Mitsui Chemicals and CrowdChem Jointly Develop NLP Technology for More Efficient New Material Searches

Mitsui Chemicals and CrowdChem Jointly Develop NLP Technology for More Efficient New Material Searches

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and CrowdChem Co., Ltd. announced their joint development of a technology capable of leveraging AI to seamlessly carry out everything from the extraction of technical information likely to be useful in the future to searching for new materials, said the company.

With the aid of natural language processing (NLP), this new technology will deliver greater efficiency in searches for new materials. Additionally, combining generative pre-trained transformers (GPT) and other generative AI technologies with past results is expected to result in the technology’s widespread use in business.

Development work in new fields has, until now, required substantial research time and expenditure. In quite a few cases, unforeseen technical issues cause this work to be discontinued.

To resolve this problem, Mitsui Chemicals and CrowdChem have developed a new platform that works by combining two key technologies. The first of these technologies extracts highly relevant data from technical keywords found in patents and technical literature, as well as in news stories about future trends in the field. The second, meanwhile, is capable of extracting and implementing necessary information from written text.

Meanwhile, combining generative AI with results produced to date will assist in interpreting results, developing specific examples from abstract output, gathering related information and presenting action plans. The technology is therefore expected to find a wide range of uses in business. As the next step, Mitsui Chemicals plans to verify the concept in real-life business challenges and roll out the platform to several business divisions.

Mitsui Chemicals intends to continue taking on the challenge of tapping into advanced technologies, both by integrating sales data with technical data in a way that leverages digital transformation and by combining this data with other advanced digital technologies.

We remind, INEOS has completed the purchase of Mitsui Phenols Singapore in a USD330m deal, giving the UK-based firm over 1m tonnes/year of additional Asia production capacity. Based on Jurong Island, Singapore, the entire asset base of the Mitsui subsidiary will be transferred to INEOS. The business has a production capacity of 410,000 tonnes/year of cumene, 310,000 tonne/year of phenol and 185,000 tonnes/year of acetone.

BASF’s Coatings division appoints heads for global business units

BASF’s Coatings division appoints heads for global business units

The Coatings division of BASF will implement global units for its Automotive OEM Coatings Solutions and Automotive Refinish Coatings Solutions businesses, said the company.

With the new organizational setup, BASF better serves its global customers who increasingly ask for global support and services.

Patrick Zheng Yu Zhao will take charge of the new Global Automotive OEM Coatings Solutions business unit, based in Hong Kong. Prior to this role, he was Senior Vice President at Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific. Zhao started his career at BASF in 1999 within the Polyurethane business and held various positions across different divisions. He has an MBA degree from Donghua University and a bachelor's degree in Polymer Science from East China University of Science and Technology.

Chris Titmarsh will assume responsibility for the new Global Automotive Refinish Coatings Solutions business unit, located in Munster, Germany. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President Automotive Refinish Coatings Solutions EMEA, based in Germany. Titmarsh studied Chemistry from 1992 and completed his postgraduate studies of Business Management in 1999. In 2006, he started his career at BASF as a polymer research chemist. He held various positions in marketing and business management before moving to the Asia Pacific Automotive business located in Hong Kong in 2015.

Frank Naber will assume responsibility for the Global Surface Treatment business unit, which operates under the Chemetall brand, in Frankfurt, Germany. In this position, he succeeds Christophe Cazabeau who will prepare for a new assignment. Prior to this role, Naber was Senior Vice President at Automotive OEM Coatings Solutions EMEA. He studied business administration at the University of Munster and began his career at BASF in 2004. He worked in various regional and global roles in the Polyurethane division in Germany and Belgium. In 2012, Naber joined the Coatings division, where he took on various account and business management functions in the Automotive OEM Coatings business unit in Munster and Hong Kong.

We remind, BASF had a 13.4% decrease in sales for Q1 2023, from EUR23.1 billion in Q1 2022 to EUR20.0 billion. However, net income was EUR1.6 billion, EUR340 million higher than in the same period of the previous year.
The company forecasts sales of between EUR84 billion and EUR87 billion for 2023.

