Huntsman wins BMW Supplier Innovation Award for sustainability

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huntsman announced that its polyurethanes division has won a Supplier Innovation Award from BMW Group for developing a technology which reduces total emissions from the polyurethane seating foam used in its vehicles, as per GV.

According to Huntsman, its automotive team developed a unique MDI system, new polyol and formaldehyde 'scavenger' technology. This chemistry enabled BMW to reduce total emissions from its seating foams by a factor of ten - without compromising comfort or quality. Huntsman says it is the only supplier to meet the BMW Group’s requirements for moulded foams.

"BMW is well known for its exacting performance standards and Huntsman has been a long-term technology partner to the business, assisting in its drive for improved safety, performance, comfort and sustainability," Tony Hankins, President of Huntsman’s Polyurethanes division, said. "We are incredibly proud of this award and the difference that our technology will make to BMW customers worldwide."

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, Huntsman Corporation has recently announced global price increases for all its titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments. The following increases are effective January 1, 2017 or as contracts allow:

- Europe: EUR150 per tonne or USD160 per tonne in dollar-based markets;
- Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and Middle East: USD160 per tonne;
- North America: USD0.07 per pound.

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals with 2015 revenues of over USD10 billion. Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals. The company's operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. The company operates more than 100 manufacturing and R&D facilities in approximately 30 countries and employ approximately 15,000 associates within its 5 distinct business divisions.

Braskem commissions new polyethylene plant in La Porte

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem has commissioned a new UTEC ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene (UHMWPE) production plant at its La Porte, Texas site. The new UTEC plant is scheduled for startup by the end of 2016 and reflects another milestone investment in Braskem's North American growth strategy, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The US UTEC plant will further Braskem's position in the UHMWPE market worldwide and complements the company's existing UTEC product line in Brazil. Braskem sells high performance UHMWPE under the trade name UTEC, developed and produced through Braskem's proprietary technologies.

"Our new UTEC UHMWPE plant in Texas is another step in bringing Braskem closer to our clients with advanced engineered polymers as well as creating additional high-quality engineering and production jobs in La Porte. The UTEC plant start-up scheduled for later this year will increase Braskem's UHMWPE capacity and market share as well as enable us to better serve our existing clients globally. The new plant combined with Braskem's dedicated US Innovation and Technology Center will make Braskem an even more reliable partner for its clients and play a key role in developing new applications for additional market segments," said Christopher Gee, Braskem Global Business Director for UTEC.

Earlier this year, Braskem enhanced its research and development capabilities for UTEC at the company's Innovation and Technology Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These new capabilities enable Braskem to expand its technical leadership in UHMWPE by providing instrumentation for testing, application development, and new product research.

In commissioning the new UTEC plant, Braskem is now completing the necessary steps to ensure a safe and successful startup. During this phase, the company is concluding functional tests and process control tests to verify performance of controls and integrated safety systems.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, Braskem SA will soon decide whether to build a plant in Texas or Pennsylvania to convert low-cost natural gas into polypropylene. The factory would produce at least 1 billion pounds (450,000 metric tons) of resin a year and would be the U.S. polypropylene industry’s first world-scale project in about 12 years, said Mark Nikolich, a vice president at Braskem in 2015. Preliminary engineering is under way for construction at existing Braskem sites in either La Porte, Texas, or Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Chemours expects Opteon line to cut 325 million t CO2 equivalent by 2025

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Chemours Company,a global chemistry company with leading market positions in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, has announced that it has increased the expected greenhouse gas reduction provided by its Opteon portfolio by over 8%, reported GV.

The company now expects that its line of low GWP refrigerants and blowing agents will eliminate an estimated 325 million t CO2 equivalent by 2025 on a global basis.

The Opteon line is based on hydrofluoro-olefin technologies, such as HFO-1234yf and HFO-1336MzzZ, and was developed to help meet the increasing global phase out of hydrofluorocarbons. Chemours has commercialised Opteon products for use in automotive air conditioning, stationary and transport refrigeration and chillers. The company says it also has a development pipeline of additional Opteon solutions for stationary air conditioning, foam blowing agents, and waste heat recovery.

The announcement comes in support of a call from global leaders of over 100 countries to amend the Montreal Protocol in order to accelerate the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

"Chemours fully supports the continued effort to reduce the use and emissions of high GWP HFCs," said Paul Kirsch, president of Chemours Fluoroproducts. "We believe that our portfolio of Opteon low GWP solutions provides the industry with a clear path forward when it comes to transitioning to more sustainable alternatives, without reducing performance."

