BASF, StePac partner to develop sustainable produce packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and StePac, Tefen, Israel, are partnering to create new sustainable packaging specifically for the fresh produce sector, said Recyclingtoday.

BASF says it will supply StePac with its Ultramid Ccycled product, a chemically recycled polyamide 6 that will provide StePac with greater flexibility to advance contact-sensitive packaging formats to a higher sustainable standard within the circular economy.

StePac, which specializes in developing packaging, says it is pioneering the use of chemically recycled plastics for the packaging of fresh perishables and was recently certified to incorporate chemically recycled polyamide 6 into its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) products. The company’s two brands, Xgo and Xtend, are based on MAP technology with built-in humidity control that slows respiration inside the packaging, delays the aging process, inhibits microbial decay and preserves the quality and nutritional value of the produce during prolonged storage and long-haul shipments.

The companies say that Ultramid Ccycled will make up 30 percent of the packaging material, with options for integration at a higher percentage.

“This alliance will help strike a balance between creating plastic packaging that is as eco-friendly as possible to keep fresh produce longer through more prudent use of lean plastic films,” StePac Business Development Manager Gary Ward says. “These upgraded packaging formats will continue to maintain their role of significantly reducing food waste, a most important task considering that global food waste is responsible for about 8 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

BASF says its chemical recycling process, called ChemCycling, has broken new ground in the recycling of plastic materials. It adds that chemical recycling primarily involves plastic materials that would have been used for energy recovery or landfilled and complements mechanical recycling by yielding food-grade recycled plastic.

“In a thermochemical process, our partners obtain recycled feedstock from these end-of-life plastics, which is then fed into the BASF Verbund,” says Dr. Dominik Winter, vice president of BASF’s European polyamides business. “Using a mass balance approach, the raw material can be attributed to specific products, such as Ultramid Ccycled. This helps to replace fossil raw materials and is an important step towards circularity. As chemically recycled plastics have the same quality and safety as virgin material, the scope of plastics that can be recycled for fresh produce packaging is widened.”

StePac says Colombian passion fruit exporters Jardin Exotics S.A.S. will be the first to use the new packaging brand Xgo Circular, which is supplied as film for horizontal form fill-and-seal. The company says the packaging’s MAP properties will slow the ripening process and preserve the quality of the fruit during its long sea voyage from Colombia to Europe.

StePac adds that packing at-source in the final retail packaging format also eliminates the need for repacking after arrival. For passion fruit, the company says the combination of the produce specific modified atmosphere properties of the film and its high-water vapor transmission rate are what makes film unique in its performance.

We remind, BASF’s Polyol and Polyurethane Systems (PU) plant in Nansha, China, is now ISCC+ certified. With the mass balance certification, BASF offers customers certified low-carbon mass balance PU solutions with equivalent product performance.

North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0%

North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0% year on year to 41,696 railcar loadings for the week ended 10 December – marking a 12th consecutive decline, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Wednesday.

Declines in the US and Canada more than offset an increase in Mexico. The four-week average for North American chemical rail traffic was at 45,673 railcar loadings.

Despite the 12th decline in a row, for the first 49 weeks of 2022 ended 10 December North American chemical railcar traffic was still up 0.4% year on year to 2,237,997 railcar loadings.

Shipments of chemicals, coal, motor vehicles and parts, nonmetallic minerals, and oil and oil products rose for the first 49 weeks, while shipments in the remaining freight railcar categories fell.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic fell by 19.7% year on year to 40,951 railcar loadings for the week ended 3 December – marking an 11th consecutive decline. Increases in Canada and Mexico were more than offset by a 26.6% decline in the US.

ExxonMobil starts operations at large-scale advanced recycling facility

ExxonMobil starts operations at large-scale advanced recycling facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp., Irving, Texas, has announced plans to build its first large-scale postuse plastic advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas. The company says it expects to begin operations at the facility by the end of 2022, said the company.

ExxonMobil reports that it wants to use this facility to help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment. According to a news release from ExxonMobil, a smaller, temporary facility already operates and is producing commercial volumes of certified circular polymers that will be marketed by the end of this year.

“We’ve proven our proprietary advanced recycling technology in Baytown, and we’re scaling up operations to supply certified circular polymers by year-end,” says Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. “Availability of reliable advanced recycling capacity will play an important role in helping address plastic waste in the environment, and we are evaluating wide-scale deployment in other locations around the world.”

The company has performed an initial trial of its proprietary process for converting plastic scrap into raw materials. According to ExxonMobil, the trial recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of plastic scrap and has demonstrated the capability of processing 50 metric tons per day.

Upon completion of the large-scale facility, the operation will have the capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic scrap per year. ExxonMobil says it anticipates that operational capacity could be expanded if policy and regulations that recognize the lifecycle benefits of advanced recycling are implemented for residential and industrial plastic scrap collection and sorting systems.

The company also plans to build about 500,000 metric tons of advanced recycling capacity globally over the next five years. In Europe, the company is collaborating with Plastic Energy on an advanced recycling plant in Notre Dame de Gravechon, France, which is expected to process 25,000 metric tons of plastic scrap per year when it starts in 2023, with the potential for further expansion to 33,000 metric tons of annual capacity. The company also is assessing sites in the Netherlands, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Canada and Singapore.

ExxonMobil also has formed a joint venture with Agilyx Corp., Cyclyx International LLC, focused on developing solutions for aggregating and preprocessing large volumes of plastic scrap that can be converted into feedstocks for products. The company reports that Cyclyx will help to supply its advanced recycling projects.

We remind, ExxonMobil expects to double earnings and cash flow potential by 2027, and will increase investments in lower-emissions efforts, the company said on Thursday in news release detailing plans for the next five years, said the company. The corporate plan through 2027 maintains annual capital expenditures at USD20bn-USD25bn, while growing lower-emissions investments to approximately USD17bn. ExxonMobil said the approach prioritises high-return, low-cost-of-supply assets in the Upstream and Product Solutions businesses and supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity from operated assets.

Clariant announces ethoxylation expansion in Daya Bay

Clariant announces ethoxylation expansion in Daya Bay

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant will invest Swiss francs (Swfr) 80m (USD86m) to expand its Care Chemicals facility at Daya Bay in China’s Guangdong province, boosting support for pharmaceutical, personal care, home care and industrial application customers, the company said.

This investment will increase Clariant’s production capacity for existing products as well as the introduction of new products by the end of 2024. Clariant also aims for the site to become a new global hub for its healthcare business, saying it believes China would remain a growth driver for many chemicals.

Clariant is looking to expand the contribution of China sales in its global total to 14% from its present 11% and raise its China production share to 50% from 35%, both by 2025.

Its most recent investments in Daya Bay include a Swfr40m second production line of flame retardants, slated to come on stream in 2024, and its Swfr60m first line, due to start up in 2023.

The company on Thursday held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new surfactant plant at Daya Bay.

We remind, Clariant on Monday announced a financial impairment of its cellulosic ethanol plant in Podari, Romania, amounting to some 225 million Swiss francs (USD241 million/ 225 million euro).

Eni eyes biorefinery in Malaysia with Petronas, Euglena

Eni eyes biorefinery in Malaysia with Petronas, Euglena

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italian energy group Eni is studying the possibility of developing and operating a biorefinery in Malaysia together with Japan's Euglena and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), said Reuters.

The plant would be based in the integrated refinery and petrochemical Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Southeast Asia, they said in a joint statement.

An investment decision for the project is expected by 2023 and the plant is targeted to be completed by 2025.

The biorefinery would have a flexible configuration to focus on sustainable fuels for aircraft, on-road vehicles, train and marine transportation, the groups said.

The plant is expected to have the capability to process about 650,000 tpy of raw materials to produce up to 12,500 barrels per day of biofuels.

Eni, which plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, said earlier this year it aimed to build a third biorefinery in Italy by converting one of its industrial sites in Tuscany.

We remind, Eni confirmed it is conducting a feasibility study with the intention to build a new biorefinery in Livorno, Italy. Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which is produced by hydrogenating vegetable oils, will be the primary biofuel produced at the planned biorefinery. Three new plants are being planned for the biorefinery, including a biogenic feedstock pre-treatment unit, a 500,000 tonne/year Ecofining plant and a plant to produce hydrogen from methane gas.