Mitsubishi confirms closure of its UK MMA plant

Mitsubishi confirms closure of its UK MMA plant

Mitsubishi Chemical UK has confirmed the closure of its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant at Billingham (Cassel), UK, said the company.

The decision comes following a period of over two months of collective consultation with its employees. The company stated in a press release in November announcing its consultation that the “economic sustainability of UK manufacturing operation of methacrylates in an increasingly competitive global market cannot be achieved”.

The MMA plant had been offline since January 2022, initially for a planned maintenance shutdown. Since then, the impact of soaring and volatile natural gas prices because of the war in Ukraine, a “significant downturn in the European economy as a result of high inflation” and underlying weak demand in the MMA market has seen this shutdown extended.

The Billingham plant has a capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year, began operating in 1930 and produces methacrylic acid and higher methacrylates.

We remind, Mitsubishi Chemical Group (the MCG Group) announces that it will start verification testing of a scheme for collecting acrylic resins from end-of-life vehicles, with the goal of commercializing molecular recycling operations for acrylic resin in collaboration with Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. and ABT Corporation1.

KBR awarded contract for Chemours expansion

KBR awarded contract for Chemours expansion

KBR, Inc. (Houston) announced it has been awarded an engineering and design services contract from The Chemours Co. (Wilmington, Del.) to increase capacity and advance technology for its industry-leading Nafion ion-exchange materials platform, said the company.

The contract is part of Chemours’ USD200 million investment to expand the Nafion membranes and dispersions technology platform to support the growing hydrogen economy. Nafion™ membrane technology is the heart of hydrogen power generation, storage and use. Its chemical properties help generate clean hydrogen from water electrolysis, with vapor water as the only byproduct. Fuel cells — another Nafion™ proton exchange membrane application — convert hydrogen to create power instantly, making zero-emission fuel cell-powered vehicles a reality.

“We are excited to be a part of this important program, which furthers our partnership with Chemours, and to deliver solutions that will contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable world,” said Jay Ibrahim, president of KBR’s Sustainable Technology Solutions business. “This win highlights KBR’s extensive clean hydrogen and specialty chemical expertise and is indicative of KBR’s strategic commitment to support our customers through the energy transition."

We remind, KBR has launched a new ethylene and propylene process technology, utilising 100% hydrogen-fuelled burners, “for zero emissions from the ethylene cracking furnaces,” said the US energy and chemicals engineer company. The new SCOREKlean technology would play a major role to decarbonise the petrochemical industry, given that furnaces are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the industry, KBR said.

NextChem awarded new contract for biomethane project in Normandy

NextChem awarded new contract for biomethane project in Normandy

Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy) announced that its Sustainable Technology Solutions subsidiary NextChem has been awarded a new contract by Storengy to carry out a further advanced basic engineering study for the gasification of the waste wood and the purification system of the syngas to produce biomethane, said Chemengonline.

NextChem’s scope also includes the evaluation and estimate of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction activities for the full gasification and methanation package of the project, including the relevant utilities and ancillary units, which will be considered as part of the Client’s Final Investment Decision.

The plant should have a capacity of 11,000 tons per year of biomethane and will be the first commercial project in the world of its kind to inject in the grid methane produced through pyro-gasification of waste wood.

Alessandro Bernini, Chief Executive Officer of MAIREGroup, commented: “This new agreement with Storengy is further proof of MAIRE’s recognized know-how in developing and implementing technologies for the energy transition, in line with the new European regulations for the production of syngas and bio-methane from wood waste and biomass."

Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy) announced completion the methanation advanced basic engineering study in July 2022 for the Salamandre project in the Normandy region.

US EPA calls for testing of oil derived from plastic waste

US EPA calls for testing of oil derived from plastic waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it will require companies that produce oil from a process known as "advanced recycling" to submit the product to the agency to test it for impurities, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The measure is one of dozens of goals and objectives the EPA has outlined in a new draft federal strategy for preventing plastic pollution that was required by a law passed in 2020 aimed at keeping plastic waste and post-consumer materials out of waterways and oceans.

The agency is seeking public input on an array of strategic objectives and voluntary actions that can be taken to "reduce, reuse, collect, and capture plastic and other waste from land-based sources" by 2040.

While the EPA has said it wants to promote "circular economy policies," which focus on the reuse of plastic waste, it said it will exclude "processes that convert solid waste to fuels, fuel ingredients, or energy from being considered as a recycling practice in this strategy."

"Advanced recycling," also known as pyrolisis or chemical recycling, is a set of reprocessing technologies that the plastics industry has touted as a solution to deal with the global scourge of plastic waste. It uses heat or chemicals to turn plastic waste into fuel or reclaimed resin to make new plastic.

The agency said that though it had welcomed "further discussion" on the technology when its released a separate draft national recycling plan in late 2021, it now "reaffirms does not consider activities that convert non-hazardous solid waste to fuels or fuel substitutes or for energy production to be 'recycling' activities."

The EPA also said it has become aware of health concerns and environmental risks related to impurities found in oil from pyrolisis and will require companies to submit oil chemicals to the Agency for review under the Toxic Substances Control Act for testing prior to approval of projects, and ongoing testing to ensure there is no variability in the plastic waste stream used to generate the pyrolysis oil.

A recent Reuters investigation found that advanced recycling projects backed major companies have been dropped or indefinitely delayed because they were not commercially viable.

We remind, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed increases in the amount of ethanol and other biofuels oil refiners must blend into their fuel over the next three years. The agency is also proposing incorporating electricity made from renewable biomass and used for electric vehicle into the program for the first time. The agency's long-awaited proposal will call for overall blending mandates of 20.82 B gallons in 2023, 21.87 B gallons in 2024 and 22.68 B gallons in 2025.

RadiciGroup announces the opening of its new factory in China

RadiciGroup announces the opening of its new factory in China

The new RadiciGroup industrial site in Suzhou, China has been officially opened. Designed to double capacity for manufacturing engineering polymers, the area will significantly step up the Group’s presence on the Asian market as a key player serving numerous sectors – from the automotive and electrical/electronics industries to consumer and industrial goods, said the company.

The Group has had production operations in China since 2006, when it first opened in a small factory in Jiangsu Province. In 2012 it moved to a larger site, to then start on the construction from the ground up of this new fully-owned facility, designed for future scalability, as required.

RadiciGroup invested €35 million in the development of the new complex, sited on 36,000 square metres of land, around half of which is occupied by production and research & development facilities. The rest houses offices, meeting rooms, and communal areas, along with gardens and parking areas.

The state-of-the-art complex features the most advanced green building technologies available today, for which it is LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. This international standard for high-performance green buildings incorporates parameters such as benefits for the environment and human health, the reduced consumption of water, energy efficiency, and the use of environmentally-friendly building materials and solutions. Notable features of the Suzhou site include the installation of a continuous monitoring system to ensure the energy efficiency of the building, rooftop solar panels to produce renewable energy, and a rainwater recycling system to meet the water needs of the site.

We remind, RadiciGroup High Performance Polymers acquired the Engineering Plastics business of the Indian company Ester Industries Ltd. Last May, RadiciGroup announced this important action aimed at strengthening its internationalization strategy, with an investment of around 35 million euros: the transaction allows RadiciGroup - in India since 2006 - to further reinforce its local presence through the acquisition of one of the main and historic players on the Indian market.

RadiciGroup High Performance Polymers is a multinational organization with the capacity to manufacture and supply engineering polymers (based on polyamide, polyester and other materials) around the globe, with the backing of a production and sales network across all continents, as well as research and development increasingly focused on high-performance polymers.