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Plant Watch – March 2020

By Mary Page Bailey |

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical to build hydrogen peroxide plant in Taiwan

February 13, 2020 — Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. (Tokyo, Japan; www.mgc.co.jp) plans to build a hydrogen peroxide production facility in Taiwan to support the company’s business for ultra-pure hydrogen peroxide used in semiconductor manufacturing. The new plant will produce 40,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of hydrogen peroxide, and is expected to begin production in January 2023.

Kuraray to build PVA films plant in Poland

February 13, 2020 — Kuraray Co. (Tokyo, Japan; www.kuraray.com) will establish a new production facility for polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) water-soluble films in Zimna Wodka, Poland, as demand grows for packaging film for unit-dose detergents, pharmaceuticals and other products. The plant is slated to begin operation in mid-2022.

BASF announces new production site for battery cathode materials

February 12, 2020 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) will build a new battery-materials production site in Schwarzheide, Germany, which will produce cathode active materials with an initial capacity enabling the supply of around 400,000 full-electric vehicles per year. The Schwarzheide plant’s modular design and infrastructure allow for the rapid scaleup of manufacturing capacities. The plant in Schwarzheide will use precursors from BASF’s previously announced plant in Harjavalta, Finland. Startup of the two plants is planned for 2022.

Indorama starts up ethylene cracker in Louisiana

February 4, 2020 — Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; www.indoramaventures.com) has announced the commercial startup of its olefins gas cracker plant in Westlake, Louisiana. The site has an ethylene production capacity of 440,000 m.t./yr and is highly integrated within the U.S. Gulf Coast ethylene pipeline infrastructure. The facility is strategically positioned for longterm ethylene supply to Indorama Ventures’ oxides and glycols plant in Clear Lake, Tex.

Celanese plans VAE expansions in China and the Netherlands

January 30, 2020 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.celanese.com) is starting a debottlenecking project at its Nanjing, China vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE) production facility. Celanese will expand VAE production capacity at this site by 65,000 m.t./yr by adding a third VAE reactor by late 2022, increasing the total Nanjing VAE capacity to 215,000 m.t./yr. Additionally, Celanese will further expand capacity at its VEA plant in Geleen, the Netherlands by 50,000 m.t./yr with an additional VAE reactor by early 2023, bringing the total Geleen VAE capacity to 200,000 m.t./yr.

BASF to expand capacity for polyurethane dispersions in Spain

January 23, 2020 — BASF has invested in expanding production capacity of water-based polyurethane dispersions at its Castellbisbal site in Spain. The expansion will allow BASF to increase its production capacity by 30% and will contribute to the transition from solvent-based coating systems to water-based systems.

Invista and Hengli Petrochemical start up fourth PTA line in Dalian

January 22, 2020 — Invista (Wichita, Kan.; www.invista.com) and Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Co. started up Hengli’s fourth purified terephthalic acid (PTA) line, which can produce 2.5 million m.t./yr of PTA and is located in Dalian City, China. A fifth PTA line, identical to the fourth, is currently under construction at the same site and is expected to start up around the middle of 2020. Hengli currently operates three PTA lines at the site, each with a capacity of 2.2 million m.t./yr.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Ascend to purchase compounding and masterbatch businesses in Italy

February 12, 2020 — Ascend Performance Materials (Houston; www.ascendmaterials.com) signed an agreement to purchase Poliblend and Esseti Plast GD from D’Ottavio Group. The acquisition includes a manufacturing facility in Mozzate, Italy, the masterbatch portfolio of Esseti Plast GD and the engineering plastics portfolio of Poliblend, which consists of virgin and recycled grades of Nylon 66, Nylon 6, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyoxymethylene (POM).

Joint venture formed for production of bio-based levulinic acid

February 11, 2020 — Towell Engineering Group (Muscat, Oman; www.towellengineering.com) and GF Biochemicals (Geleen, the Netherlands; www.gfbiochemicals.com) formed a joint venture (JV) for the production and marketing of bio-solvents and bio-plasticizers based on levulinic acid, which is considered a key bio-based building block. GFBiochemicals’ technology is said to be the first that enables production of levulinate derivatives at industrial scale.

PPG to acquire Chicago-based powder-coatings manufacturer

February 6, 2020 — PPG Industries Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; www.ppg.com) agreed to acquire Alpha Coating Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer of powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates. Alpha Coating Technologies is headquartered in West Chicago, Ill. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.

DOMO acquires Solvay’s European polyamides business

January 31, 2020 — DOMO Chemicals (Ghent, Belgium; www.domochemicals.com) has completed its acquisition of Solvay S.A.’s (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay.com) Performance Polyamides business in Europe. This business includes engineering plastics operations in France and Poland; high-performance fibers in France; and polymer and intermediates operations in France, Spain and Poland. The purchase price paid by DOMO amounts to around €300 million.

Nouryon to acquire J.M. Huber’s carboxymethyl cellulose business

January 30, 2020 — Nouryon (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.nouryon.com) has agreed to acquire the carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) business of J.M. Huber Corp. (Edison, N.J.; www.huber.com). The acquired assets include a world-scale manufacturing facility, as well as an advanced research and development facility located in Äänekoski, Finland. CMC is bio-based water-soluble polymer that is used as a thickener, binder, stabilizer and film former.

Celanese to acquire Nouryon’s Elotex polymer powders business

January 30, 2020 — Celanese intends to acquire Nouryon’s redispersible polymer powders business offered under the Elotex brand. As part of the acquisition, Celanese will acquire all of Nouryon’s global production facilities for redispersible polymer powders across Europe and Asia, all products under the Elotex portfolio, as well as all technology and commercial facilities globally.

Saipem acquires CO 2 -capture assets in Canada

January 27, 2020 — Saipem S.p.A. (San Donato Milanese, Italy; www.saipem.com) acquired proprietary technology for CO 2 capture from the Canadian company CO 2 Solutions Inc. (CSI). Saipem has acquired CSI’s portfolio of intellectual property, including over 90 patents. In addition, it has obtained the CO 2 -capture plant located at a pulp mill in Saint-Félicien, Québec.

Masdar and Cepsa form renewable energy JV

January 21, 2020 — Renewable energy company Masdar (Abu Dhabi; www.masdar.ae) and Compañía Española de Petróleos S.A.U. (Cepsa; Madrid, Spain; www.cepsa.com) will establish a 50-50 JV company to develop renewable energy projects in Spain and Portugal. The new company, Cepsa Masdar Renovables, will focus on developing wind and solar photovoltaic projects in the Iberian Peninsula region.


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