EPA releases federal marine litter strategy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday released a federal strategy for addressing marine litter that includes broad efforts to incentivize recycling and build infrastructure both domestically and overseas, reported Chemweek.

“Internationally, up to 28 billion pounds of waste makes it into our oceans every year, harming marine life and coastal economies,” says EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Marine litter is a top priority for this Administration, and working together with our global partners, we aim to solve the current growing marine litter problem in our shared oceans.”

According to EPA, five countries in Asia - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam - account for over half of the plastic waste input into the ocean. The majority of marine litter comes from land-based sources, such as littering and the mismanagement of waste, and the most effective way to combat marine litter is to prevent and reduce land-based sources of waste from entering the oceans in the first place.

The federal strategy highlights four pillars for addressing marine litter: building capacity, incentivizing the global recycling market, promoting research and development, and promoting marine litter removal. It also identifies existing US legal authorities and federal programs already under way, such as a collaboration between EPA, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement innovative programs and finance initiatives around the world to provide approaches and tools to countries that are struggling with this problem. Domestically, through EPA’s Trash Free Waters program, EPA works directly with states, municipalities, and businesses to reduce litter, prevent trash from entering waterways, and capture trash that is already in our waters. Currently, over 50 partnership projects are active across the US.

To date, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program has provided over $24 million in funding to local partners for prevention, removal, and research initiatives to address marine debris. Thus far, the program has resulted in the removal of over 22,000 metric tons of marine debris from US waters, engagement with more than 65,000 students on marine debris prevention activities, and development of 12 marine debris response guides and 11 regional action plans.

In addition, President Trump’s 2021 and 2022 budget proposals include over USD7 million in funding for EPA to address marine litter domestically and internationally. The funding would allow EPA to expand the international Trash Free Waters program to large source countries, which are located in Southeast Asia. The funding would also allow the expansion of the domestic Trash Free Waters program, allowing for even more domestic place-based projects.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) welcomed the federal strategy, saying better global coordination is critical to strengthening the response to plastic waste and creating a circular economy for plastics. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s newly introduced strategy will implement the Save Our Seas Act, bringing to bear the expertise of NOAA, EPA, USAID, DOE, and other federal agencies to help keep used plastics out of our ocean,” says Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division, in a statement. “We actively support the bipartisan Save Our Seas (SOS) Act (versions 1.0 and 2.0), as well as the RECOVER Act, the RECYCLE Act, and the PLASTICS Act, which seeks to reduce ocean plastics by encouraging innovative, market-based solutions and catalyzing private capital to enable the development of integrated waste management systems and strengthen markets for recycling materials.”

As MRC informed earlier, Braskem has formed first partnership for removing household plastic waste from landfill in Greater Sao Paulo. The partnership forged between Braskem and Tecipar, the Brazilian company specializing in environmental engineering, will avoid some 2,000 tons of plastic waste annually from being discarded in the landfill of Santana do Parnaiba, a city in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo. This volume is equivalent to 36 million units of plastic packaging made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The partnership reinforces Braskem's commitment to the Circular Economy and is aligned with the business strategy of the company, which is engaged in supporting the development of the recycling chain and its market.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

Axalta easily beats estimates on cost cuts despite lower YOY demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Axalta reported third-quarter net income up 26.0% year-on-year (YOY), to USD82.5 million, on net sales down 7.2%, to USD1.03 billion, said Chemweek.

Adjusted earnings totaled 59 cents/share, up 13.5% YOY and easily beating analysts’ consensus estimate of 33 cents/share, as reported by Refinitiv (New York, New York). The decline in sales was driven by a 6.0% YOY drop in volumes, and 1.4% lower average price and product mix.

Sales grew 57.2% sequentially, indicating a solid rebound from the pandemic-induced shutdowns in the second quarter. “Lower volumes across all end-markets were driven by ongoing COVID-19 related macroeconomic impacts, though volumes improved considerably through the quarter and exceeded earlier expectations due to faster recovery pacing in key end-markets,” Axalta says.

"Although economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic persisted across our business in the period, we [saw] rapidly improving demand, and the effectiveness of our cost management programs has continued to help offset volume impacts,” says Axalta chairman and CEO Robert Bryant. Cost cuts helped boost operating earnings, Bryant adds.

Performance coatings segment sales fell 5.7% YOY, to USD682.7 million, while segment adjusted EBIT grew 7.2%, to USD133.9 million. Volumes fell 4.5% YOY, mainly due to the automotive refinish business, with industrial volumes flat. Lower operating and variable drove profits higher.

