Mitsubishi companies advance plans for sustainable MMA production

Mitsubishi companies advance plans for sustainable MMA production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) and its subsidiary, Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates (MCM announced plans to design and build a pilot plant to further validate the technology, said the company.

Three possible pathways to creating sustainable MMA, including the molecular recycling of acrylic resin; substituting conventional materials with drop-in plant-derived raw materials in the existing MMA monomer manufacturing process; and the direct production of MMA monomers from plant-derived raw materials by fermentation were explored. The promising results using the drop-in route have now led to the decision to commence with the design process for a new pilot plant using this technology.

According to MCC and MCM, applying plant-derived raw materials to the existing process will enable the production of MMA based on 100% bio-derived carbon. The companies said that the pilot plant is scheduled to go into operation in fiscal year 2023. After demonstrating the viability of the new technology, this will then be implemented at existing commercial-scale plants in 2026.

The companies are also working on the development of new catalysts and processes to improve the productivity and efficiency of its existing MMA monomer manufacturing technologies and to shrink the environmental impact of these processes by reducing energy consumption and emissions during manufacturing.

MMA is a raw material for acrylic resin used in automobile lamp covers, signboards, aquarium tanks, paints, building materials and many other items. Global demand for MMA already exceeds 3.6 million tons and is expected to continue to grow at the same level as GDP in every country.

As the top MMA manufacturer in the world and a leading player in the global MMA and acrylic resin industry, the companies will actively pursue the ‘potential of this business, work with stakeholders around the world to reduce the environmental burden of the entire supply chain and seek to actively lead the efforts to realise a circular economy’, the companies declared in a statement announcing the plans.

Mitsubishi plans to restart methyl methacrylate (MMA) production in Billingham, UK at the start of the second quarter after a scheduled overhaul. The production capacity in Billingham is 200,000 tonnes of MMA per year. The company closed this production for repairs on 28 January. Previously, it was expected that the repair would last 10-12 weeks.

Earlier it was reported that Mitsubishi Chemical plans to close production of methyl methacrylate (MMA) on line No. 2 in Otake (Japan) in April for scheduled repairs. This line with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year will be closed for maintenance until June this year to replace computers at the enterprise. The company also operates line No. 1 with a capacity of 110,000 tonnes of MMA.

The Japanese integrated chemical company Mitsubishi Chemical was established on October 1, 1990 as a result of the merger of Mitsubishi Kasei and Mitsubishi Petrochemical Co. Due to the wide scope of its activities, it is one of the ten leading chemical companies in the world.

Clariant re-designs set-up to accelerate sustainability-driven innovation

Clariant re-designs set-up to accelerate sustainability-driven innovation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a focused, sustainable, and innovative specialty chemical company, has announced that it is introducing a new global operating model for its Innovation & Sustainability unit, as per the company's press release.

The reorganization aims to accelerate sustainability-driven innovation, which is a key component of Clariant’s purpose-led strategy ‘Greater chemistry - between people and planet’. It is through such innovations that the company will enable profitable growth.

“With this new organizational structure, we will better connect key aspects of our new purpose-led growth strategy, namely Customer Focus, Innovative Chemistry, Leading in Sustainability, and People. While culture is core to bringing the purpose to life, the organization needs to be designed in such a way that it best leverages the existing innovative power that our customers value so highly”, said Chief Executive Officer Conrad Keijzer.

The new organization was designed to optimally combine sustainability know-how with innovation power. Thus, it will be able to deliver sustainability innovations with an outstanding technical profile that create a meaningful impact for Clariant’s customers - and beyond - by helping them to undergo their own sustainability transformation.

Innovation & Sustainability will focus on three core agendas: climate-neutral and sustainable operations, sustainability-driven portfolio change, and sustainability-based engagement.

The current Head of Sustainability Transformation, Richard F. Haldimann has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer and will report directly to our Chief Executive Officer Conrad Keijzer.

As MRC informed previously, Clariant has recently announced that its StyroMax UL3 catalyst is demonstrating successful results at Risun’s new styrene monomer (MS) plant located in Tangshan, China. After a smooth and stable catalyst start-up in October 2020, the plant is reporting very profitable operation with excellent production output. The project is a cooperation between Clariant Catalysts and engineering company Changzhou Ruihua Chemical Engineering Technology Co. Ltd. Through Ruihua’s technology and Clariant’s catalyst, the Risun plant has been able to achieve productivity rates exceeding 120% of the new plant’s nominal design capacity - which is also the highest among all Ruihua process plants in China.

We remind that in October 2020, Clariant announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art catalyst production site in China. This project represents a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. Thanks to its excellent reliability and productivity, Catofin delivers superior annual production output compared to alternative technologies, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers, says the company. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

LBI invests in Infinity Recycling venture fund to help eliminate plastic waste and advance circular economy

LBI invests in Infinity Recycling venture fund to help eliminate plastic waste and advance circular economy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell announced its investment in a circular plastics fund led by global venture fund Infinity Recycling, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This investment expands the company’s venture capital activities to help eliminate plastic waste in the environment and advance the circular economy.

“By investing catalytic capital in funds such as Infinity Recycling’s venture fund, we promote the collaboration required to propel a circular economy for plastics forward,” said Yvonne Van Der Laan, Director of olefins and optimization at LyondellBasell. “We aim to help catalyze an additional five dollars from co-investors for every dollar we invest in venture funds focused on the recovery and recycling of plastic waste.”

With LyondellBasell’s investment, the fund will support early-stage companies deploying and developing advanced recycling technologies with a focus on bringing these technologies to scale in Europe.

In 2021, LyondellBasell was also a founding investor in Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, which is focused on accelerating infrastructure development and advanced technologies needed to increase the recovery of plastic waste in North America.

These investments align with LyondellBasell’s systemic approach to help end plastic waste in the environment and promote a circular, low-carbon economy. The company is focusing on mechanical recycling, advanced (molecular) recycling and the use of renewable-based feedstocks in its conventional production processes and aims to produce and market 2 MM metric t of recycled and renewable-based polymers annually by 2030.

As MRC wrote earlier, in July, 2021, Neste and LyondellBasell announced a long-term commercial agreement under which LyondellBasell will source Neste RE, a feedstock from Neste that has been produced from 100% renewable feedstock from bio-based sources, such as waste and residue oils and fats. This feedstock will be processed through the cracker at LyondellBasell’s Wesseling, Germany, plant into polymers and sold under the CirculenRenew brand name.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.

Stepan Q4 net income decreased by 44%

Stepan Q4 net income decreased by 44%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stepan’s Q4 net income fell 44% year on year to USD17m amid global supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures, said the company.

Furthermore, the prior-year Q4 benefited from a one-off USD13m insurance recovery related to a plant outage at Millsdale, Illinois in 2020. Operating income fell to USD32.4m, from USD43.3m in Q4 2020, primarily due to supply chain disruptions and lower sales volume.

Global Surfactant sales volume decreased 9% on lower demand for cleaning products in the consumer products business, partially offset by higher demand for products sold into the institutional cleaning and functional product end markets.

Operating income fell to USD12.9m, from USD22.8m, primarily due to supply chain disruptions and the non-recurrence of two events that benefited Q4 2020: the Millsdale insurance recovery, and a partial settlement received from the Chinese government as compensation for a government-mandated shutdown of Stepan’s China JV in 2012.

Operating income fell to USD2.1m, from USD5.2m, primarily attributable to order timing differences within Stepan’s food and flavour business and lower volume within the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) product line. "Looking forward, we believe that demand for our products will remain strong but that the company will continue to be challenged by the same external factors that impacted us during 2021," said CEO Quinn Stepan.

Surfactant volumes within the institutional cleaning, agricultural and oilfield markets are expected to grow, and “we also remain cautiously optimistic” that consumer consumption of cleaning, disinfection and personal wash products will improve slightly in 2022, after significant de-stocking in 2021, the CEO said.

The Polymer business is expected to grow as well in 2022 as long-term prospects for rigid polyols remain attractive because of energy conservation efforts and more stringent building codes, he said. In the Specialty Product business, results should improve slightly year on year, the CEO added.

As per MRC, Stepan plans to invest USD220m to build a new alkoxylation plant at its site in Pasadena, Texas. The new plant will provide “a flexible capacity” of 75,000 tonnes/year, capable of both ethoxylation and propoxylation, and better position the company to serve growing global demand in its surfactant and polymer businesses, it said.

As MRC informed before, Stepan conducted planned maintenance at its 90,000 tonnes/year phthalic anhydride (PA) plant Millsdale, Illinois, US, from early October to end-October, 2020.

Phthalic anhydride is widely used in for the production of paints and varnishes and plasticizers for PVC products. In a small amount it is used in the manufacture of rubber products, tires. In addition, it is used in the light, pharmaceutical and electrical industries.

Indorama Ventures purchases 85% stake in Czech recycler

Indorama Ventures purchases 85% stake in Czech recycler

MOSCOW (MRC) -- UCY Ventures Group has completed the sale of its majority stake in UCY Polymers, a Czech-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant to Indorama Ventures (IVL), a global sustainable chemicals producer, said Sustainableplastics.

UCY Ventures Group will retain a minority stake in the Czech entity. UCY Polymers is able to produce 40,000 tonnes of recycled PET (R-PET) flake per year. IVL plans to develop UCY to serve the growing demand for R-PET across Europe.

IVL’s existing R-PET flake production units in the region will provide the washed and shredded post-consumer bottles (PCB) which will be turned into resin suitable for food contact use. IVL will increase its R-PET recycling capacity to reach 750,000 tonnes/year by 2025.

UCY will work with IVL’s existing PET flake production facilities in the region. These provide the washed and shredded post-consumer bottles as PET flake feedstock to produce recycled PET resin that is suitable for food contact use. PET is fully recyclable and the most collected and recycled plastic packaging in Europe.

As MRC informed earlier, Indorama Ventures Sines, a subsidiary of the world leader in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - Indorama Ventures Company Ltd (IVL), plans to halt production at the refined terephthalic acid (TPA) plant in Sines (Sines, Portugal) in mid-November to conduct planned preventive measures. Repair work at this enterprise with a capacity of 700,000 tonnes/year of TPA per year will continue for one month. Thus, this plant should return to work in mid-December this year.

As per MRC, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, a global petrochemical producer, has started developing a new technology center under its Integrated Oxides & Derivatives (IOD) business at The Woodlands, Texas. The new facility will be the company’s U.S. research and development hub for new products used in the home, personal and industrial cleaning, agrochemicals, energy, lubricants, mining, and coatings markets.

Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, listed in Thailand (Bloomberg ticker IVL.TB), is one of the world’s leading petrochemicals producers, with a global manufacturing footprint across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas. The company’s portfolio comprises Integrated PET, Olefins, Fibers, Packaging and Specialty Chemicals. Indorama Ventures products serve major FMCG and automotive sectors, i.e. beverages, hygiene, personal care, tire and safety segments. Indorama Ventures has approx. 24,000 employees worldwide and consolidated revenue of US$ 11.4 billion in 2019. The Company is listed in the Dow Jones Emerging Markets and World Sustainability Indices (DJSI).