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Business News: August 2022

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Johnson Matthey to build U.K. gigafactory for H2 fuel-cell components

July 18, 2022 — Johnson Matthey plc (JM; London; www.matthey.com) is building an£80-million gigafactory at its existing site in Royston, U.K. to manufacture hydrogen fuel-cell components. The gigafactory will initially be capable of manufacturing 3 GW of proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) fuel-cell components annually. The site is expected to begin operation in the first half of 2024.


Huntsman starts up MDI splitter in Geismar

July 14, 2022 — Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; www.huntsman.com) started commercial operation of a new methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) splitter at its Geismar site in Louisiana. The $180-million splitter gives Huntsman the ability to produce additional differentiated grades from the crude MDI manufactured at the plant, thereby enabling growth in the automotive, furniture, construction, adhesives and coatings markets. 


Umicore to construct battery-materials plant in Canada

July 13, 2022 — Umicore N.V. (Brussels, Belgium; www.umicore.com) plans to construct a plant for cathode active battery materials (CAM) and their precursor materials (pCAM) in Ontario, Canada. The planned facility would be the first of its kind in North America, combining cathode and precursor materials manufacturing at a large industrial scale. Umicore is targeting to start construction in 2023, with production startup at the end of 2025.


AkzoNobel invests €20 million to expand production capacities in France

July 12, 2022 — AkzoNobel N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.akzonobel.com) is investing €20 million to expand production at two of its sites in France. A total of €15 million will be spent on the company’s aerospace coatings facility in Pamiers, where production capacity is being boosted by 50%. The other €5 million will be spent on improving production flexibility at the decorative-paints site in Montataire. Building work is expected to start by the end of 2023, with the new installations at both locations due to be operational in early 2025.


BASF doubles its polymer dispersions capacity in Dahej, India

July 12, 2022 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) completed the installation and startup of a new acrylic-dispersions production line in Dahej, India, serving the coatings, construction, adhesives and paper industries for South Asian markets. BASF began production of polymer dispersions in Dahej, in October 2014, and this additional production line will almost double its capacity.


Air Liquide invests in biomethane production in China

July 12, 2022 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris; www.airliquide.com) has invested in the group’s first biomethane-production unit in China, which is expected to begin operation by the end of 2022. Located in Huai’an City in Jiangsu Province, the unit will have a production capacity of 75 GWh/yr. This new unit will produce biogas from agricultural and livestock waste coming from local farms and purify it into biomethane for injection into the city gas grid for household and commercial use.


Ube begins basic design for DMC and EMC plant construction in the U.S.

July 6, 2022 — Ube Corp. (Tokyo; www.ube.co.jp) is studying the feasibility of constructing a new plant in Louisiana to produce commercial-scale volumes of dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC). The production capacity is planned to be 100,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of DMC and 40,000 m.t./yr of EMC derived from DMC. A final investment decision is to be made in the first half of 2023, with operations expected to commence in the second half of 2025.


Versalis and Forever Plast to constructplastics recycling facility in Italy

July 6, 2022 — Versalis S.p.A. (San Donato Milanese, Italy; versalis.eni.com) and Forever Plast have signed a new agreement related to the construction of an advanced mechanical-recycling unit for selected post-consumer plastics, in particular polystyrene and high-density polyethylene. Located at Versalis’ Porto Marghera industrial site, the new plant will process 50,000 m.t./yr of pre-sorted waste into recycled polymer compounds once it comes onstream in 2024.


Ineos significantly expanding PAO production in Texas

June 28, 2022­— Ineos Group Ltd. (London; www.ineos.com) is executing a phased 50% expansion of its LaPorte, Tex. high-viscosity polyalphaolefin (PAO) unit, which will be fully effective by mid-2025. The unit was initially built with a capacity of 20,000 m.t./yr, and was debottlenecked last year to reach 25,000 m.t./yr. With this further investment, it will expand again to almost 40,00 m.t./yr. Ineos also recently started up a low-viscosity PAO unit in Chocolate Bayou, Tex. With a production capacity of 120,000 m.t./yr, this facility is said to be the world’s largest single PAO train.


Henkel opens new adhesives plant in Mexico

June 28, 2022­— Henkel AG (Düsseldorf, Germany; www.henkel.com) opened a new plant for hot-melt adhesives in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The 30,000-m2 facility will mainly produce pressure-sensitive and non-pressure-sensitive hot-melt adhesives for use in consumer goods and packaging.


BASF to increase U.S. production capacity for specialty amines

June 28, 2022­— BASF will increase the production capacity for key specialty amines manufactured at its Geismar, La. site. After completion of the capacity expansion by mid-2023, BASF will be able to produce more polyetheramines and tertiary amines, complementing its global network of specialty-amines production plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany and Nanjing, China.


Mergers & Acquisitions

AkzoNobel acquires coatings assets from Lankwitzer Lackfabrik

July 6, 2022 — AkzoNobel is bolstering its automotive performance-coatings portfolio by acquiring the wheel liquid-coatings business of Lankwitzer Lackfabrik GmbH. Completion of the transaction is expected before the end of 2022. Lankwitzer’s Rims and Wheel business operates a manufacturing site in Leipzig, Germany, as well as laboratories in Germany and Turkey.


Neste acquires European rights to Alterra plastics-recycling process

June 27, 2022 — Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland; www.neste.com) purchased the European rights to Alterra Energy’s (Akron, Ohio; www.alterraenergy.com) proprietary thermochemical technology for the liquefaction of hard-to-recycle plastics into an intermediate product that can be further refined into raw materials for plastics and polymers. Together with Ravago, Neste also plans to set up a joint venture (JV) to deploy the Alterra Energy technology in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.


PKN Orlen receives clearance for merger with Lotos Group

June 24, 2022 — PKN Orlen (Płock, Poland; www.orlen.pl) has secured the European Commission’s clearance for its intended merger with Lotos Group (Gdansk, Poland; www.lotos.pl). The antitrust clearance marks a leap forward for the merger, which will create an organization with annual revenue of approximately PLN 250 billion (around $53 billion). The new, expanded Orlen Group will be based on an integrated value chain, from upstream petroleum exploration and production, through refining and petrochemical production.


Air Liquide and Siemens Energy create hydrogen electrolyzer JV

June 23, 2022 — Siemens Energy (Munich, Germany; www.siemens-energy.com) and Air Liquide created a JV dedicated to the production of industrial-scale PEM electrolyzers in Europe. Production is expected to begin in the second half of 2023 and ramp-up to an annual production capacity of 3 GW by 2025. Air Liquide will take 25.1% of the JV, and Siemens Energy will hold the remaining 74.9% stake. The new JV will be headquartered in Berlin, Germany. One of the JV’s first projects is the 200-MW Normand’Hy electrolyzer project in Normandy, France. ■


Mary Page Bailey

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