plant, which came on line in 2013 using Badger technology.

Chang Chun Chemical is an affiliate of Chang Chun Plastics Co., operator of two BPA plants in Taiwan, with technology licenses from Badger.

Stuart Agler, president of Badger, noted that Chang Chun's "impressive growth in the BPA industry has made them one of the largest BPA producers in the world in a relatively short period of time."

As MRC informed earlier, Badger Licensing, a 50-50 joint venture between ExxonMobil and Technip, has been selected by Lihuayi Weiyuan Chemical to provide its proprietary technology for a 120,000 tpy grassroots bisphenol-A (BPA) plant being built in Lijin, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China.

BPA is a precursor to the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate. Nearly 1.7 million metric tons of BPA capacity has been licensed by Badger and its predecessor companies since the technology was first offered for license in 2001.

Badger Licensing LLC, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, is a venture of affiliates of Technip and ExxonMobil Chemical Company. Badger Licensing is principally engaged in marketing, licensing, and developing technologies for ethylbenzene, styrene monomer, cumene and bisphenol-A.