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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Scientists develop a way to predict corrosion from crude oil

Using X-ray techniques, scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are developing an analysis tool that can more accurately predict how sulphur compounds in a batch of crude oil might corrode equipment– an important safety issue for the oil industry.
The results of these ongoing experiments at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will improve industry guidelines. The goal is to characterize the types of sulphur that are most critical to identify in the oil, in order to better anticipate the potential for corrosion rates.
A team of researchers from Chevron Corporation and the University of Saskatchewan are performing a series of studies at SSRL to closely examine forms of sulphur in crude oil.
“By looking at crude oil with a combination of X-ray spectroscopy techniques, we were able to examine and describe the complex chemistry of the sulphur compounds with high specificity,” said Monica Barney, a materials research engineer at Chevron.
Difficulties in the data
Nearly a million barrels of oil are processed on a given day at Chevron’s major refineries throughout the US, and the sulphur present in the oil can react with the metals in various types of equipment and cause damage. These reactions are something engineers must consider to ensure safe and reliable processing.
But high sulphur concentrations don’t always correlate with high levels of corrosion, or the other way around, and this makes it difficult to anticipate how corrosive a particular crude oil will be.
“We can measure the concentration of sulphur, but it doesn’t tell you about the reactivity,” says Barney, who is leading the studies. “Knowing the type of sulphur in crude oil is critically important for predicting properties related to corrosion.”
The collaboration began when Barney was working on a separate corrosion study at SSRL. After collecting the data, the Chevron team was struggling with how to interpret the complexities they saw in the results.
In an online search, they came across a diagram developed by two professors at the University of Saskatchewan, Graham George and Ingrid Pickering, while they were on the staff at SSRL. They have conducted molecular biology and toxicology experiments at the SSRL synchrotron for years.
The diagram showed spectroscopy information gathered from the superimposition of data on many sulphur types, similar to what’s seen in crude oil. It showed how comparing an overall spectrum to a library of standards could identify individual types of compounds.   

Trinseo to open new R&D facility in Netherlands

Trinseo (TSE) said that it opening its new research and development (R&D) site in Terneuzen, Netherlands, as part of its huge investment into the company’s future.
By modernizing two existing technical support center and research lab operations under one roof in Terneuzen, Trinseo has created a new plastics research center that will house 180 non-manufacturing employees. This collaborative environment will help drive new plastics innovations within the company.
The new facility will combine Trinseo’s European Development Center for Plastics with its supporting functions like supply chain, environmental health & safety, quality and procurement, forming one of the company’s European logistical centers.
Trinseo already produces a range of products on the Terneuzen site, including styrene monomer, polycarbonate, polycarbonate acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS), ABS, and latex binders. These materials are produced to serve a range of industries, including automotive, construction and consumer products.
This new site will make the Terneuzen site the joint largest in Europe alongside Schkopau, Germany and bring a range of knowledge and expertise together; facilitating the creation of new innovations and providing a significant investment in the company’s future.

ONGC appoints current technical director as new chairman

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), India's biggest oil and gas producer has appointed Shashi Shanker as its chairman and managing director (CMD).
Shanker, is currently the director (technical and field services), ONGC, will take over the charge as CMD from October 1.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet under the Government of India has approved his appointment to the post of CMD, till the date of his retirement, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. Shanker, 56, will have a nearly four-year term until March 2021.

Making concrete from wood

Researchers from the National Research Programme "Resource Wood" have developed a type of concrete that largely consists of wood. The building material offers the construction industry new possibilities and is based in large part on renewable resources.
Houses can be made of wood, as they were in the past – or of concrete, as they are today. To build for tomorrow, the two building methods are being combined: these hybrid structures, which contain both wood and concrete elements, are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary architecture.
In the context of the National Resource Programme "Resource Wood" (NRP 66), Swiss researchers have now developed an even more radical approach to combining wood and concrete: they are fabricating a load-bearing concrete which itself consists largely of wood. In many blends, the volume fraction of the wood is over 50 percent.
Cement-bonded wood products have been around for more than a hundred years. Yet previously they were used only for non-load-bearing purposes, such as insulation. Daia Zwicky, head of the institute for building and environmental technologies at the school of engineering and architecture of Fribourg, wondered whether it wasn't time for a more ambitious use of wood-based concrete.
Floating concrete
Together with his team, Zwicky experimented with the content and granularity of the wood as well as diverse additives and subsequently subjected the various blends to rigorous tests. The main difference from classical concrete is that the gravel and sand content is replaced with finely ground wood. In other words, sawdust rather than small stones is mixed in with the cement. Thanks to the high wood content, the new building materials show good flame retardance and act as thermal insulation.
"They weigh at most half of what normal concrete weighs – the lightest of them even float!" said Zwicky. Moreover, as the materials are based largely on renewable resources, after dismantling they can be reused as a source of heat and electricity. The wood content can be burnt in waste incineration, although for everyday use it conforms to fire protection standards.

