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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Zeon with RIKEN, Yokohama Rubber produce isoprene from biomass




Zeon Corporation in joint research with RIKEN (a National Research and Development Agency) and Yokohama Rubber Co Ltd has developed a new technology for the efficient and stable production of isoprene monomers (isoprene) from biomass (biotic resources).
Isoprene is the raw material for polyisoprene rubber, which is mainly used for automobile tires. Industrial isoprene is currently being produced as a by-product of the naphtha pyrolysis. Development of this new technology will reduce future dependence on petroleum and is expected to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide, widely considered to be a cause of global warming.
Zeon has been engaged in joint research with RIKEN and Yokohama Rubber since 2013, and in 2015 discovered a new isoprene-synthesizing process using computer-based in-silico metabolic design technology (for designing new artificial metabolic reactions on computers).

Honeywell UOP catalyst used by Fuji Oil to increase aromatics production




Honeywell UOP's new R-364 Platforming catalyst is been used by Fuji Oil Co Ltd to produce more aromatics for chemical production at its Sodegaura Refinery Tokyo, Japan. 
The R-364 catalyst converts naphtha feedstock into aromatics, which are used to make petrochemical compounds, or blended into gasoline to improve its octane rating. The high-activity catalyst features an innovative design that can increase production of a CCR Platforming unit by up to 10 percent.
Demand for gasoline in Japan has been declining since reaching a peak in 2004. Japanese refiners such as Fuji Oil have turned to manufacturing higher-value aromatics such as chemical grade benzene and mixed xylenes instead of gasoline. These aromatics have a greater value than motor fuels.
Honeywell UOP introduced the R-364 catalyst in 2017. It retains all the properties of the previous R-264 catalyst, but with better activity and lower coke production, which improves the efficiency of catalytic reactions. As a result, the R-364 catalyst is a drop-in replacement for the R-264 catalyst that increases yields of gasoline, aromatics and hydrogen while producing less coke.
The CCR Platforming process is a continuous catalytic reforming process used throughout the petroleum industry to convert low-quality naphtha into blending stocks for gasoline, aromatics for plastics production and high-purity hydrogen. The CCR Platforming process is in operation at more than 250 customer sites.

Nuberg bags $53 mn chlor alkali, calcium chloride project in Saudi




Nuberg EPC has been awarded a $53 million turnkey project contract by Middle East Chemicals Company Ltd (Midchem), Saudi Arabia. The exclusive agreement covers engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) & lump sum turnkey (LSTK) services and solutions for chloralkali plant and calcium chlorideplant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and will be executed for Saudi Factory for Chlorine and Alkalies (SACHLO), Midchem's group company.
The production capacity will be 60 tpd for chloralkali plant which is an expansion of its previous plant of 60 tpd making it a total of 120 tpd, and 150 tpd for calcium chloride plant.
The chemical project is Midchem's second alliance with Nuberg EPC after successful commissioning of its 60 tpd greenfield chloralkali plant designed and delivered for SACHLO in 2012. Being its fifth turnkey project in Saudi Arabia and second, from Midchem, the project is a testimony of Nuberg's global expertise in project management capabilities, engineering services, international quality construction and on-time project delivery.

AkzoNobel opens new training centre in Brazil




AkzoNobel NV has opened a new training centre at its Santo Andre site near Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Initially catering for wood coatings customers in the furniture industry, the new facility will offer advanced training programs centred on the company's Sparlack Industrial range of products.
Facilities include spray application booths, as well as equipment which reproduces the paint line - notably a UV (ultraviolet) technology simulator. Due to be fully operational by September, there are plans to expand the training program to include metal, marine, protective and yacht coatings by the end of the year.
The Santo Andre production site, which was expanded in May last year, manufactures and supplies high performance industrial, marine and yacht coatings. Its new training centre is the second to have been opened by AkzoNobel in the space of eight months. A regional facility offering similar advanced programs was opened in Dubai in November. It focuses in particular on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and refinishers in industries as diverse as automotive and rail, aerospace and consumer electronics.

