Grupa Azoty launches concentrated nitric acid plant

Grupa Azoty launches concentrated nitric acid plant

Grupa Azoty launched a 40,000 tonne/year concentrated nitric acid unit, doubling its production capacity for the product, said the company.

Azoty, the sole manufacturer of concentrated nitric acid in Poland, said the zloty (Zl) 57.1m ($13.1m) plant, built over the course of two years, would be of great importance in securing the production of more high-value chemicals.

“The commissioning of the installation strengthens the market position of Grupa Azoty SA as a European leader in the segment of suppliers of raw materials for manufacturers of nitrocellulose and fuel additives and the industry of the synthesis of organic substances that are widely used as semi-finished products for high-value chemicals,” the company said in a press release.

State-controlled Azoty, Europe’s second largest fertilizer maker, said it already delivered concentrated nitric acid to more than 30 customers in 20 European countries.

Concentrated nitric acid is used in Europe in the production of polyurethane (PU) foams, dyes, plant protection products, fuel additives that reduce exhaust emissions and other organic syntheses, among other things, Azoty said.

Both of Azoty’s concentrated nitic acid production plants produce the product to a concentration above 98%.

We remind, Grupa Azoty Polyolefins received a first delivery of propane in preparation for the launch of its world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) plant in Police, northwestern Poland. The 22,000-litre delivery was made in line with a contract signed with Trafigura for the supply of $250m of propane that will meet 50% of the facility’s propane demand over 2023 and 2024.

Evonik launches research project for plasma-enabled CO2 conversion

Evonik launches research project for plasma-enabled CO2 conversion

MRC) -- Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) has launched the PlasCO2 project together with three partners, said the company.

The aim is to use carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material in the production of C4 chemicals. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the project with more than €1.8 million. PlasCO2 stands for ‘Plasma-induced generation of carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide and its chemical utilization’. The researchers are working on extracting synthesis gas from carbon dioxide and hydrogen by means of a plasma reactor using a newly developed process. The synthesis gas obtained in this way can then be used for the production of chemical products.

The project consortium, which is coordinated by Evonik, consists of four partners. It thus brings together all competencies, from catalysis and plasma research to plant engineering. In addition to Evonik, the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT), the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research (INP), and Rafflenbeul Anlagen Bau GmbH are also involved.

“If we succeed in generating carbon dioxide as a raw material, we would not only make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint, but we would also open up a completely new world of chemistry,” says Professor Dr. Robert Franke, head of hydroformylation research at Evonik Performance Intermediates and coordinator of the PlasCO2 project.

Sustainability is a key driver of the venture: At the heart of the project is the conversion of carbon dioxide with hydrogen to carbon monoxide. Low-temperature plasmas are to be used as a novel energy source, which require little energy and thus activate the inert carbon particularly efficiently. To generate these plasmas, the research group wants to develop a new kind of reactor, that can be operated with renewable energy sources. Later, these should be widely deployable and commercializable. The synthesis gas generated in this way can be used for the production of organic compounds in C4 chemistry. These can in turn be used to produce plasticizers or petrochemical specialties, for example.

Evonik will begin with basic research, initially carrying out evaluations of eco-efficiency and economic viability as well as quantum chemical calculations. The plasma reactors used have so far been used for the purification of exhaust gas. Evonik is continuing to work on their development so that, probably after about four years, a pilot plant can be built that creates the plasma with renewable resources.

“To carry out these projects of application-oriented basic research, we at Evonik absolutely need the expertise of our partners at the research institutes and at other companies,” says Dr. Marc Oliver Kristen, project manager of PlasCO2. “Funding from the BMBF is also essential to enable us to pursue such highly innovative approaches.”

We remind, Evonik is pooling its expertise and integrating its alkoxides business into the Catalysts Business Line. The extensive portfolio of heterogeneous catalysts is thus now complemented by homogeneous catalysts. An international network of production sites and the highly experienced alkoxides team will additionally strengthen the Catalysts Business Line, one of Evonik's growth areas, from January 2023.

OQ Chemicals to expand production capacity for carboxylic acids

OQ Chemicals to expand production capacity for carboxylic acids

OQ Chemicals GmbH (Monheim am Rhein, Germany) has announced further plans to expand its production capacity for carboxylic acids, said the company.

The company has invested in an optimization and debottlenecking project for precursors at its plants in Germany. Structural work has already commenced, with completion planned before the end of the first quarter of 2023. OQ Chemicals is also investing in a partial reorganization of its global network of multi-purpose production plants to boost efficiency, improve infrastructure, and further strengthen production capabilities. The new capacity is expected to be available to the market in 2024.