Air Liquide acquires healthcare firm in Japan

Air Liquide SA is expanding its healthcare business in Japan with the acquisition of Sogo Sangyo Kabushiki Kaisha (SSKK), a major Japanese player with a strong presence in the home healthcare and medical gases markets especially in the Tokyo region.
Present in the Japanese market for 60 years, SSKK is specialized in the medical gases field serving more than 2,000 hospitals and clinics and home treatment for patients suffering from respiratory diseases including sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic respiratory failure.
This acquisition represents a major development of the healthcare activity locally where it increases the number of patients served at home by Air Liquide in Japan to reach 20,000.
SSKK has more than 150 employees, Air Liquide will rely on the commitment of the teams in place to pursue the development of SSKK business.
With this acquisition, Air Liquide strengthens its footprint in Japan both in medical gases to hospitals and in-home healthcare business.

Cargill completes acquisition of Southern States’ animal feed business

Cargill completes the acquisition of Southern States Cooperative, Inc’s animal feed business.
Under the agreement, Cargill purchased the assets of Southern States Cooperative’s animal feed business, including seven feed mills and its portfolio of products, brands and customer and supplier relationships. The other segments of Southern States Cooperative’s business – retail, farm supply, energy, and agronomy – are not part of the transaction.
The acquisition strengthens Cargill’s distribution and go-to-market capabilities in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of US and provides a pathway for continued growth across the region. In addition to the acquisition, Cargill has completed a long-term supply agreement with Southern States for Cargill to supply its retail stores with Southern States branded feed.
“The combination of CFN US and Southern States Cooperative’s animal feed business will help us grow with customers and best meet their ever-changing needs,” said Mark Lueking, US managing director, Cargill feed and nutrition.

Eastman licenses bio-based FDCA technology to Origin Materials

Eastman Chemical Company have entered into a non-exclusive license agreement with Origin Materials (formerly known as Micromidas), to license its proprietary 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and FDCA derivatives production technology from renewable resources.
Origin also recently purchased an oxidation pilot plant from Eastman that will enable Origin to demonstrate the licensed technology.
FDCA has been identified by US Department of Energy as one of the top 12 bio-based building blocks and can be converted into a number of high-value chemicals or materials. FDCA can be used to produce polymer resins, films, and fibres and as a building block for plasticizers. The largest initial FDCA applications are expected to be to make 100 percent bio-based plastics, such as polyethylene furanoate (PEF) for beverage containers and food packaging.
Eastman has developed key technologies for economically competitive conversion of 5-(hydroxymethyl) furfural (5-HMF) and its derivatives to crude FDCA, polymer grade FDCA and polymer grade dimethylfuran-2,5-dicarboxylate (DMF). Eastman’s technology is broadly flexible in terms of feedstocks and provides efficient production of crude FDCA, polymer grade FDCA and polymer grade DMF.
“Eastman’s technology provides robust and multiple integrated engineering options for commercialization. This agreement leverages the world-class FDCA production technologies we have developed over the last several years.” Eastman is actively pursuing a broad intellectual property strategy with dozens of US and foreign patents awarded or pending,” said Eastman’s Damon Warmack, senior VP of corporate development and chemical intermediates.

Westlake Chemical acquires additional 5 pc stake in OpCo

Westlake Chemical Partners LP (WLKP) has agreed to acquire an additional 5 percent interest in Westlake Chemical OpCo LP (OpCo) for approximately $229.2 million.
This transaction will increase the Westlake’s limited partner interest in OpCo from approximately 13.3 percent to approximately 18.3 percent and will represent the second purchase of additional interests in OpCo by Westlake since its initial public offering.
OpCo’s assets are comprised of three ethylene production facilities, which primarily convert ethane into ethylene and have an aggregate annual capacity of approximately 3.7 billion pounds and a 200-mile ethylene pipeline.
OpCo sells approximately 95 percent of its ethylene production to Westlake Chemical Corporation under a long-term supply agreement, which provides for a stable $0.10 margin per pound.
“The acquisition of this additional interest in OpCo, which provides a high-quality, stable, fee-based earnings stream, represents just one of a number of levers we can use to grow our distributions over time. In addition to purchasing increased interests in OpCo, the partnership can pursue organic growth opportunities such as capacity expansions in OpCo’s ethylene production facilities and acquisitions of other qualified assets from third parties,” said Albert Chao, president and chief executive officer, Westlake Chemical Partners LP.

