Dow and Evonik announce startup of hydrogen peroxide to propylene glycol pilot plant

Dow and Evonik announce startup of hydrogen peroxide to propylene glycol pilot plant

MRC -- Dow and Evonik are proud to announce the successful start-up and operation of a pioneering hydrogen peroxide to propylene glycol (HPPG) pilot plant at Evonik’s site in Hanau, Germany, said Chemeurope.

Collaboratively developed by Dow and Evonik, the plant uses the distinct HYPROSYN® method to enable the direct synthesis of propylene glycol (PG) from hydrogen peroxide and propylene.

“At Dow, we believe in collaborating with our customers and other stakeholders to create, innovate and find solutions to big challenges. So, I am delighted to see this plant become operational through this collaboration,” said Andrew Jones, global business director for Chlor-Alkali Vinyl & Propylene Oxide, Propylene Glycol, at Dow. “With this innovative technology and flexible asset and business model, we are well positioned to meet our customers’ needs and growing market demand.”

“At Evonik Active Oxygens, we put sustainability at the core of futurizing our business. This relies not only on innovative technologies, but also the ability to scale these up and bring them to market,” remarked Michael Traxler, head of Evonik’s Active Oxygens business line. “That’s where excellent strategic partnerships come into play. The startup of this pilot plant in Hanau thus not only represents a major technological milestone in our efforts to make industry more sustainable, it is also a prime example of how cross-company collaboration, like this partnership with Dow, is essential to driving sustainable solutions.”

The pilot plant will demonstrate the benefits of the novel technology. In contrast to the traditional process, where propylene is used to make propylene oxide (PO), which is converted to PG through hydrolysis, the HYPROSYN® process uses a novel catalytic system to generate PG directly from propylene and hydrogen peroxide. The integration of all key reaction stages in a single reactor eliminates the need for additional investments in PO capacity and lowers capital requirements. The process also enables a reduced environmental footprint, e.g., water consumption is reduced to less than 5% compared to conventional PG methods. In addition, existing PG plants can be retrofitted to benefit from this new technology.

Propylene glycol serves as an essential ingredient such as a high-performing additive, intermediate, or initiator in a wide range of applications — including industrial, food and animal feed, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Over the next few years, the Dow and Evonik teams will continuously evaluate the plant’s operations and capabilities to scale up manufacturing, in support of growing market demand.

We remind, Evonik has signed an agreement to develop, scale up and produce proprietary fixed bed catalysts for mobile applications of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies’ proprietary liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology based on benzyl toluene.

Celanese announced a series of new leadership appointments

Celanese announced a series of new leadership appointments

MRC -- Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and specialty materials company, announced a series of new leadership appointments across its Executive Leadership Team (ELT), said the company.

• Scott Richardson has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective November 8, 2023, with responsibility for Engineered Materials, the Acetyl Chain, manufacturing, supply chain, and procurement. Scott has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Celanese since February of 2018. Since joining Celanese in 2005, Scott has also served as Senior Vice President of Engineered Materials, Vice President and General Manager of the Acetyl Chain, Acetyls Global Commercial Director, and in a variety of business, finance, and investor relations roles.

• Chuck Kyrish will join the ELT and has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective November 8, 2023. Chuck is currently serving as Vice President of Corporate Finance with responsibility for accounting, treasury, internal audit, and tax. Since joining Celanese in 2006, Chuck has also served as Chief Financial Officer Acetyl Chain, Vice President Investor Relations, Vice President M&A and Integration Finance, Vice President and Treasurer, and in a variety of other finance roles.

• Anne (Lynne) Puckett will step down from her role Senior Vice President and General Counsel and will serve in a transition role through early 2024 after which she will depart after 5 years with Celanese. Ashley Duffie has been selected to succeed Lynne as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, effective November 8, 2023. Ashley is currently serving as Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer. Since joining Celanese in 2007, Ashley has served as President and General Counsel APAC Region, Vice President of the Integration Management Office, Chief Compliance Officer, and Associate General Counsel Global Litigation and EHS Law. Prior to joining Celanese, Ashley was an attorney with Haynes and Boone, LLP, specializing in environmental law, internal corporate investigations, and litigation.

All other members of the Celanese ELT will maintain their current roles. In addition to supporting Scott in enhancing the earnings growth of the businesses, Lori Ryerkerk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will have direct leadership for strategy, M&A, finance, legal, HR, and IT.

We remind, Celanese will idle eight units in its Engineered Materials segment, while running many other plants at reduced rates, the US-based producer said on Monday. Celanese did not specify which units it will idle, what products they make or how long they will remain down. Out of the idled plants, six are in Mobility & Materials (M&M), a business that Celanese acquired from DuPont. The remaining two predated the M&M acquisition.

SK Innovation turns to profit on crude cuts

SK Innovation turns to profit on crude cuts

MRC -- SK Innovation swung back into black in the third quarter on the back of rising crude prices and refining margins, while its battery-making subsidiary, SK On, again failed to turn a profit, said Koreajoongangdaily.

