North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a fifth straight week

North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a fifth straight week

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a fifth straight week, according to the latest freight rail data from Association of American Railroads.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended 17 June fell 6.8% year on year to 43,148, with shipments in both the US (-6.5%) and Canada (-8.4%) declining.

For the first 24 weeks of 2023 ended 17 June, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.0% year on year to 1,086,287, with the US down 4.7%, to 747,192 loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic rose 0.6% year on year to 46,491 loadings for the week ended 15 April, marking a first increase after six straight weekly declines. For the first 15 weeks of 2023 ended 15 April, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.6% year on year to 681,324, with US traffic down 6.6%, to 483,907 loadings.

Sasol and Topsoe to form a future business to accelerate global SAF production

Sasol and Topsoe to form a future business to accelerate global SAF production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sasol, the global chemicals and energy company, and Topsoe, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, have signed a landmark agreement to establish a 50/50 joint venture (subject to approval by relevant authorities), solidifying their commitment to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and contribute to global efforts in combating climate change, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Global mobility connecting people, cultures and businesses across continents allows progress and freedom, but it also comes with the challenge of carbon emissions. The aviation sector alone contributes 2-3% of global carbon emissions. Sustainable aviation fuels decarbonizing air transport are called for globally by industry and regulators. The future joint venture will ‘go beyond’ the unique combination of technologies, capabilities and deep industry experience to lay the foundation to ‘go beyond’ in the production scaling of sustainable aviation fuels.

The purpose of the Sasol Topsoe JV is to develop, build, own, and operate sustainable aviation fuel plants, and market sustainable aviation fuels derived primarily from non-fossil feedstock, utilizing green hydrogen, sustainable sources of CO2 and/or biomass with a specific focus on Sasol’s Fischer Tropsch and Topsoe’s related technologies. Together, this proven partnership intends to bring future-proof solutions to the market.

Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol President and CEO, highlighted the long-term ambitions of Sasol in sustainable aviation fuel, stating, "Sasol is delighted to join forces with Topsoe, furthering our global sustainable aviation fuel aspiration. This is an important milestone in advancing our long-term strategy to become net zero by 2050. As we transform our business to focus on decarbonization while preserving and growing value, this JV is testament to the decades of collaboration between our two companies.”

Roeland Baan, CEO at Topsoe, expressed his enthusiasm for this milestone, stating, “As part of our proven partnership, this future business is an important moment of progress at a critical time. We need to keep the world open by creating more sustainable ways of flying, and our shared commitment to accelerating sustainable aviation fuels is a vital part of this. We believe no one is better placed than the company formed by Sasol and Topsoe to deliver the means to scale SAF production”.

We remind, Sasol Chemicals has opened a new research, development, and analytics (RD&A) laboratory in Brunsbuttel, Germany. According to company information, the Brunsbuttel facility focuses on advanced and sustainable solutions for Sasol’s key markets – including metalworking and lubrication as well as coatings. Planning and construction of the 7000-square-meter facility began in April 2019. It has capacity for 140 employees, with 33 offices and 82 evaluation stations. Using its advanced equipment, the facility’s skilled workforce will be able to analyse up to 200,0000 samples a year.

Idemitsu Kosan to expand production of solid electrolytes in Japan

Idemitsu Kosan to expand production of solid electrolytes in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd. (Tokyo) will increase the production capacity of Plant 1 (launched in November 2021), small pilot facilities for solid electrolytes (planned completion: within fiscal 2024), in order to expand the use of all-solid-state lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, said Chemengonline.

In addition, Plant 2, comprising small pilot facilities, will start operation in July this year. The company will steadily supply solid electrolytes to car/battery manufacturers and others who are developing all solid-state batteries.

All-solid-state batteries are expected to be put to practical use and their expansion, mainly as a technology to meet the performance needs of electric vehicles (EVs), such as longer cruising range, shorter recharging time, and improved safety. Car/battery manufacturers, etc., are accelerating development, which in turn is driving material needs even higher.

We remind, Idemitsu SM (ISM) and Petrochemicals P(M), Malaysia, subsidiaries of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., successfully obtains the ISCC PLUS certification, an international certification system for sustainable products, for the production of styrene monomer and polystyrene.

Lanxess shares plunge to three-year low after company cuts outlook

Lanxess shares plunge to three-year low after company cuts outlook

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Specialty chemicals company LANXESS expects second quarter 2023 EBITDA pre exceptionals to remain below average market expectations, said the company.

Therefore, the company adjusts the outlook for FY 2023 downward as well. EBITDA pre exceptionals for the second quarter 2023 is expected to amount to around EUR 100 million which is below current average market expectations.

Generally very weak demand combined with continued customer de-stocking effects already seen in the first quarter lasted into the second quarter and are ongoing. Especially demand weakness in the construction industry, electro/electronics and even from usually stable consumer related products, burden utilization and earnings. A recovery within the month of June is not visible.

LANXESS had formerly expected Q2 2023 EBITDA pre exceptionals roughly on par with Q1 results and a FY 2023 EBITDA pre exceptionals between EUR 850-950 million. LANXESS now expects the weakness to continue in the second half of 2023. Hence, the company also adjusts its full-year expectations. Should trading not pick up, LANXESS now expects a profitability level of EUR 600 to 650 million EBITDA pre exceptionals for FY 2023.

“The demand recovery we originally expected in the second half is not yet visible – neither in China nor in other meaningful end markets. This impacts us especially in Germany: Here we are massively impacted by the disadvantageous conditions such as the high energy prices and massive bureaucracy. In times of weak demand Germany as an industrial location is just not competitive”, said Matthias Zachert, CEO of LANXESS.

LANXESS will release its results for the second quarter 2023 on August 4, 2023.

We remind, LANXESS has doubled its production capacity for benzyl alcohol at its site in Kalama, WA, US, to support the growth of its established customer base in the Americas. The capacity expansion is the result of various technical upgrades. LANXESS also produces benzyl alcohol at its sites in Krefeld-Uerdingen (Germany), Botlek (Netherlands), and Nagda (India).

Röhm launches PLEXIGLAS proTerra molding compounds

Röhm launches PLEXIGLAS proTerra molding compounds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rohm has now expanded its proTerra product range to include PLEXIGLAS® proTerra molding compounds, said the company.

They combine the proven performance of the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) PLEXIGLAS® brand with a lower carbon footprint. “All material manufacturers face the same requirements on the market: achieving a lower carbon footprint and higher recyclable content, all with no loss in performance. In response to this, we have developed our PLEXIGLAS® proTerra molding compounds,” says Sven Schrobel, Head of Sustainability Management at Rohm GmbH’s Molding Compounds business unit.

Rohm offers customers two different ways to lower their product carbon footprint: PLEXIGLAS® proTerra M5 contains mechanically recycled PMMA, while in PLEXIGLAS® proTerra 8N, fossil resources have been replaced with raw materials certified under ISCC PLUS (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification). “With these two options, we now offer PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds that help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals,” says Siamak Djafarian, Senior Vice President Molding Compounds at Rohm. “Sustainability is an integral component of our business strategy at Rohm.”

We remind, Rohm (Darmstadt, Germany) is further driving the growth of the company by the additional expansion of capacities for impact-resistant PLEXIGLAS, the brand polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) from Rohm. A new section is currently being added to a plant producing impact-resistant PLEXIGLAS Resist special molding compounds in Worms.