Dow and Procter & Gamble to develop a new proprietary recycling technology targeting hard-to-recycle plastic waste

Dow and Procter & Gamble to develop a new proprietary recycling technology targeting hard-to-recycle plastic waste

Dow and the Procter & Gamble Company announced a joint development agreement to create a new recycling technology to enable efficient conversion of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging into recycled polyethylene with near-virgin quality and a low greenhouse gas emissions footprint, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

To create the new technology, the companies will combine their patented technologies and know-how in the dissolution process. The development program will focus on using dissolution technology to recycle a broad range of plastic materials with a focus on polyethylene and targeting post-household plastic waste (especially rigids, flexible and multi-layer packaging, which are harder to recycle).

The technology aims to deliver high quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) polymer with a lower greenhouse gas emissions footprint than fossil-based polyethylene. P&G anticipates using this PCR polymer in their packaging, thereby enabling a path to circularity which helps maximize resource utility and reduces materials treated as waste.

The global partnership between Dow and P&G begins immediately and is expected to run until commercialization.

In addition to the patented technologies, both Dow and P&G bring decades of expertise in materials science, manufacturing capabilities and large-scale supply chain management. These areas of expertise will be important in the development of this new recycling technology that can be deployed at commercial manufacturing scale.

“Dow is committed to transforming plastic waste into circular solutions that can be made into high quality resins demanded by our customers while helping to accelerate a circular economy. We are excited to work with P&G who has similar sustainability goals and commitment to innovation,” said Dave Parrillo, vice president for Research & Development, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics and Hydrocarbons.

"Our partnership with Dow helps P&G advance our objective to scale industry solutions as we help create a circular future where materials are recycled and remade instead of becoming waste," added Lee Ellen Drechsler, senior vice president of Corporate Research and Development at Procter & Gamble.

Both Dow and P&G have bold ambitions to accelerate circularity. Dow has a sustainability target to Transform the Waste and commercialize three million metric tons of circular and renewable solutions by 2030, and P&G's vision is to use 100% consumer packaging designed to be recycled or reusable by 2030.

We remind, Dow has formulated a breakthrough option of polyolefin elastomers (POE) based artificial leather - a solution to address the automotive industry’s need to shift towards increasingly animal-free product alternatives to leather, said the company. The POE alternative leather option has been commercialized by HIUV Materials Technology, a China-based partner and qualified by an electric car manufacturer in their auto seatings application.

Ryanair purchases 1,000 tons of SAF from Shell

Ryanair purchases 1,000 tons of SAF from Shell

Ryanair announced that it has purchased 1,000 tons of SAF from global energy group, Shell, and will be supplied to the airline at its Stansted Airport base, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This purchase follows the MoU agreement made between the companies in 2022, providing Ryanair with unique access to purchase up to 360,000 tons of SAF from Shell between 2025 and 2030, which could save up to 900,000 tons in CO2 emissions1.

Today’s announcement, as part of an event showcasing the tools Ryanair is using to decarbonize, demonstrates Ryanair’s continued commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. Ryanair has already significantly advanced its decarbonization commitments through its work with Trinity College Dublin in the Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre, and by investing heavily in new technology aircraft, including a $22bn investment in its ‘Gamechanger’ fleet, which reduce CO2 emissions by 16%, and a further $40bn investment for 300 Boeing 737 MAX-10 aircraft which reduce CO2 emissions by 20% and noise by 50% while carrying 21% more passengers.

Speaking at Stansted Airport, Ryanair’s Director of Sustainability and Finance, Thomas Fowler said: “Ryanair continues to lead the way in sustainable aviation. As demonstrated today at Stansted, by using SAF, the latest engine technologies and electric ground handling equipment, we are making significant investments to decarbonize our operations and achieve our commitments of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 25% less CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2031. Our partners at Shell and MAG are key enablers of these goals, and today’s announcement of Ryanair’s purchase of 1,000 tons of SAF from Shell is testament to that. We will continue to work with our partners across the network to make every Ryanair flight as environmentally efficient as possible.”

We remind, Shell Chemicals and petrochemical company Braskem have entered an agreement to bring bio-attributed and bio-circular polypropylene to the US market. Shell will supply the feedstocks to allow Braskem to manufacture polypropylene for sustainable options to meet growing consumer demand in the packaging, film, automotive and consumer goods markets. Shell is replacing hydrocarbon feedstock with a bio-attributed and bio-circular feedstock in its polypropylene product.

Avtovaz begins assembling Lada cars in Azerbaijan

Avtovaz begins assembling Lada cars in Azerbaijan

JSC Avtovaz has launched a project to assemble Lada cars in Azerbaijan and plans to assemble 1,500 cars in the country in 2024, the Russian automaker's press service said, as per Interfax.

Avtovaz said that it has organized a receiving area for vehicle kits, an assembly shop, and a parking lot for storing finished cars at one of the production sites in Azerbaijan. Personnel specially hired as part of the project have received the necessary training from specialists from Togliatti.

Avtovaz head Maxim Sokolov said that the Lada production site in Azerbaijan could produce up to 1,500 cars this year.

"We are starting with Granta, and plan to expand the range of local production by the end of 2024 with the Niva Legend and Travel family; and test samples have already been assembled and are undergoing a quality audit, as well as the Vesta family. The annual production output could reach up to 4,000-5,000 cars in the next few years," Avtovaz's press service quoted Sokolov as saying.