Transportation coatings segment sales declined 10.2% YOY, to USD344.2 million, while segment adjusted EBIT was up 30.4%, to USD48.5 million. Volumes fell 9.0% YOY, mainly due to lower automotive production volumes. Lower operating and variable costs helped increase profits.

Axalta expects fourth-quarter 2020 sales to be down 6-8% YOY from 2019. For the full-year, sales are expected to be down by about 18% YOY.

As MRC informed earlier, Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2019. Net sales of USD1,098.4 million for the fourth quarter decreased 5.8 percent, including 1.3 percent negative foreign currency translation impact and a two percent impact from the sale of a consolidated Joint Venture interest in Q2 2019.

As MRC informed earlier, Axalta Coating Systems has completed its previously announced acquisition of the Spencer Coatings Group, a leading manufacturer of high performance industrial coatings for heavy-duty equipment, general industrial, oil and gas, and glass coatings segments.

As per MRC, Russia's output of chemical products rose in August 2020 by 5% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 5.3% in the first eight months of 2020. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-July output. August production of benzene fell to 102,000 tonnes from 95,300 tonnes a month earlier due to scheduled shutdowns for maintenance at several producers. Overall output of this product reached 918,300 tonnes over the stated period, down by 0.9% year on year.

Wacker inaugurates global competence center for thermal interface materials in Shanghai

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Munich-based chemical group Wacker has recently opened a global competence center for thermal interface materials in Shanghai, China, as per the company's press release.

The new laboratory is located at the company’s China headquarters in Caohejing High-Tech Park. It will conduct fundamental research in order to develop novel silicone-based thermal interface products and solutions for the electrical vehicle market as well as for consumer electronics and telecommunication industries.

Wacker’s new competence center in Shanghai will conduct fundamental research and develop novel silicone-based thermal interface materials for the fast growing electrical vehicle market, for consumer electronics and for the telecommunication industries.

Over the past decade, thermal interface materials (TIM) have been one of the fastest growing segments of the materials market globally, with an average compound annual growth rate of more than six percent. Widely used in personal computers, consumer electronics, automotive and telecommunication industries, the demand for silicone-based TIMs is expected to grow continuously, as power density is rising exponentially and thermal management systems become increasingly important.

Electronic devices and batteries generate a great deal of heat that impacts their functionality and service life and can lead to serious faults. Efficient thermal management is therefore increasingly essential. “For improved thermal management of components, the industry is increasingly turning to heat-dissipation materials”, says Christian Gimber, head of Engineering Silicones at Wacker’s silicone division. “Our thermally conductive silicones can be processed very efficiently, and they also meet the stringent and rising safety and reliability requirements imposed by the electronics and automotive industries.”

The company’s new R&D lab in Shanghai will focus on the development of silicone-based thermal interface materials and novel applications, Gimber emphasizes. “With the new lab installed, Wacker will be able to significantly improve its capability of fundamental research for such materials and come up with tailor-made products to support our customers around the world.”

Located at WACKER’s Shanghai Center in Caohejing High-Tech Park, the TIM competence center shares existing resources such as analytics and the e-mobility lab of the site. Experts will conduct fundamental research aimed at overcoming technical hurdles with regard to performance, processability and cost-effectiveness and leverage Wacker’s proprietary technology to work on new material designs. The facility will develop customized products and solutions with locally available raw materials for the Chinese market, but also support other labs in the company’s worldwide network, such as labs in Germany and Korea, when creating new formulations.

The Chinese industry uses thermal interface materials in a wide array of products. “In fact, China’s range of TIM applications is quite remarkable and one of the most comprehensive in the world”, says Paul Lindblad, President of Wacker Greater China. The new R&D lab will leverage Wacker’s worldwide technological network and expertise to deliver market-driven innovations. “What’s more, operating a major TIM research facility here in China also means that our Chinese customers will be able to benefit from a faster response time”, Lindblad says.

Thanks to their unique properties, silicones are widely used for thermal management in the automotive, consumer electronics and telecommunication industries. Featuring excellent electrical insulation properties and a high degree of resistance against hot and cold temperatures, chemicals and UV radiation, silicone-based thermal interface materials are available as gap fillers, potting glues, adhesives, greases and foams for smartphones, telecommunication base stations, battery packs and power control unit modules for electric vehicles.

As MRC reported earlier, Wacker Chemie operates a 90 ktpa EVA compounding plant at the Ulsan site, consisting of two lines. The second line with a capacity of 40 thousand tons of products per year was launched in 2013.