However, as SK On’s quarterly operating loss has narrowed to the smallest ever, SK Innovation expects its money-losing battery maker to turn to profit in the fourth quarter.

According to a regulatory filing Friday, SK Innovation posted 1.56 trillion won ($1.16 billion) in operating profit for the July to September period, up 122 percent from the same period last year and a turnaround from the previous quarter’s operating loss of 106.8 billion won.

The figure beat the market expectation of 1.05 trillion won compiled by FnGuide.

Net profit jumped 316.6 percent to 729.6 billion won, above the expectation of 613.4 billion won.

Revenue declined 12.59 percent on-year to 19.89 trillion won, falling short of the forecast of 20.04 trillion won.

SK On logged an operating loss of 86.1 billion won in the third quarter, the smallest quarterly loss for the battery maker and revenue of 3.17 trillion won, up 45 percent on year.

“In the third quarter, we realized a consolidated operating margin of 7.9 percent, up 8.4 percentage points from the previous quarter,” SK Innovation said in a release.

The company cited the profitability increase in the oil refining business driven by OPEC+’s crude production cuts and the enhanced productivity in the battery business, as well as added tax benefits from the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit (AMPC).

“With the battery business, we are aiming to turn to profit in the fourth quarter through the continued productivity enhancement at new production operations overseas, the tax benefit increases from the AMPC and cost reduction,” the company added.

During the July to September period, SK On received AMPC benefits worth 209.9 billion won under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act program. That surpasses the combined total of the preceding two quarters by far, which amounted to 47.2 billion won in the first quarter and 119.8 billion won in the second.

SK Innovation’s petroleum business logged an operating profit of 1.11 trillion won in the third quarter, a turnaround from the previous quarter’s loss of 411.2 billion won, as OPEC+ members have continued to limit the global crude oil production.

We remind, SK Innovation will invest about Korean won (W) 1.7tr ($1.2bn) to build a plastic chemical recycling complex in Ulsan, South Korea by the second half of 2025. The complex, which is expected to have a recycling capacity of about 250,000 tonnes/year, will be built at a 215,000sqm site and will have three chemical recycling processes, namely, high-purity polypropylene (PP) extraction, depolymerisation and pyrolysis.

Solvay Q3 EBITDA decreased by 23.5%

Solvay Q3 EBITDA decreased by 23.5%

MRC -- Belgium-based Solvay’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 23.5% year on year in the third quarter, driven by lower volumes, the company said.

In € million Q3 2023 Q3 2022 % change 9-month 2023 9-month 2022 % change; Net sales 2,747 3,609 -23.9 9,001 10,141 -11.2; EBITDA 702 917 -23.5 2,331 2,493 -6.5; --Q3 chemicals sales dropped to €993m from €1,236m in the same quarter of last year.

--The fall on Q3 net sales was due to -15% lower volumes (€-512m) in a weaker macro environment and -5% lower prices (€-188m) in a context of lower raw material costs and energy prices. The volume reduction was broad based across regions and businesses.

--The underlying EBITDA margin stood at 25.6% in Q3 2023 compared to 25.4% in Q3 2022 despite lower volumes, while nine months EBITDA margin of 25.9% is +1.3 percentage points higher than the corresponding period in previous year, mainly as a result of positive net pricing and cost discipline.

--The company reconfirms its full year EBITDA guidance at the lower end of €2.9-3.1bn range.

--The company is on track to complete the planned separation into two companies – SOLVAY and SYENSQO - in December 2023.

We remind, Solvay announced its plans to lower the production capacity of its soda ash plant in Torrelavega, Spain by 300,000 tonnes/y to 600,000 tonnes/y, effective Jan 2024. The site will now concentrate on serving the needs of regional soda ash and premium grade sodium bicarbonate customers.

Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

Arkema starts up its specialty UV/LED curing resins' capacity expansion in China

MRC -- Arkema has begun production of Sartomer® specialty UV/LED curing resins at its expanded facility in Nansha, China, where the Group invested to double the capacity, as announced end-2021, said the company.

This will support the development of more sustainable solutions for fast-growing applications in Asian markets, such as cutting-edge solutions in electronics, driven by 5G technology, and in renewable energies.

The Nansha capacity expansion leverages the most recent process and manufacturing standards. The whole plant has an energy efficiency program, and aims at carbon neutral growth through green electricity purchasing and the installation of solar panels.

“Doubling the capacity of the Nansha plant will allow us to support the growth, innovation and regional supply of our customers in Asia. The accelerating need for lower carbon solutions is creating new opportunities for the UV/LED curing technology, which is expanding fast to a wider range of substrates and applications” said Richard Jenkins, Senior Vice-President of Arkema’s Coating Solutions.

We remind, Arkema collaborates with industry leaders including EOS, HP and Stratasys, to continue offering customers more sustainable, high-performance materials for additive manufacturing. This is particularly true of its bio-sourced Rilsan® Polyamide 11, for which the Group recently announced a further reduction in the carbon footprint of all its grades globally. This initiative represents an improvement of around 70% compared to traditional polyamide resins produced using fossil-based raw materials and conventional energy sources.