ORLEN Południe plant makes propylene glycol production more sustainable based on BASF technology

ORLEN Południe plant makes propylene glycol production more sustainable based on BASF technology

MRC) -- ORLEN Poludnie, a leading player in biofuels in Poland, has recently concluded the first year of operation of its BioPG plant, converting glycerol, a by-product of biodiesel production, into renewable propylene glycol (BioPG), said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

BioPG obtained from glycerin is bio-based and a highly demanded product used to produce polyester resins, polyurethanes, paints and de-icing solutions, solvents for the food industry, and is used as an ingredient in deodorant sticks and toothpaste. Compared to fossil-based propylene glycol, BioPG reduces the CO2 footprint by at least 60 percent whilst offering the same product quality.

Air Liquide Engineering & Construction provided the license, basic engineering, and proprietary equipment for the new plant, combining its expertise with commercially-proven BASF technology.

BASF’s BioPG technology is operating at full scale for already more than a decade, showing very high selectivity and glycerol conversion using BASF’s H9-66 catalyst. The outstanding catalyst performance enables the hydrogenation in liquid phase without any need for separation of intermediates or solvents, leading to lower energy consumptions compared to other processes.

The BioPG plant supports ORLEN Group’s objective of achieving CO2 neutrality by 2050. With an annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons, ORLEN Poludnie is the first Polish producer of propylene glycol aiming to meet 75 percent of the country's propylene glycol needs.

“We are proud that after a smooth start-up the new plant is operating as planned, for more than one year. The cooperation between ORLEN Poludnie, BASF, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction significantly promotes our business philosophy with the BioPG technology and improves our value chain. The technical support by BASF and Air Liquide Engineering & Construction was outstanding. This really is a joint success,” says Grzegorz Semerjak, Technology Director at ORLEN Poludnie.

“We are pleased to offer to our customers an innovative bio-based renewable solution that provides many environmental benefits and helps our customers move towards a low-carbon society. We were delighted to work with ORLEN Poludnie on their project, to provide our expertise and a one-stop shop BioPG solution,” says Dominique Rouge, Vice President, Sales & Technology at Air Liquide Engineering and Construction.

“Our propylene glycol catalyst has been operating successfully at customers for over ten years, and we are excited about a successful startup and operation of another commercial plant with ORLEN Poludnie. Thanks to the G2PG process, ORLEN Poludnie has opened a completely new business area of bio products and further increased the value creation at its biodiesel plant. As BASF, we are proud to support this development with our innovative technology and catalyst, and to enable a more sustainable BioPG production,” says Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts at BASF.

We remind, PKN ORLEN, finalised a transaction to acquire a part of Poland’s largest plastics manufacturer, Basell Orlen Polyolefins, in which the ORLEN holds an equity interest. The acquisition was approved by the antitrust authorities in Poland and the Netherlands. The business segment, acquired by ORLEN, specialises in the production and sale of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) as well as customer service in the Polish market. It is a polymer commonly used to make consumer and industrial products, found in plastic films, bags, canisters, food packaging, as well as components of electronic devices, such as wires and cables.

Azelis strengthens its footprint in life sciences with the acquisition of Gillco Ingredients in the USA

Azelis strengthens its footprint in life sciences with the acquisition of Gillco Ingredients in the USA

Azelis, a leading global innovation service provider in the specialty chemicals and food ingredients industry, announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Gillco Ingredients (“Gillco”), a leading specialty ingredient provider in the food & nutrition market in the USA, said the company.

The acquisition represents a strategic expansion into the attractive food & nutrition market in the US, reinforcing Azelis’ footprint in the life sciences. In addition to the group’s flavors & fragrances offering, Gillco allows Azelis to create a compelling portfolio and execute its growth strategy in the US food and nutrition industry, as well as the wider life sciences in North America.