New additive enhances CO2 conversion to multicarbon fuels

Chemists have figured out a new, more efficient way to create carbon-based fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2). In chemical reactions performed in the lab, a Caltech team has identified a new additive that helps selectively convert CO2 into fuels containing multiple carbon atoms-a step toward ultimately making renewable liquid fuels that are not derived from coal or oil.
"The results were quite shocking," said Jonas Peters, Bren professor of chemistry at Caltech and director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, who jointly led the research in collaboration with Theodor Agapie, professor of chemistry at Caltech. "Usually, in these types of reactions with CO2, you see a lot of by-products like methane and hydrogen. In this case, the reaction was highly selective for the more desirable fuels that contain multiple carbons—such as ethylene, ethanol, and propanol. We saw an 80 percent conversion to these multi-carbon fuel products, with only 20 percent or so going into hydrogen and methane."
Fuels with multiple carbon atoms are more desirable because they tend to be liquid—and liquid fuels store more energy per volume than gaseous ones. For instance, propanol, which is liquid and contains three carbon atoms, stores more energy than methane, which is a gas and only has one carbon atom.

Valent launches new sustainable solutions business unit

Valent USA LLC, a leading crop protection firm has launched the sustainable solutions business unit, a new division within the company. The unit is completely dedicated to supporting the industry in the adoption and integration of sustainable production practices for crop protection, productivity and yield enhancement products and technologies.
Ron Maitoza, the newly appointed director for the sustainable solutions business unit, will lead a dedicated team of 10 sustainable solutions specialists from across the country.
Together, they will work with established customers and key stakeholders within the industry to provide education and technical support to accelerate the adoption of integrated crop management solutions that include both traditional and biorational systems.
As a market leader in the delivery of biologically-based crop protection and enhancement solutions, Valent and its parent company, Sumitomo Chemical, have held a long-standing commitment to sustainability and the concept of integrated production practices.

University, Australian firm collaborate for scientific research

University of Huddersfield scientist Dr Jason Camp is investigating the potential of a non-toxic, environmentally sustainable solvent produced from waste cellulose that promises to be a greener way to produce a wide range of medicines and other products. The project has also offered an exceptional opportunity for some of his most talented students to take part in cutting-edge, published research.
Camp – a senior lecturer in the University’s department of chemical sciences – has been collaborating with Australian-based firm Circa Group, which produces the solvent that it has named Cyrene (tm). Production of Cyrene is a joint venture between Circa and Norske Skog, the Norwegian pulp and paper manufacturer.
Many of the solvents currently used in chemical processes are problematic because they are toxic or pose environmental risks. In the search for more sustainable, safer processes, cellulose-based Cyrene has emerged as a strong candidate and is proving to be a viable replacement for the more toxic polar aprotic solvents (NMP, DCM, DMAC). The recent work undertaken by Camp and his team has shown it can be used as a solvent in the synthesis of ureas – chemical compounds that are highly important in fields such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.
"The work Camp and his team are doing is an important step towards further “greening" the chemicals supply chain.” commented Circa CEO, Tony Duncan, "These are important markets, and with the ongoing demand from society for safer products and processes, work like this from talented researchers is practical and highly valued. These initial results have shown very promising results and we will now work with the team to take the research to a developmental stage"

Syngenta, Plaintiffs reach settlement in corn traits launch litigation

Plaintiffs and offenders in the Syngenta MIR 162 corn litigation have reached a pending settlement to resolve litigation concerning the launch of Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade corn traits.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, would establish a settlement fund for the submission of claims by eligible claimants who contracted to price corn or corn by-products after September 15, 2013.  Information concerning the settlement fund, claims process, and other details will become available after the parties execute and submit the proposed settlement agreement and other papers to the court later this year.

CB&I bags Phillips 66 storage terminal expansion contract in Texas

Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) has been awarded a contract by Phillips 66 Company to increase storage capacity at Phillips 66's liquid products terminal in Nederland, Texas.
CB&I's scope of work includes the engineering, procurement, fabrication and erection of three large crude oil storage tanks with external steel pontoon-type floating roofs.
"This is our third project for Phillips 66 at this terminal, where we are currently building five similar crude storage tanks. As the industry's most experienced tank builder, we can deliver the safety, quality and schedule performance our customers expect and rely on," said Luke Scorsone, executive vice president of CB&I's fabrication services operating group.

