North American chemical railcar traffic fell by 2.2%

North American chemical railcar traffic fell by 2.2%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell by 2.2% year on year to 44,376 railcar loadings for the week ended 1 October – marking a second consecutive decline, as per Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The decline was led by the US, where loadings fell by 6.2% as Hurricane Ian forced curtailments of some rail services. Loadings in Canada and Mexico rose.

The four-week average for North American chemical rail traffic was at 46,328 railcar loadings. For the first 39 weeks of 2022 ended 1 October, North American chemical railcar traffic was up 2.2% year on year to 1,806,792 railcar loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

Shipments of chemicals, coal, motor vehicles and parts, and nonmetallic minerals rose for the first 39 weeks, while shipments in all other freight railcar categories fell.

We remind, Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 24, 2022. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 489,111 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending September 24 were 231,258 carloads, down 3.2 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 257,853 containers and trailers, down 5.4 percent compared to 2021.

Carbon recycler LanzaTech strikes financing deal with Brookfield

Carbon recycler LanzaTech strikes financing deal with Brookfield

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Carbon recycler LanzaTech NZ Inc has struck a deal with Brookfield Renewable Corp for a USD500 MM commitment by the investment firm to finance upcoming projects using LanzaTech's technology, the companies told Reuters.

The cash from Brookfield, provided through its Global Transition Fund, will be used to construct and operate new projects using LanzaTech's technology in Europe and North America. Brookfield's capital commitment, which will be used to back projects meeting conditions agreed upon by the two companies, could ultimately rise to USD1 billion.

Founded in 2005, LanzaTech has developed technology which takes the carbon out of emissions and converts it into sustainable fuels, fabrics and other everyday products. This has the dual effect of stopping greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere, and providing materials that would otherwise need to come from traditional fossil fuel-based methods.

"LanzaTech's technology provides a new way to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors across the economy," said Natalie Adomait, chief investment officer of Brookfield's Global Transition Fund. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, told Reuters the partnership with a blue-chip investor such as Brookfield provides affirmation regarding the potential of the nascent industry of carbon recycling.

"Now we have the opportunity to go a lot faster," she said. Chicago-based LanzaTech has projects using its technology in China, and plans to deploy it this year at an ArcelorMittal plant in Belgium and an Indian Oil Corporation facility. As part of its agreement, Brookfield Renewable is also investing USD50 million in an instrument which converts into LanzaTech equity.

Earlier this year, LanzaTech struck a go-public deal with special purpose acquisition company AMCI Acquisition Corp II that valued the carbon recycler at USD2.2 B. LanzaTech's previous backers include BASF, Mitsui & Co and the venture arm of Malaysian state energy company Petronas.

We remind, a new route to the production of monoethylene glycol, a key monomer in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), has been discovered, Illinois-based biotech company LanzaTech has announced. To produce MEG, LanzaTech uses carbon emissions from steel mills or gasified waste biomass and a proprietary engineered bacterium to convert carbon emissions directly into MEG through fermentation. This bypasses the need for an ethanol intermediate, and simplifies the MEG supply chain as it eliminates the multiple processing steps required to convert ethanol into ethylene, then ethylene oxide and then to MEG.

Air Products to Invest in N.Y. green liquid hydrogen production plant

Air Products to Invest in N.Y. green liquid hydrogen production plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Products and Chemicals Inc. said Thursday that it plans to invest about $500 million to build, own and operate a 35 metric ton a day facility to produce green liquid hydrogen at a new site in Massena, N.Y., as well as liquid hydrogen distribution and dispensing operations, said the company.

The company said the commercial operation of the facility is targeted to begin in 2026-2027.

In support of this project, in July, the New York Power Authority board approved 94 megawatts of low-cost St. Lawrence hydroelectric power to Air Products for its investment and the creation of 90 jobs in New York state.

Air Products said it is also investigating the feasibility of establishing a hydrogen fueling station network in the U.S. northeast region, including the ability to serve Air Products' truck fleet. Air Products has announced plans to convert its global fleet of roughly 2,000 trucks to hydrogen fuel-cell zero-emission vehicles.

The low-carbon intensity liquid hydrogen product from the facility is expected to be sold to the mobility market in New York state, as well as other potential northeast industrial markets. If all the hydrogen is used for the heavy-duty truck market, future climate benefits over the project's lifetime would include avoiding more than six million tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the emissions from over 600 million gallons of diesel used in heavy-duty trucks, the company said.

We remind, Air Products announced plans to start construction of a second hydrogen liquefaction plant in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This new source is in addition to the company's existing liquid hydrogen plant in Botlek, the Netherlands. Once operational in 2025, the plant will double Europe's total current liquid hydrogen capacity.

Merck announced its intention to further expand its leadership in science and technology

Merck announced its intention to further expand its leadership in science and technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals company Merck sees “larger-scale acquisitions” as an option from 2023 onwards as it aims to achieve sales of EUR25bn/year by 2025, said the company.

“As of 2023, Merck will once again consider potential larger-scale acquisitions as an option,” CEO Belen Garijo told investors at the company’s “Capital Markets Day” on Thursday. Merck is targeting three key areas for potential acquisitions: Process Solutions and Life Science Services; Healthcare products; and Semiconductor Solutions.

In August, Merck agreed to acquire the electronic chemicals business of Mecaro, a South Korean supplier to the semiconductor industry. “The current turbulent environment continues to be a stress test for our business model and strategy,” Garijo said.

“I can say with confidence that our highly resilient business sectors are the foundation for our bold plans to accelerate efficient growth and seize organic and inorganic opportunities,” she said. “We remain fully on track to reach our mid-term growth target of €25bn in sales by 2025,” she added.

We remind, Merck, a leading science and technology company, today commissioned its first fully automated unit for the digital color measurement of its pigment products. The unit was commissioned in Gernsheim, Germany, the company’s largest pigments production site. Approximately 560 people work at the site.

BASF completes E15x series with new hydrogenation catalysts increasing efficiency and performance

BASF completes E15x series with new hydrogenation catalysts increasing efficiency and performance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF completes its well-established selective hydrogenation catalyst E 15x series with two innovative product lines, said the company.

The new sulfur resistant E 15x S catalyst family aims at facilitating the processing of contaminated feedstocks, enabling reliable process operation and thereby increasing the flexibility of producers to use low-quality feedstocks containing higher amounts of impurities. E 153 S ECU 1/8” is now installed in a world scale PyGas 1st stage unit, proving its outstanding activity and outperforming the competitor incumbent catalyst.

On the other side of the spectrum, BASF finalized the in-house development of a new low-density carrier, serving as a versatile platform for selective hydrogenation applications. The new E 15x L catalyst family is currently BASF’s most cost-efficient solution for hydrogenation units. E 15x L minimizes the amount of precious metal needed for a hydrogenation catalyst, without compromising catalyst activity. Dedicated carrier design and precious metal coating techniques enable a significant hydrogenation activity boost by high precious metal dispersion. Detailed pilot studies proved reliable operation and significantly outperformed competitor low-density solutions in a direct comparison.

“With the new catalyst families E 15x S and E 15x L we provide two additional solutions for our customer`s specific process needs and optimize the use of precious metal” said Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President Process Catalysts at BASF SE. “We are now able to offer customers a complete package of innovative solutions and are looking forward to discussing this in person during EPCA.”

We remind, BASF is working in a partnership project to develop a new process for the recycling of polyurethane insulation materials from old fridges. The depolymerisation chemical recycling process will enable the material to be turned into a polyol, which in turn can be used in the production of new polyurethane materials.