Launching local production in Azerbaijan should assist Lada in returning its market share in the country to the pre-crisis levels, and in boosting the brand's presence, Sokolov said.

We remind, production of all types of motor vehicles increased 16% in Russia in 2023 to 720,000 units. Last year production increased 16%; over 720,000 cars from different segments rolled off assembly lines in our country. In total, over 1.3 million cars of all types were sold on the domestic market.

Oil refining capacities in Russia sufficient for supplying domestic market

Oil refining capacities in Russia sufficient for supplying domestic market

Russian oil refining has sufficient capacity to supply the domestic market with fuels, Gazprom Neft chief Alexander Dyukov told reporters, as per Interfax.

Commenting on the idea of increasing the capacity of refineries located closer to the east, he noted: "Theoretically, it is possible to build another refinery. But we are not considering such a possibility. We believe that the existing capacities are enough to supply the domestic market with diesel fuel and gasoline."

According to Dyukov, the Omsk refinery after modernization provides a refining depth of virtually 100%. "We 'squeeze' the maximum possible volume of gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products from oil there," the Gazprom Neft head said.

He added that Gazprom Neft has increased the production of petroleum products at its refineries, without specifying the volumes.

We remind, Gazprom is sticking to its goal of achieving 100% of the technically possible level of network gasification by 2030, and is actively working with the regions via five-year programs, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Gazprom Oleg Aksyutin said in an article in the company's corporate magazine. "It is expected that due to gasification and post-gasification alone, the increase in demand in the domestic market could reach nearly 20 bcm by 2030," the article says.

PE market is in the extended downcycle of low operating rates and margins

PE market is in the extended downcycle of low operating rates and margins

The polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) markets are both in the midst of an extended downcycle of low operating rates and margins sparked by massive overbuilding and delayed rationalization, according to industry experts who spoke at the World Petrochemical Conference by S&P Global, as per Chemweek.

“By our estimation, [the polyethylene] industry went into a downcycle in the second half of 2022, and the conditions that drove us there persist,” said Jesse Tijerina, head of global polyolefins at S&P Global Commodity Insights. “It’s this oversupply that we’ve been talking about … and then also [the] somewhat weaker global economic demand that we experienced in ‘23 and expect it to go into ‘24 as well. Much like in ethylene, there is additional excess capacity still planned in the next three years, which complicates the matter from a recovery perspective. Without action, these conditions will continue to put pressure on profitability, and we think this could go into 2027 or beyond.”

PE capacity additions outpaced demand growth by 13.5 million metric tons (MMt) over the last four years, Tijerina noted, pulling the global operating rate down from 87% in 2020 to 79% in 2023. Under current demand projections, this excess capacity will not be absorbed for another two or three years; meanwhile, more new capacity is slated for start-up, so the operating rate will remain mired near 80% through 2027.

China is the major contributor to the excess, accounting for 53% of the new capacity anticipated in 2020–27, while the rest of Asia accounts for just 11%. However, demand in China, which averaged nearly 6.5% over the last 10 years, is forecast to slow to just over 4% during the next 10 years. Demand will grow by nearly 8% in South Asia and nearly 6% in Southeast Asia.

The supply/demand imbalance has weighed heavily on PE margins, and regional divergence has been compounded by high crude oil pricing. Tijerina noted that integrated cash margins for naphtha-based production of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in Asia fell deep into negative territory during 2022–23, and they are forecast to remain negative until 2030. In contrast, margins for ethane-based producers in the US are forecast to narrow through 2026, but they will remain positive near $500 per metric ton, and by 2030, they will bounce back to around $1,000 per metric ton.

With the current downcycle for the PE market already nearly two years long, a V-shaped recovery in profitability is no longer an option, and a U-shaped recovery seems increasingly unlikely, said Tijerina. “We’re likely into an L-shape recovery, and the real question is, how long is this going to take? When we look at our supply fundamentals … it suggests that meaningful action has to be taken now… Delaying projects closer to the upcycle or canceling them altogether is an action that would definitely help. And then, of course, the much-talked-about rationalization as well.”

Several issues affect the pace of rationalization. “Number one, owners generally have an emotional attachment to their assets, and this, in a way, is [a] headwind to rationalization,” Tijerina observed. “Most companies feel that they can weather the storm and that others will not be able to.” By the same token, rationalization is easier following an acquisition or a takeover. “Generally, this is because the new owner is not as emotionally attached to the assets,” he said. “Even if the owners are inclined to rationalize, there’s often resistance from labor unions or local governments.”

Tijerina reminded the WPC audience that while the duration of the downcycle in PE is difficult to predict, it will ultimately end. “Polyethylene will continue to enjoy healthy growth by our estimations [equivalent to] six to eight world-scale polyethylene units per year.”

We remind, Shantou Mingca Packaging Co Ltd and ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Research & Development Co., Ltd (ExxonMobil) announced an innovative double bubble Polyethylene-based Shrink Film solution, the next generation of Polyolefin Shrink Film, created using ultra-low density Exceed XP performance polyethylene. PEF can be used to package products in a variety of shapes, such as electronics, household and personal care products, medicines, food, books and magazines, plastic utensils, and toys.