Solvay announces strategic collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks

Solvay announces strategic collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay, a leading science and materials company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life, today announced a strategic collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, said the company.

Through this multi-year strategic collaboration agreement, Solvay will join forces with Ginkgo to unlock the power of synthetic biology as an enabler of more sustainable chemicals and materials, contributing to the transition towards more environmentally-friendly solutions. This alliance will start by focusing on new sustainable biopolymers, specialties which could tangibly impact a breadth of markets, from home and personal care to agriculture and food.

As part of this partnership, Solvay will also acquire a Ginkgo (formerly Zymergen) laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This acquisition will expand Solvay’s R&I footprint in the US, provide access to new talents, and establish a sustainable growth base in synthetic biology in one the most important biotech hubs in the world, accelerating the company’s biotech development plan.

With this strategic collaboration and expansion, Solvay will integrate deep competencies in bioinformatics / data science, strain engineering, biocatalysis and fermentation processes, strengthening and accelerating the ability to scout, develop and turn into businesses the most valuable biotech-enabled opportunities.

This partnership is designed to strengthen Solvay’s position in biotechnology as part of the Renewable Materials and Biotechnology growth platform which aims to meet growing demand for sustainable solutions by increasing the share of renewable carbon in Solvay’s product offering and developing new business opportunities enabled by biotechnology. This growth platform complements the company’s activities in three other key areas: battery materials, green hydrogen and thermoplastic composites.

We remind, Solvay announces the completion of the sale of its 50% stake in the RusVinyl joint venture to its joint venture partner Sibur. At the time of closing, Solvay received €433 million in cash proceeds in Belgium which will be reported in the first quarter as cash flow from investing activities (Consolidated statement of cash flows). A capital loss of €174 million will be recognized in the first quarter of 2023, mainly reflecting the crystallization of historic currency translation balances.

Borealis, Ecopost join forces to drive circular economy in Kenya

Borealis, Ecopost join forces to drive circular economy in Kenya

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ecopost and Austrian polyolefins producer Borealis, have agreed on a partnership that will promote Ecopost’s work in Kenya, said Sustainableplastics.

As an integrated waste management company, Ecopost collects and sorts wasterecycles plastic waste plastic into recycled plastic lumber profiles used in applications varying from fencing to road signage to outdoor furniture.

As a social enterprise, Ecopost is addressing the problem of plastic pollution, as well as issues such as chronic youth unemployment, deforestation and climate change, by employing local labour and recycled waste to produce their products.

Kenya is estimated to generate some 22,000 tons of waste per day. Nairobi alone produces over 2,400 tons of solid waste on a daily basis. Poverty is rampant, with 36% of Kenyans living below the poverty line, earning less than USD1.90 a day; deforestation has denuded the land.

Ecopost has developed a model through which it addresses all three challenges. The company works with marginalised youth and women in the community who collect, sort, shred and prepare waste material for producing pellets and plastic lumber. Ecopost not only ensures they are paid a fair and regular income, the company incorporates training and capacity building across the value chain to achieve impact at scale: creating jobs for operators, plastic waste collectors, and distributors.

In this way, Ecopost helps to divert plastic waste from open burning, dumping in waterways, sewers and landfilling and offers alternatives to wood and virgin plastics for applications like fencing, signage & building material.

The collaboration agreed between Borealis and Ecopost will see Borealis providing funding for Ecopost’s activities to boost waste recycling in Kenya and to promote a circular economy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We remind, Borealis will implement Honeywell’s UniSim Live software as early adopters to build process models for optimizing operations through virtual process simulation. UniSim Live will allow Borealis to extend the utility of process models to near real-time process monitoring and focus on early event detection by using digital twins to improve plant reliability.

Clariant completes sale of North American Land Oil business

Clariant completes sale of North American Land Oil business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a focused, sustainable, and innovative specialty chemical company, announced the completion of the divestment of its North American Land Oil business to Dorf Ketal, a specialty chemicals manufacturer and service provider headquartered in India, for USD 14.5 million on 31 March 2023, said the company.

Clariant’s North American Land Oil business is a provider of chemical technologies and services to the North American oil and gas industry and generated sales of USD 115 million in 2022. After seeing strong growth in 2018 and 2019, the global oil industry entered a crisis in 2020. This prompted a strategic review which concluded that the NORAM Land Oil business is primarily service-oriented with a limited focus on sustainable solutions and will not reach profitability levels expected for a specialty chemicals portfolio.

