Neste, Covestro and SK geo centric cooperate to create value chain for renewable attributed MDI in APAC

Neste, Covestro and SK geo centric cooperate to create value chain for renewable attributed MDI in APAC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Neste, Covestro and South Korean petrochemical company SK geo centric are cooperating to enable the production of a major polyurethane raw material based on renewable raw materials via mass balance, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The cooperation will see Neste provide SK geo centric with renewable Neste RE, an ISCC certified feedstock for polymers and chemicals made from 100% renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oil and fats. SK geo centric will process this feedstock into benzene at the company’s facilities in South Korea and supply it to Covestro to use as raw material for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at its site in Shanghai, China. MDI is a key raw material for the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam, which is a well-proven insulating material for buildings and used in the cold chain helping to save CO2 emissions and reduce energy consumption during its product life.

The cooperation marks the start of possible future collaborations between the three companies, aiming at replacing fossil feedstocks by more sustainable ones in the production of polymers and chemicals in the APAC region and beyond.

"With renewable solutions available, we are now entering the phase of scaling up their usage in the chemical industry," says Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste. "This will be crucial in replacing the vast amounts of fossil resources the industry is currently depending on. To make this ramp-up a success, we’ll need to establish collaborations along the value chain – and this one between three sustainability-minded partners is a prime example of how the industry can do just that."

Replacing the common crude oil based fossil feedstock with Neste RE provides a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thereby improving the carbon footprint of the polyurethane raw materials produced by Covestro and of downstream industries. Neste RE is produced with renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oils and fats.

"I am much pleased that through this collaboration we continue to ramp up the market for such sustainable alternative materials. This enables us to supply our customers in Asia-Pacific with more sustainable MDI based on mass-balanced raw materials," says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro. "Using such materials is attractive because it will also help them achieve their climate goals. Another core benefit of this line of products is that it is a technical drop-in solution that our customers can use immediately without a major changeover in their plants."

“We are delighted to ship and export our first renewable-Benzene produced with 100% renewable Neste RE feedstock,” Woohyuk-Choi, Vice President of SK geo centric’s Aromatic Business Unit says. “SK geo centric will actively work with Covestro and Neste as we mark the first collaboration of this kind in the Asia-Pacific region. We remain committed to expanding this cooperation."

Under the strategy of ‘Green for Better Life’, SK geo centric announced its ambitious target to become ‘Net-Zero’ before 2050. To fulfill its responsibility, the company will drive its business transformation by expanding its high-quality renewable products portfolio. SK geo centric will respond to increasing global demands in the market by leveraging the strong synergies between collaboration partners.

As per MRC, Neste and United Airlines announced that they have signed a new purchase agreement that provides United the right to buy up to 160,000 mtons (52.5 MM gallons) of Neste MY SAF over the next three years to fuel United flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and potentially other airports, as well. With this agreement, United became the first U.S. airline to make an international purchase agreement for SAF.

As MRC reported earlier, Neste has a target to process annually over 1 MM tons of waste plastic from 2030 onwards. The company plans to use liquefied plastic waste as a raw material at its fossil oil refinery to upgrade it into high-quality drop-in feedstock for the production of new plastics.

Invista plans to reconfigure its facility in South Carolina

Invista plans to reconfigure its facility in South Carolina

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Invista celebrated the completion of its technical lab expansion in Lugoff after six months of successful operation, said the company.

The company invested more than USD5 million in research and development at the site, a nylon fiber manufacturing facility. “We are very pleased with the investment that was made … and the confidence it demonstrates in our site and its employees,” said Site Manager Paul Liddle.

Invista says demand growth for nylon-6,6 resin is being driven by trends, such as e-mobility and the Internet of things, that require engineered plastics that can support electrification and increased complexity across a range of challenging operating conditions. “Over the past several years, market trends have shown an ongoing shift downward in our BCF [bulk continuous filament] products and a shift upward in polymer demand,” says a company spokesperson. “The transformation at the site is a reflection of that ongoing shift."

Invista has 130,000 mt/year of nylon-6,6 resin capacity in Camden and another 390,000 mt/year of capacity divided between sites in Canada, the Netherlands, and mainland China, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights. The total global capacity of all producers is 3.1 million mt/year.