According to MRC's DataScope, September EVA imports to Russia fell by 30,32% year on year to 2,38 tonnes from 3,420 tonnes a year earlier, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation dropped in January-September 2020 by 9,85% year on year to 26,340 tonnes (29,220 tonnes a year earlier).

Wacker Chemie manufactures and markets EVA dispersions under the VINNAPAS brand name. VINNAPAS polymer dispersions are used in a wide range of industries: for the production of complex thermal insulation systems, building and tile adhesives, plaster, building mixtures and mortars, cement sealing slurries and nonwovens.

North America chemical rail volume continues to strengthen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemical railcar traffic in North America continued to strengthen during the week ended 17 October, according to Chemweek.

On a four-week basis, volume was down 0.4% from 2019 and down 2.5% from 2018, up from respective shortfalls of 1.2% and 3.3% the previous week and 2.8% and 5.9% the week before that (chart). For the year to date, chemical railcar traffic in North America is down 4.2% from 2019 and 5.5% from 2018.

Volume for the week totaled 43,147 carloads, down 0.5% year-over-year (YOY) and down 1.1% from the previous week, according to data released on 21 October by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Chemical railcar traffic in the US contributed 29,718 carloads to the total, down 6.3% YOY and down 4.2% from the previous week. For the year to date, US chemical railcar traffic is down 5.0%.

Canadian chemical rail traffic totaled 12,426 carloads, up 16.6% YOY and up 6.9% from the previous week. For the year to date, Canadian chemical railcar traffic is down 1.9%.

Chemical railcar traffic in Mexico totaled 1,003 carloads, a YOY increase of 1.7% and a sequential increase of 2.6%. For the year to date, Mexican chemical railcar traffic is down 5.6%.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's August output of chemical products rose by 5% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased in the first eight months of 2020 by 5.3% year on year, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-August output. Thus, August production of primary polymers rose to 888,000 tonnes from 838,000 tonnes in July due to increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim, Stavrolen and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 6,630,000 tonnes in January-August 2020, up by 15.2% year on year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

Deepak Nitrite incorporates wholly owned subsidiary, DCTL

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Deepak Nitrite Ltd has incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary company named Deepak Clean Tech Limited (DCTL) with effect from 9th October, 2020, according to Kemicalinfo.

“Deepak Nitrite Limited has subscribed to the Memorandum & Articles of Association to the extent of 100% of Share Capital of Deepak Clean Tech Limited, which has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 on October 9, 2020. By virtue of the same subscription, Deepak Clean Tech Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of Deepak Nitrite Limited on October 9, 2020,” the company stated in its stock exchange fillings.

“DCTL shall carry out business in the field of manufacture of chemical intermediate products,” the company said.

Deepak Nitrite is known as a major manufacturer of chemical intermediates in India. It has a diversified portfolio of intermediates that cater to the dyes and pigments, agrochemical, pharmaceutical, plastics, textiles, paper and home and personal care segments in India and overseas.

The company’s products are manufactured across five locations. Company’s consolidated turnover for FY20 grew by 57% whereby revenues stood at Rs. 4,265 crore as against Rs. 2715 crore in FY19.

As MRC reported earlier, in April,2020, Deepak Nitrite’s fully-owned subsidiary Deepak Phenolics began production of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) at its plant in Dahej, Gujarat, India. The company confirmed in its official disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange that the company commissioned a 30,000 metric ton per annum plant at Dahej to make Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) from Acetone, thus significantly reducing the country’s dependence on imports.
IPA is an important input in the production of essential pharmaceuticals and manufacturing of sanitizers.

We remind that the company started up its new phenol/acetone plant, located at Dahej in the state of Gujarat, on 16 August 2018. The plant, which is operated under Deepak Nitrite’s wholly-owned subsidiary Deepak Phenolics Limited, is able to produce 200,000 tonnes/year of phenol and 120,000 tonnes/year of acetone. There is also the potential for a capacity expansion in the future. Deepak Phenolics’ plant is the largest phenol/acetone plant in India.

Besides, Deepak Phenolics shut its phenol/acetone plant in Dahej on 25 March, 2020, because of the nationwide lockdown because of the spread of coronavirus. It resumed operations in late April, 2020.

Phenol is one of the main feedstocks for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used for the production of polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, overall estimated consumption of PC granules in the Russian market reached 58,000 tonnes in January-July 2020, up by 22% year on year (47,500 tonnes).