“Clariant is a true specialty chemicals company whereas the North American Land Oil business is primarily a distribution and service business,” said Conrad Keijzer, Chief Executive Officer at Clariant. “We are therefore glad that, with Dorf Ketal, we have found the right owner for our customers and our employees. I want to express my gratitude to our former colleagues and wish them all the best in their new environment."

The North American Land Oil business employs 180 professionals in the USA and Canada.

We remind, Clariant Catalysts has collaborated with Evonik and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) for a propylene oxide (PO) project in China. Qixiang Tengda will depend on Evonik-tkIS HPPO technology to transform propylene into PO, in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The new plant will have a capacity of 300,000 tonnes/y.

Alberta to contribute to CCUS after Ottawa commitments

Alberta to contribute to CCUS after Ottawa commitments

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canada's province of Alberta - the heart of the country's oil and gas industry - is expected to offer more support for carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects now that the federal government has its incentives in place, the federal natural resources minister told Reuters.

CCUS is one of the key technologies Canada is relying on to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and industry says additional government incentives are the last piece of the puzzle needed to kickstart the projects. This week, Canada's federal budget expanded eligibility for CCUS investment tax credits over the next five years, by adding CD520 MM to the CD2.6-B program laid out in last year's budget.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government and the province of Alberta, however, have been at odds over who should pay to increase funding for CCUS, which industry says is needed because the U.S. is offering much more generous incentives. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said he has had many conversations with the Alberta government on CCUS, including one earlier this week, and he hopes to see some of the major CCUS projects launched by end-year.

"They are working through their internal process about what mechanism they may use... But my sense of the government of Alberta is they are fully aware of that and intend to be part of this," Wilkinson said in a telephone interview from Berlin, where he is meeting officials to advance cooperation on the shift to clean energy.

Alberta's Premier Danielle Smith, who is facing a May election to stay in power, has said she is open to bolstering CCUS financial support, but she has been highly critical many of Trudeau's climate policies, including a planned emissions cap for the oil and gas industry.

Canada is the world's fourth-largest oil producer and the energy sector is the country's highest-polluting industry and it needs to drastically cut emissions if Canada is to achieve its climate commitments. Gabrielle Symbalisty, press secretary for Alberta's Energy Minister Pete Guthrie, said the province is exploring covering eligible capital costs of CCUS by expanding its petrochemical incentive program, and that it would work with the federal government to coordinate federal and provincial incentives.

We remind, The Pathways Alliance, a collaboration between Canada's six largest oil sands producers targeting net-zero emissions by 2050, is planning to develop a CCUS hub in northern Alberta, expected to cost USD12.2 bn by 2030.

Exxon says its decarbonization business could outgrow oil, in multi-trillion market

Exxon says its decarbonization business could outgrow oil, in multi-trillion market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp's Low Carbon business has the potential to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and outperform the company's traditional oil and gas as soon as a decade from now, CEO Darren Woods said, said Reuters.

The largest U.S. oil producer on Tuesday laid out to investors the aims of its emerging energy transition strategy in a meeting with Wall Street. Exxon is tackling what should be a multi-trillion market in 10 years or more, Woods said.

The result will be an Exxon less prone to commodity price swings through predictable, long-term contracts with customers striving to reduce their own carbon footprint.

"This business is going to look quite a bit different than the base business of Exxon Mobil," vowed Dan Ammann, president of Exxon's two-year-old Low Carbon Business Solutions unit. "It is going to have a much more stable, or less cyclical, profile."

How quickly that vision becomes a reality will depend on regulatory and policy support for carbon pricing - something the U.S. has not broadly accepted - and the cost to abate greenhouse gas emissions, among other changes, he said. Ammann declined to comment on whether expectations for rising oil prices underpin the strategy.

The company on Tuesday put out parameters for how it sees that growth unfolding, with carbon priced as much as three times current levels. Exxon is one of the most oil- and gas-focused companies among Western oil producers, a strategy that delivered record profits for its investors last year as fossil fuel prices soared.

Unlike its peers, Exxon has stayed away from renewable energy like solar and wind. Its energy transition plans lean heavily on reducing carbon emissions from its own operations, which Exxon is spending USD10 B by 2027 to implement.

Exxon is tackling carbon capture, hydrogen, biofuels, which it estimates have a combined potential of USD6.5 T by 2050, equivalent to the traditional oil and gas business.

We remind, ExxonMobil Corp has started up its long-planned project to expand light crude oil processing capacity by 250,000 b/d at ExxonMobil Product Solutions Co's integrated refining and petrochemicals complex along the US Gulf Coast in Beaumont, TX, US.