As per MRC, Invista, a Koch company and affiliate of Flint Hills Resources, has recently acquired the Flint Hills Resources propylene business. This includes chemical facilities in Houston and Longview, Texas, as well as support employees. Ownership of the pipelines that supply these facilities also transferred to Invista, and they will continue to be operated by Flint Hills Resources under contract.

U.S. steps up heavy crude imports as Biden blasts profiteering

U.S. steps up heavy crude imports as Biden blasts profiteering

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. refiners last month imported the most heavy crude in nearly two years, customs data showed, as they cranked up motor fuel production and sought to replace sanctioned Russian oil, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Higher heavy-crude imports are common in summer-driving months, but this year's increase comes as the Biden administration is calling on for refiners to ramp up output and shave profit margins to ease soaring prices. The administration has asked for a parley to explore further efforts.

Heavy crudes are cheaper than lighter shale oils produced in the United States and typically make more diesel and less gasoline. Diesel stocks are draining, with U.S. inventories down 19% last month, and margins are soaring, boosting refiners' profits.

Refiners imported 33.5 MM barrels of heavy crude in May, the highest in nearly two years, customs data showed, with 56 vessels discharging nearly 1.1 MMbpd of Mexico's Maya, Ecuador's Napo and Oriente and Iraq's Basra heavy, among other grades.

"We have healthy demand, low products inventories, and strained refining capacity," said Refinitiv senior energy analyst Corey Stewart. "Refiners are looking to bring feedstocks into the U.S. to most economically meet what products the markets demand," he added.

As per MRC, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is expected to meet with refining executives on June 23 as tensions between the White House and the oil industry mount over soaring gasoline prices. The planned talks come as President Joe Biden, under pressure over high gasoline prices, has demanded that oil refining companies explain why they are not putting more fuel on the market as they reap windfall profits.

EU targets tenfold increase in production of hydrogen electrolyzers by 2025

EU targets tenfold increase in production of hydrogen electrolyzers by 2025

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Commission launched an initiative June 16 to increase the European Union's green hydrogen electrolzyer manufacturing capacity tenfold by 2025, said SP.

The Electrolyzer Partnership, first announced in May, will bring together manufacturers and component suppliers to ramp up the production of electrolyzers — the technology used to produce renewable-powered hydrogen — to 17.5 GW per year from an estimated 1.75 GW today.

The initiative is linked to the commission's REPowerEU plan — its wide-ranging strategy to end dependence on Russian fossil fuels, which includes an aim to reach 10 million tonnes of annual domestic hydrogen production by 2030, requiring between 90 GW and 100 GW of electrolyzer capacity.

"Hydrogen is an essential part of Europe's future energy sovereignty," Frans Timmermans, executive vice president for the European Green Deal at the commission, said in a statement. "The speed of development of the European hydrogen sector shows that we can decarbonize our economy and secure our independence from Russian fossil fuels."

The Electrolyzer Partnershp was launched at the fourth meeting of the commission's European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which brings together more than 1,600 organizations to support the deployment of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.

In announcing the new partnership last month, the commission and 20 industry executives — including from manufacturers Siemens Energy AG, Nel ASA, SunFire GmbH and Cummins Inc. — said the EU is already leading the world on hydrogen technology but the ambition is to transform this into global commercial leadership.

Daniel Fraile, chief policy officer at lobby group Hydrogen Europe, another member of the partnership, described it as "a catalyst for advancing EU industrial leadership and fostering increased cooperation between manufacturers, key material suppliers and policymakers."

"We need to work at a strategic level to ensure that the renewable hydrogen consumed in Europe is done with European technology and that it contributes to a just energy transition creating jobs growth in Europe," Fraile said in a statement. "The Electrolyzer Partnership is the right vehicle to get this done."

The commission noted the availability of affordable raw materials as one challenge to upscaling Europe's production of electrolyzers. In many cases, the green hydrogen sector has to compete for materials with other industries, as the price of commodities has skyrocketed in recent months. The commission said it would work to partner with countries outside the EU and its economic zones on raw material supplies for electrolyzers.

"At the moment, we have too much dependence on China, South Africa ... for some of those components," Martin Lambert, senior research fellow and head of hydrogen research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said June 16 at the Financial Times' Hydrogen Summit in London. Russia's war in Ukraine. The EU's response via sanctions on Russia shows that is not wise, Lambert said.

Electrolyzer manufacturers also see regulatory and financial bottlenecks that are preventing them from rapidly increasing their production capacity, the commission said. Legislation proposed by the EU at the end of May, laying out draft rules on what makes hydrogen green, aims to support the ramp-up of the renewable hydrogen market. However, it may stop some planned projects in their tracks because of what some players deem to be its strict requirements.

"We need the see [final investment decisions] start to flow [and] money start being made," Jon Andre Lokke, CEO of Norwegian electrolyzer-maker Nel, said at the Financial Times event. "We cannot be more ready. Now, it's basically up to the commission."

As per MRC, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy have agreed to collaborate on the development of industrial-scale hydrogen projects and to lay the groundwork for mass manufacturing of electrolyzers, mainly in Germany and France. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to combine their expertise in proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis technology and intend to focus on the co-creation of large-scale hydrogen projects in collaboration with customers

Alfa Laval expands its offering for tankers by acquiring tank cleaning leader Scanjet

Alfa Laval expands its offering for tankers by acquiring tank cleaning leader Scanjet

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Alfa Laval has signed an agreement to acquire Scanjet, a leading supplier of marine tank cleaning equipment, said the company.

The deal adds Scanjet’s intelligent tank management solutions to Alfa Laval’s already broad tanker offering, creating a complete portfolio for cargo tank needs. Scanjet is today’s leader in tank cleaning and possesses more than 50 years of experience. Through customer-driven product development, the company has expanded from fixed and portable tank cleaning equipment into intelligent tank management. Scanjet’s solutions and organization will become part of Alfa Laval per an agreement signed on 16 June 2022.

"Scanjet is a tank cleaning innovator with exciting developments in the pipeline,” says Alfa Laval’s Peter Nielsen, President of Marine Separation & Heat Transfer, whose business unit will receive the acquisition. “For tanker owners and many other marine customers, there will be valuable synergies when Scanjet solutions enter the Alfa Laval portfolio."

"Alfa Laval is the ideal place for Scanjet’s journey to continue,” says Magnus Wallin, CEO of Scanjet. “Our companies have leading marine offerings that complement and strengthen each other. Above all, we share the ambition to exceed customer needs."

Scanjet’s technology will complete a portfolio for every cargo tank need, joining Framo submersible cargo pumps, Smit inert gas systems and other Alfa Laval solutions. In addition to tank cleaning equipment, Scanjet’s offering comprises the unique ITAMA system for intelligent tank management. The ITAMA system integrates key aspects of tank maintenance, from tank cleaning to real-time monitoring of tank level, temperature and pressure.

"Besides safeguarding the cargo and vessel, optimized tank management contributes to sustainable shipping,” says Nielsen. “For example, it reduces the water and energy consumption connected with tank cleaning. By gathering all tank-related solutions within the Alfa Laval portfolio, we will be able to support efficiency in every angle of cargo handling."

Like Alfa Laval, Scanjet is headquartered in Sweden and has a strong worldwide presence. The company has manufacturing in Sweden, Poland and Indonesia, with additional assembly sites in Norway and the UK. These facilities will be incorporated into Alfa Laval’s existing operations, along with Scanjet’s over 150 technical, application and service experts.

"We look forward to becoming part of an even larger team,” says Magnus Wallin. “Scanjet customers have long valued our ongoing support, and our capabilities will be amplified by Alfa Laval’s own global organization. Together, we will have a strong offering for tanker owners and new opportunities to serve them well over time."

As per MRC, Alfa Laval, a leading global provider of specialized products and engineering solutions based on its key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling, has strengthened its operations in the United States with three new facilities, expanding its commitment to serving its customers in the United States.

As MRC wrote before, in 2017, Alfa Laval won an order to supply compact heat exchangers to a refinery in China. The order has a value of approximately USD10.6 MM. It was booked late June in the Gasketed Plate Heat Exchangers unit of the Energy Division, with deliveries scheduled for 2018.

Alfa Laval is a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling, and is active in the areas of Energy, Marine, and Food & Water, offering its expertise, products, and service to a wide range of industries in some 100 countries. The company is committed to optimizing processes, creating responsible growth, and driving progress to support customers in achieving their business goals and sustainability targets.