Founded in 1982, Gillco has developed long-standing relationships with global blue-chip suppliers, a diverse portfolio of specialty ingredients and applications, and strong market expertise across most segments of the food industry, including bakery, culinary, beverage, dairy and nutraceutical markets. The company has 40 highly skilled and experienced employees serving almost 1,000 customers from its headquarters in San Marcos, California. All of Gillco’s staff are expected to transition to Azelis, including the owner, Bill Gillies, who will remain with the company to ensure a seamless transition.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, after the fulfilment of customary closing conditions. Dr. Hans Joachim Muller, Azelis Chief Executive Officer, comments: “In line with our strategic vision to be the preeminent innovation service provider in all territories where we operate, we are happy to welcome Gillco to the Azelis family. This acquisition strengthens our lateral value chain for the food and nutrition market, as well as the broader life sciences segment in the US, and allows us to offer a truly compelling proposition to both principals and customers.”

Frank Bergonzi, Chief Executive Officer of Azelis Americas, adds: “Gillco, with its national reach, established market position and long-standing relationships with several blue-chip principals will give us a significantfoothold in the US food market, a strategic priority for Azelis Americas. In addition, Gillco and Azelis share a commitment to technical expertise, strong digital capabilities, and sustainability. This combination will provide many operational synergies and a platform for further growth by leveraging Azelis’ international infrastructure and global lab network.”

Bill Gillies, owner of Gillco Ingredients, remarks: “Gillco looks forward to continuing its legacy of thoughtful growth and collaboration with customers through our team of experienced and dedicated employees, and long-term relationships with our key suppliers and customers. Becoming part of Azelis, a global market leader, is a new milestone in our company’s evolution.We share similar vision and culture, and I am confident that Gillco will continue to thrive as part of the Azelis group."

We remind, Azelis, a leading global innovation service provider in the specialty chemicals and food ingredients industry, announced a new distribution agreement with Sun Chemical, a global leader in inks, coatings, pigments, and advanced materials.

EU Commission confirms good progress in MACBETH project for efficient reactors

EU Commission confirms good progress in MACBETH project for efficient reactors

The MACBETH technology project is taking shape and has received a positive interim evaluation from the EU Commission, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Shortly after the start of construction of the planned demonstration plant in Marl, the Commission had the progress of the project evaluated. The auditors were very satisfied with the project, which was launched in 2020 and is the largest EU-funded project coordinated by Evonik.

The aim of MACBETH is to develop reactors that make important large-scale chemical reactions such as hydroformylation significantly more energy-efficient. Membranes and catalysts play a central role in this (MACBETH stands for Membranes And Catalysts Beyond Economic and Technological Hurdles).

"The project is exceptionally well managed. It is very large and has ambitious goals that are being enthusiastically driven by the project leaders and their partners," says Assessor Annette Juhr, professor of process engineering at Beuth University in Berlin. Accordingly, considerable efforts were made to avoid jeopardizing the project's anticipated success, in light of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

A central goal of the project is sustainability. Greenhouse gas emissions from important large-volume industrial processes could be reduced by up to 35 percent, with an increase in resource and energy efficiency of up to 70 percent. MACBETH thus makes an important contribution to the European Green Deal. This significant potential has also been recognized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. On its behalf, MACBETH was included in a brochure of just ten success projects that are being funded under the broad EU framework program Horizon 2020.

"The project has already succeeded in bringing the technology of catalytic membrane reactors closer to industrial implementation," explains Professor Dr. Robert Franke, project coordinator of the overall MACBETH project and head of hydroformylation research at Evonik. The mechanical completion of the demonstration plant is scheduled for Q3 2023.

In hydroformylation, unsaturated hydrocarbons - so-called olefins - are converted into aldehydes using synthesis gas - a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Aldehydes, in turn, are important intermediates on the way to higher alcohols, organic acids or esters, which are then used, for example, as plasticizers in plastics or as surfactants.

We remind, the U.S. imposed sanctions on companies it accused of playing a critical role in the production, sale and shipment of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum to buyers in Asia, as Washington increases pressure on Tehran.