Manufacturers of various industries look to Oxo Performance Chemicals from OQ Chemicals as important building blocks to produce, for example, energy- efficient high-performance lubricants, cosmetic ingredients, or animal feed additives.“For decades, OQ Chemicals has been at the forefront of carboxylic acids, making us the global market leader in most of these products. As a technology leader in Oxo Performance Chemicals from C3 to C9, we continue to develop new technologies for future markets and applications,” said David Faust, Executive Vice President Oxo Performance Chemicals at OQ Chemicals. “For instance, OQ Chemicals’ carboxylic acids can be used to produce highly efficient lubricants for smart, eco-friendly, and energy-saving air conditioning systems, which are becoming increasingly vital in a world of rising and extreme temperatures. In the animal feed industry, our customers use our products to manufacture innovative feed additives that can benefit animal welfare.”

“At OQ Chemicals, we prioritize both fulfilling our customers’ current needs and preparing for their future requirements. Our investment into this capacity increase project aims to support our customers in their growth and will further strengthen our leading position in the global market. We’re committed to the market to provide a comprehensive product portfolio and be a dependable source for Oxo Performance Chemicals,” commented Dr. Oliver Borgmeier, CEO of OQ Chemicals.

We remind, Rohm and OQ Chemicals officially broke ground on their new world-scale methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in Bay City, Texas. The plant will be the first to employ Rohm's LiMA ("Leading in Methacrylates") technology on a large industrial scale, which is its latest proprietary production technology. It will have a capacity of 250,000 tonnes/year once completed in early 2024, which will enable Rohm to serve increasing demand for MMA and support the reliability of its supply chain towards its customers globally.

Univar acquires Turkey Kale Kimya

Univar acquires Turkey Kale Kimya

MOSCOW(MRC) -- International chemicals distributor Univar Solutions has agreed to acquire Turkish specialty chemicals distributor Kale Kimya, said the company.

Istanbul-based Kale Kimya has a product portfolio of beauty and personal care products, and home and industrial cleaning products, including surfactants, actives, emulsifiers, preservatives, UV filters, fragrances, polymers, conditioners, esters and emollients.

"This acquisition further progresses our strategy to grow our Ingredients and Specialties business with a leading company that builds on and adds to our strengths, geographic footprint and product portfolio," Nick Powell, president of Global Ingredients & Specialties at Univar, said in a statement on Monday.

Univar expects to complete the acquisition within the current Q1. Financial terms were not disclosed.

We remind, activist investor PrimeStone has urged German chemicals distributor Brenntag to end talks with potential takeover target Univar Solutions and instead buy back shares and prepare for a break-up into two separate companies. In a letter to Brenntag’s board and management, the UK-based investor urges Brenntag to terminate discussions with Univar immediately and refocus on improving Brenntag itself.

Maire Tecnimont acquires the majority stake of Conser

Maire Tecnimont acquires the majority stake of Conser

Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. announces that, through its subsidiary NextChem Holding S.p.A., it is expanding into the high-value derivates and biodegradable plastic by-products licensing markets with the acquisition of an 83,5% stake of Conser, a technology licensor and process engineering design company based in Rome, Italy, said the cmpany.

Founded more than Fifty years ago, Conser has been developed by Flavio Simola, who has led the company to the current technological excellence. The closing, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to take place by April 15, 2023. NextChem Holding also retains an option to acquire the remaining 16.5% stake within the next 3 years. The acquisition of Conser, which is expected to reach total revenues of approximately €25 million in 2022, is strategically important because it allows the Group to enter new markets.

Conser has a portfolio of technology patents dedicated to the energy transition and added-value specialty chemicals processes. Such a portfolio includes cost-effective and process-flexible technologies for Maleic Anhydride, Butanediol and Dimethyl Succinate, which are crucial building blocks for the production of biodegradable plastics, in particular Polybutylene Succinate (PBS) and polybutylene adipate co-terephthalate (PBAT). Conser’s portfolio also includes technologies for Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers, specialties for Lithium-based batteries production and Bio-based (vegetable glycerine) derivatives.

PBS and PBAT have excellent biodegradation properties, and their relevant consolidated markets show very promising outlooks driven by a growing demand especially in Asia, where Conser has licensed more than half of the plants in the region in the last year for several leading global players.

Conser will benefit from Maire Tecnimont Group’s technological know-how and expertise to further optimize its current and future technologies, in order to develop, among other solutions, a fully bio-based or biodegradable polymer.

With this strategic acquisition, Maire Tecnimont further strengthens its leadership in polymers by adding biodegradable plastics by-products and added-value specialty chemicals technologies to its technological portfolio and aims to combine it with its integrated projects service capability, while leveraging its global commercial network.

We remind, Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. announced that a signing ceremony concerning the USD6 bn world-class integrated polymers complex to be built in Ras Laffan Industrial City was held today in Doha, Qatar. The USD1.3 B EPC Lump Sum contract, already announced on December 21, 2022, is part of this complex and has been awarded to Tecnimont by a Joint Venture composed of QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical.