Grace licenses Unipol technology to Grupa Azoty in Poland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W R Grace & Co (GRA) said that it has contracted to license its Unipol PP process technology to PDH Polska SA for a new facility in Police, Poland. With a capacity of 400 kilotons per year, the polypropylene (PP) line is expected to begin operations in 2022, said Worldofchemicals.

The PDH Polska operation is a subsidiary of Grupa Azoty SA of Tarnow, Poland, a leader in the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers and compounds, engineering plastics, organic and inorganic chemicals, and other chemical products.

Grace's gas-phase Unipol PP process technology provides the most advanced and broadest range of PP homopolymers and copolymers in the industry. As the simplest of all PP process technologies, with fewer moving parts and less equipment than any alternative, its reliable, stable, and predictable operation leads to lower capital, operating, and maintenance costs.

“As we expand our capabilities into PP production, we do so with a technology that has demonstrated success in making both leading commodity and superior speciality grades. This is in line with our track record of meeting the expectations of our customers,” said Andrzej Niewinski, president of the board, PDH Polska SA.

“Grace is proud to partner with Grupa Azoty and continue our record of service to customers in Europe. The broad product capability and unparalleled flexibility of the Unipol PP process will enable them to deliver the resins that are in highest demand from their customers,” added Al Beninati, president of Grace’s speciality catalysts business segment.

Dow launches fully recyclable polyethylene packaging solution in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Packaging and Speciality Plastics, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), has developed an innovative formulation of polyethylene (PE) resins to create a new sustainable all PE laminate solution with flexible packaging applications, said Worldofchemicals.

Current flexible packaging solutions contain multiple layers of different polymers and additives that are incompatible during the recycling process, requiring complex processes break down. Dow’s revolutionary mono-material all PE laminate packaging solution brings to the table a solution that does not compromise on - aesthetics, brand perception and performance while the postconsumer packaging will remain 100 percent recyclable at the end of its lifecycle.

In India, brand owners and consumers have become increasingly dependent on flexible plastic packaging for its superior qualities such as convenience, being lightweight, affordability and barrier properties. However, Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 – guidelines issued by the Ministry of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India – called for large-scale implementation of proper plastic disposal practices and phasing out non-recyclable, multi-polymer packaging. Dow’s all PE laminate solution enters the market at an opportune time as brand owners look for environmentally friendly alternatives.

“Dow encourages the responsible production, disposal and recycling of plastic and our all new all PE laminate solution looks at addressing the - flexible plastic waste management in India by allowing for full recyclability,” said Bambang Candra, Asia Pacific commercial vice president for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

“We are excited by the new product and will be working closely with local brand owners to implement our new solution to help them meet regulations around the reduction of usage of multi-polymer plastics to save the environment,” added Candra.

India sees scope for more integration among state energy companies

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India could see more integration among state oil companies, its oil minister said on Monday, following top producer ONGC's USD5.8 billion deal last week to buy a majority stake in refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd., reported Reuters.

India wants to build bigger oil companies to better compete with global energy giants and withstand oil price volatility through integration of state-run oil firms.

"There is scope for more vertical integration in the sector," oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan told a news conference.

He was speaking after Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) announced on Saturday that it was buying the government's 51.1 percent stake in HPCL to create India's first integrated oil and gas company.

Analysts have said that an integrated oil company would give Indian state-owned firms a bigger balance sheet to compete globally for assets. Last year state-run refiners Indian Oil Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd separately expressed interest in buying the government's stakes in explorer Oil India Ltd and gas utility GAIL India Ltd. ONGC's purchase of a majority stake in HPCL is expected to close by the end of this month and Pradhan said there was a possibility to combine HPCL with ONGC's petrochemical projects and its refining arm Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd .

MRPL operates a 300,000 bpd refinery in the southern state of Karnataka. After the deal, ONGC will control around 17 percent of India's 5 million bpd or so refining capacity.

HPCL Chairman M. K. Surana said on Monday that there could be a merger between his firm and MRPL to achieve synergy benefits in the refining and petrochemicals sectors, although he noted no discussions had yet taken place.

New copper-based catalyst can help turn carbon dioxide into ethylene

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Scientists have created a catalyst that can efficiently convert carbon dioxide to ethylene, which is used to produce the most common type of plastic, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

At the heart of this work is the carbon dioxide reduction reaction, wherein CO2 is converted into other chemicals through the use of an electrical current and a chemical reaction, aided by a catalyst.

Many metals can serve as catalysts in this type of reaction: gold, silver and zinc can make carbon monoxide, while tin and palladium can make formate. Only copper can produce ethylene, the core component of polyethylene (PE) plastic.

"Copper is a bit of a magic metal. It's magic because it can make many different chemicals, like methane, ethylene, and ethanol, but controlling what it makes is difficult," said Phil De Luna, PhD student at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Researchers were able to design a catalyst and pinpoint the ideal conditions to maximize ethylene production while minimizing the methane output to nearly nothing. Paired with carbon capture technology, this could lead to an incredibly green production mechanism for everyday plastics, meanwhile sequestering harmful greenhouse gases.

"I think the future will be filled with technologies that make value out of waste. It's exciting because we are working towards developing new and sustainable ways to meet the energy demands of the future," said De Luna.

By identifying the precise conditions that maximize ethylene production during the reaction, it is possible to engineer a catalyst to meet those conditions.

ARLANXEO to expand production capacities for chloroprene rubber

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ARLANXEO, one of the world’s leading suppliers of synthetic elastomers, is expanding its global chloroprene rubber (CR) production at the site in Dormagen, Germany, as per the company's press release.

The production capacity there will be increased to as much as 70,000 tons per year overall that will be available to the market already during the first quarter of 2019. ARLANXEO is investing an upper single-digit million in the expansion project overall.

"The strong global demand for our chloroprene rubbers will continue in the coming years," said Stefan Rittmann, head of the ARLANXEO business line that produces CR and Managing Director of ARLANXEO Deutschland GmbH. Demand for chloroprene rubbers is growing by about four percent per year, particularly in Asia and especially in Greater China. Products with special properties are in particularly strong demand worldwide. "At the same time, this expansion represents a clear commitment to our biggest German site, Dormagen, from which we serve the global demand," explained Rittmann.

The capacity expansion will be undertaken from Q2 2018. Within the expansion a production line will be renewed and equipped with new reactors, having a higher capacity. This ensures ARLANXEO to optimize its existing processes and make its production processes more flexible.

ARLANXEO produces and markets its chloroprene rubbers under the Baypren and Baypren ALX brands. They are used, for example, in the production of cable sheathing, belts, conveyor belts and wetsuits, as well as in adhesive applications, and feature high weather, UV and oil resistance. Chloroprene rubbers are products of ARLANXEO’s High Performance Elastomers business unit.

As MRC reported earlier, in September 2017, ARLANXEO presented its product portfolio for adhesive applications and innovative solutions for the industry at last year’s FEICA, the most important European trade fair and conference for the adhesives industry.

ARLANXEO was established in April 2016 as a joint venture of Lanxess - a world-leading specialty chemicals company based in Cologne, Germany - and Saudi Aramco - a major global energy and chemicals enterprise headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The two partners each hold a 50-percent interest in the joint venture. The business operations of ARLANXEO are assigned to the High Performance Elastomers and Tire & Specialty Rubbers business units. As MRC wrote before, in September 2015, Lanxess was in talks to put its main synthetic rubber business into a joint venture with petrochemicals group Ineos. Lanxess also held talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and Russia's NKNK and Sibur.