Sabic unveils new Lexan resins for LED automotive lighting

Sabic said that it is introducing new materials for customers producing LED automotive lighting parts.
Lexan HF4010SR resin is one of the new offerings. This polycarbonate (PC) material can make it possible for customers to develop complex headlight bezels with enhanced aesthetics. Sabic has also added new grades to its existing Lexan XHT resin line, which can offer improved flow at high temperatures compared to other high-heat polycarbonate materials available today.
Sabic’s new materials targeting forward lighting parts come at a time when the complexity of these applications continues to increase. Current high-end LED headlamps weigh close to six kilograms with up to 200 components, thanks to the additional functionality they incorporate. Automakers are also striving to create highly distinctive lighting parts to help differentiate and increase the appeal of their vehicles.
Sabic has engineered the new Lexan resin to address customers seeking to produce complex headlamp bezels with enhanced styling, but at a lighter weight and at a lower overall system cost.
“These new offerings are examples of how we listen to our automotive lighting customers, stay in touch with their emerging needs, and propose materials they can consider to meet the challenges in front of them,” said Scott Fallon, global leader of Sabic’s automotive business.
New materials for complex headlamp bezels – Lexan HF4010SR resin
When designing injection-moulded parts, a low draft angle is important because it enables greater styling freedom as well as a larger optical surface. However, the lower this angle, the more problems arise with parts sticking in the mould, creating scuff marks and potentially even resulting in a part with cosmetic defects.
To help the industry meet this challenge, Sabic has developed Lexan HF4010SR resin. This material can enable customers to target draft angles between 0.5 and 1.0 degrees lower than the recommended draft angle for PC tools (typically between 3 and 5 degrees).
Bezels that are injection moulded in Lexan HF4010SR can be directly metallized (no need for priming) and gloss and reflectivity performance under high-temperature environments are both very good. The material has a unique wide processing window and high flow. Parts perform in environments requiring a maximum constant use temperature of up to 130°C.

TechnipFMC announces $500 mn share repurchase program

TechnipFMC plc (FTI) announced the implementation of a share repurchase program on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Euronext Paris, where TechnipFMC’s ordinary shares are traded, as previously approved by its board of directors.
TechnipFMC has appointed an investment services provider in order to implement the share repurchase program.
Under the share repurchase program, TechnipFMC is authorized to repurchase up to $500 million of its ordinary shares by the end of 2018, represents a maximum of 18,504,811 shares based on the NYSE closing share price on such date (25 September).

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Clariant presents best in class cold flow improving technologies

Clariant presented a paper on 'Processing waxy opportunity crudes with advanced cold flow improver and catalytic dewaxing technologies' recently at the 5th Refining India Conference held in New Delhi, India.
The paper was presented by Dr Werner Reimann, global marketing manager, Clariant Refinery Services.
To process the challenging waxy opportunity crude types, Clariant has developed several products, such as pour point depressants, cold flow improver-booster systems and dewaxing technologies. Reimann demonstrated that a complete and regular treatment of these high waxy crudes enables refineries to operate more flexible and profitable.
Clariant Refinery Services are global leaders in cold flow improver technology. Due to the specialist know-how and deep refinery experience, they work in close contact with customers. Through regular visits, talks and trainings, their experts can provide recommendations and ongoing support to improve customer's daily operations.

Azelis acquires Georges Walther; expands presence in Swiss

Azelis said that it has acquired Georges Walther AG, an independent family run company based in Switzerland. The transaction will be closed in the course of the next months.
With the majority of revenue coming from high-quality cosmetic ingredients, essential oils and fragrances, Georges Walther has developed an expertise in spheres, beads and soft pearls. In addition, the portfolio also includes pharma ingredients, food supplements and food ingredients.
The acquisition endorses the commitment of Azelis’ major shareholders – Funds advised by Apax Partners – to support business growth in the speciality food ingredients and chemical segment. Georges Walther AG employs nine people and is based in Pfaffikon (SZ), with a warehouse in Rumlang.
Jean-Michel Walther, currently CEO & sales at Georges Walther, will become business manager for personal care in Switzerland. His key responsibilities will be to further develop the personal care market in Switzerland, reporting to Urs Haller, managing director Azelis Switzerland.

ExxonMobil enhances program to reduce methane emissions

ExxonMobil Corporation said that it has enhanced A program to reduce methane emissions from its production and midstream facilities across US.
The program, which builds on the company’s longstanding commitment to emissions reduction, prioritizes actions at sites operated by subsidiary XTO Energy and includes efforts to develop and deploy new, more efficient technologies to detect and reduce facility emissions.
The program includes a commitment to phase out high-bleed pneumatic devices over three years, extensive personnel training, research, and facility design improvements for new operations.
XTO recently completed a pilot project in the Midland Basin that tested new low-emission designs that use compressed air instead of natural gas to operate pneumatic equipment that helps regulate conditions such as level, flow, pressure and temperature. The results successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using similar designs for new and existing central tank batteries and satellites, to reduce the potential for methane emissions.

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