Chemours recently announced two major investments in the large scale manufacturing of Opteon products. In May 2016, the company announced that it will invest hundreds of millions USD over the next three years to construct a new HFO-1234yf plant in Corpus Christi, TX, USA, with expected start-up in the second half of 2018. In November 2015, the company also officially broke ground on the world’s first full-scale production facility for HFO-1336mzzZ, with expected production beginning mid-year 2017.

As MRC wrote before, in May 2016, Chemours announced that it has begun the commercial startup of its new titanium dioxide (TiO2) line at its Altamira plant in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Chemours reached mechanical completion of the line in December 2015. Thus, the company began to run the new line using the Chemours chloride process, producing Ti-Pure TiO2 pigment for customer qualification. Production on the new line is expected to ramp up steadily with full nameplate capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes per year being achieved over a few years. As this happens, Chemours will balance utilization across its other facilities to align with our customers' needs.

Praxair starts new plant and extends pipeline system in Port of Antwerp

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Praxair has started up its second air separation plant and is extending its pipeline system in the Port of Antwerp, one of the largest petrochemical production complexes in the world, said the producer on its site.

The new 1,300-ton-per-day plant increases Praxair’s oxygen and nitrogen capacity in the Port and will support customers with long-term contracts. The new facility also produces liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon that will meet customer demand in the pharmaceutical, chemical, glass, metal fabrication, manufacturing and food & beverage industries in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Praxair has also started construction of additional oxygen and nitrogen pipeline extensions on the east and west banks of the Port, which are expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

"We continue to grow our industrial gas capacity and pipeline network in Belgium and the Netherlands to better serve customers in the region," said Frank Wegmann, managing director of Praxair Germany and Benelux. "The Port of Antwerp is the largest chemical and petrochemical complex in Europe and continues to make additional investments in its infrastructure to expand capacity. Praxair is well-positioned to grow with the Port given the investments we have made."

As MRC informed before, in early 2016, Praxair has started up an air separation facility in Zoucheng City, China with Yankuang Guohong Chemical Co. Through a long-term contract, Praxair’s 3,000 ton/day plant will provide oxygen and nitrogen to Yankuang, replacing the existing customer-owned air separation units.

Besides, in 2015, Praxair signed a 20-year agreement to supply approximately 170 MMscfd of hydrogen and 2,000 tpd of nitrogen to a new 750,000-tpy ammonia complex being built by a new entity formed by Yara and BASF. To help fulfill the raw material requirements of this world-scale ammonia project located in Freeport, Texas, Praxair is investing more than USD400 million to add hydrogen and nitrogen production capacity and extending its Gulf Coast pipeline systems approximately 46 miles from Texas City to the Freeport area. The pipeline extensions are scheduled to be in operation in 2016 and the supply to the complex is expected to start in late 2017.

Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 250 company with 2014 sales of USD12.3 billion, is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others.

Celanese to acquire SO.F.TER Group

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italian compounder SO.F.TER. Group has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Celanese Corporation. Celanese will acquire the complete product portfolio of thermoplastic elastomers and engineering thermoplastics as well as all customer agreements and all manufacturing, technology and commercial facilities, reported GV.

The Italian group is one of the largest independent compounders worldwide and the acquisition will nearly double the number of Celanese’s global engineered materials product platforms. The companies have not disclosed financial details. Celanese expects to complete the acquisition in Q4/2016, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Until closing, Celanese and SO.F.TER. Group will continue to operate as independent businesses.

SO.F.TER. Group began operations in 1980 in Italy by manufacturing polymeric compounds for the shoemaking industry. Today, SO.F.TER. Group has approximately 550 employees in Italy, Mexico, Brazil and the United States and has 55 production lines across four manufacturing facilities in Europe and four manufacturing facilities in the Americas.

"This is the next step in the evolution of Celanese to further extend our global leadership position in the engineered materials market," said Scott Sutton, Celanese executive vice president and president of Materials Solutions. "SO.F.TER. Group is a leader in the design, development and production of ETPs and TPEs with a fast and flexible customer-oriented business model that will integrate well within the Materials Solutions core of Celanese. This acquisition continues Celanese’s focus on bringing technical expertise, production and compounding capabilities closer to our valued customers by extending our footprint with industry leading products and capabilities in Italy, Mexico, Brazil and the United States."

Celanese expects to integrate SO.F.TER. Group’s full product portfolio and production capabilities into the Celanese engineered materials business.

As MRC informed before, continuing the company's strategy to add production facilities close to growing demand, in late September 2016, Celanese Corporation began production in its newest vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) production unit. The unit is located at the Celanese manufacturing facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, and will support the growing demand for ecologically friendly materials in the Southeast Asia region including Australia, India and New Zealand.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Texas, Celanese employs approximately 7,500 employees worldwide had 2015 net sales of USD5.7 billion.