LyondellBasell, Karlsruhe Institute to advance chemical recycling




LyondellBasell (LYB) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) corporate to advance the chemical recycling of plastic materials and assist the global efforts towards the circular economy and plastic waste recyclingneeds.
The focus of the venture is to develop a new catalyst and process technology to decompose post-consumer plastic waste, such as packaging into monomers for reuse in polymerization processes.
Chemical recycling is complementary to mechanical recycling and is able to manage multilayer and hybrid plastic materials, which can’t be easily recovered by mechanical recycling. Molecular recycling is advancing chemical recycling by improving current process technologies to produce clean feedstock for polymer production.

Lanxess appoints new head for procurement, logistics group




Lanxess AG has appointed Frederique van Baarle (47) as head of the procurement and logistics group function, effective on 1 December 2018. She is currently head of the marketing & sales engineering plastics sector for the EMEA region within the high-performance materials business unit.
She succeeds Bernd Makowka (63), who is retiring after 33 years at Lanxess and Bayer AG. Lanxess AG has appointed Frederique van Baarle (47) as head of the procurement and logistics group function, effective on 1 December 2018. She is currently head of the marketing & sales engineering plastics sector for the EMEA region within the high-performance materials business unit.
She succeeds Bernd Makowka (63), who is retiring after 33 years at Lanxess and Bayer AG.

Indorama acquires plastic recycling company in France




Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) has entered into an agreement to acquire Sorepla Industrie SA, a plastics recycling facility in France. Founded in 1991, Sorepla Industrie is one of the largest recyclers in Europe.
The facility consists of three production lines; recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) and food-grade pellets, with a combined capacity of 52,000 tonnes/annum.
Regardless of the fluctuations in the quality of post-consumer feedstock, Sorepla can offer consistently high quality recycled PET material that meet customers’ specific needs in packaging and fibres. The company employs a total of 58 employees.
This acquisition is strategically in line with the company’s objectives of long-term sustainability. The addition of Sorepla will further solidify IVL’s position as one of the leaders in recycling in Europe and opens up new opportunities to serve increasing demand for food grade rPET.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Reliance to sell entire stake in Cambay Basin to Sun Petrochemicals




Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) said it has agreed to sell its entire 70 percent stake Gujarat’s Cambay Basin block to Dilip Shanghvi-promoted Sun Petrochemicals Pvt Ltd (Sun Oil and Natural Gas) for an undisclosed amount, reported Mint.
Reliance has a 70 percent participating interest in the oil and gas block CB-ONN-2003/1 (also called CB-10) while BP India holds the balance 30 percent.
“RIL signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Sun Petro to farm out its 70 percent interest in the block. The application for assignment has been submitted to the Government of India for approval,” RIL said in a presentation to analysts.
RIL is the operator of the block, which covers 635 sq. km and is divided into two parts, A and B. It had won the block in 2005 in an auction in New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP).
With the sale of CB-10, RIL now holds only four blocks—KG-D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin; Mahanadi basin blocks NEC-25 and GS-01 in Saurashtra basin; and Panna-Mukta-Tapti oil and gas fields in the Arabian Sea. RIL will shut down the MA oil and gas field in KG-D6 from September.

Total starts production at Angola’s deep offshore Kaombo project




Total SA has started up production of Kaombo, currently the biggest deep offshore development in Angola, located on Block 32, 260 km off the coast of Luanda.
Kaombo Norte, the first floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, has been successfully brought on stream and will produce an estimated 115,000 barrels of oil per day, while the second one, Kaombo Sul, is expected to start up next year.
The overall production will reach an estimated 230,000 barrels of oil per day at peak and the associated gas will be exported to the Angola LNG plant. A total of 59 wells will be connected to the two FPSOs, both of which are converted very large crude carriers, through one of the world’s largest subsea networks.
Together, they will develop the resources of six different fields (Gengibre, Gindungo, Caril, Canela, Mostarda and Louro) over an area of 800 square kilometers in the central and southern part of the block.

Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause fouling




Many cities drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral build-up. According to new research from the University of Illinois, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors.  
Biofilms, which are similar to the films that grow on the glass of fish tanks, are present in almost all plumbing systems and anchor themselves to mineral scale build-ups in pipes. They are teeming with harmless microbial life and incidents of waterborne illness are rare.
“The groundwater that supplies many cities may be high in magnesium and calcium. When combined with other elements, they can form thick deposits of mineral scale that clog up engineered water systems. Because of this, water treatment plants add chemicals called polyphosphates to dissolve the minerals to keep the scale build-up under control,” said Helen Nguyen, a professor of civil engineering and co-author of the study.
A recent study by co-author and civil and environmental engineering professor Wen-Tso Liu has shown that even with the addition of antimicrobial agents by water companies, the bacteria that grow on the mineral scale can reproduce to harmful levels in supplies that stagnate within indoor plumbing.

Cooking oil coating prevents bacteria on food processing equipment




Many foods produced on an industrial scale include raw ingredients mixed together in enormous stainless-steel machines that can be difficult to clean. With repeated use, equipment surfaces get minute scratches and grooves, providing bacteria and biofilms the perfect place to hide. While surface scratches may appear small to the naked eye, they are like a canyon to bacteria, which are only a few micrometers in size.
Surface-trapped food residue and bacteria then increase the risk of contamination from microorganisms such as SalmonellaListeria and E. coli.
Researchers from the University of Toronto Professor Ben Hatton (MSE), Dr Dalal Asker and Dr Tarek Awad research cheaper, safer and more effective ways to prevent bacteria thriving inside these machines. This minimizes the risk of cross contamination, which can lead to foodborne disease. Their team have proposed a simple new solution: trapping a thin layer of cooking oil at the metal surface to fill in microscopic scrapes, cracks and fissures and create a barrier to bacterial attachment.
They found that this solution resulted in a 1,000x reduction in bacterial levels inside the industrial machines tested.
Their work is recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Researchers discover chemical reaction that uses a surprising molecule




For more than a decade in the middle of the 20th century, chemists debated exactly what carbocations — molecules with a positively charged carbon atom — looked like. What is known as the “classical view,” which was taught at the beginning of that century, stated that the carbon in these molecules held the charge; the “non-classical view” held that the charge could also be shared by other nearby atoms. Both theory and experiment eventually proved that non-classical carbocations existed, and the debate faded away. Even if these structures exist, most chemists believed, they had no practical relevance.
Now, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have discovered a chemical reaction — that might someday be used to process petroleum into useful compounds — in which non-classical carbocations play key roles.
The results published in the journal Science, underscore the importance of non-classical cations — ions with fewer electrons than protons, and thus a positive charge. The findings also offer a new reaction to process alkanes, chemicals found in methane and propane gases that are notoriously hard to convert to other products.
“There’s both this reaction with a lot of practical potential, and this surprising chemistry behind the reaction,” said Hosea Nelson, a UCLA assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and senior author of the study.

Total starts offshore production at Ichthys LNG project




Total SA said that the Ichthys LNG project reached a major milestone with the opening of the first offshore production well. Marking the start of 40 years of operations of this gas and condensate field.
At full capacity, the offshore facilities are expected to produce 1,600 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscfd) of gas (285,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day) and 85,000 barrels of condensate per day.
The gas will be exported to an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant which will produce 8.9 million tons of LNG per year for supplying the Asian market, and approximately 1.65 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per year as well as an additional 15,000 barrels of condensate a day.
The project consists of the development of the Ichthys gas and condensate field offshore northwestern Australia (in 260 meters of water depth) and 889-kilometer gas pipeline together with an onshore LNG plant near Darwin in the Northern Territory. The offshore facilities consist of a subsea well development connected to a central processing facility (CPF) for gas treatment and a floating processing, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for condensate.

Teijin Frontier to buy German automotive interiors supplier




Teijin Frontier Co Ltd has agreed to acquire J H Ziegler GmbH (Ziegler), a leading supplier of automotive interior materials in Germany, for approximately €125 million.
Ziegler will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teijin Frontier, the Teijin Group's fibre and products converting company.
The acquisition of Ziegler will be made by means of cash and newly-raised funding and is scheduled to be completed in August 2018.
Since its establishment in 1864, Ziegler has innovated advanced technologies in the fields of nonwoven seat wadding materials and sound-absorbing composite solutions. Ziegler’s technologies fulfil the most stringent requirements in terms of the appearance, haptic feedback and usability of seat surface materials.
Headquartered in Achern-Oberachern, Germany, Ziegler provides advanced nonwoven lining structures, including materials with superior ventilation capabilities that help prevent wrinkling and keep luxurious appearance of genuine leather materials. The company also produces market-leading top-quality sound-absorbing materials and nonwovens for home interior and heat insulation use. The company operates five facilities globally, including three in Germany and one each in Hungary and China, and employs approximately 400 staff.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stork renews integrated operations contract with Ecopetrol




Stork, part of Fluor Corporation’s diversified services segment was awarded a 5-year contract renewal by Ecopetrol SA. To operate and maintain its surface facilities on the Cusiana and Cupiagua gas fields in Colombia. These facilities process 30 percent of the Colombian industrial and domestic gas consumption.
Stork will provide integrated operations and maintenance services to the gas compression facilities and the power generation systems until 2023. In addition, Stork will plan and execute the overhauls of the Ecopetrol turbomachinery and related equipment during this timeframe.

Trinseo celebrates 10 years of Lomax technology at Georgia plant




Trinseo is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Lomax technology at its plant in Dalton, Georgia.
The plant runs largely on alternative energy, significantly reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to manufacturing process of Lomax Technology.
Lomax Technology uses methane gas collected from a nearby landfill as the primary energy source to manufacture Trinseo's latex binders. The methane is piped to a landfill gas energy recovery facility and then to the Trinseo plant, where the energy is used to power the plant's boiler. This virtually eliminates the need for natural gas.
The resulting steam energy runs approximately 95 percent of the manufacturing processes at the plant. Because the methane is being harnessed for energy instead of being released into the atmosphere, Lomax Technology helps mitigate emissions by reducing Trinseo's use of fossil fuels. This allows customers to develop high-performance products with sustainable attributes.

FMC rebrands lithium business as Livent Corporation




FMC Corporation (FMC) said that it will rebrand its lithium materials business as Livent Corporation (pronounced lye-vent) following the previously announced plan to separate FMC Lithium into a publicly traded company. 
Livent Corporation is one of only a small number of companies with the capability, reputation, and know-how to produce high-performance lithium compounds that are helping meet the growing demand for lithium.
Pierre Brondeau, FMC Corporation CEO and chairman is expected to serve as chairman of the board of Livent following the separation and will continue to lead FMC Corporation as CEO and chairman.
Livent has universal appeal, appropriate for a premier, pure-play lithium material sciences company with an expansive global footprint and worldwide business opportunities.  The new Livent brand, including the brand mark and visual identity, will be revealed closer to the separation date.
"FMC has been a leading producer of lithium compounds for more than 40 years. As an independent company, Livent will build on our strengths as a fully integrated, lithium technology leader with a broad portfolio of products for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications, polymers and synthesis, lithium alloys, high-performance lubricants and other speciality uses," said Paul Graves, CEO, Livent Corporation.

Acidic oceans cause fish to lose their sense of smell




Fish are losing their sense of smell because of increasingly acidic oceans caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, new research shows.
When carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater carbonic acid is formed, making the water more acidic. Since the Industrial Revolution, oceanic CO2 has risen by 43 percent and is predicted to be two and a half times current levels by the end of this century.
Fish use their sense of smell (olfaction) to find food, safe habitats, avoid predators, recognize each other and find suitable spawning grounds. A reduction in their ability to smell therefore can compromise these essential functions for their survival.
The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The new study provides evidence that economically important species will be affected by elevated CO2, leaving fish vulnerable because it affects their ability to detect odours.

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