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Plant Watch: CPI Business News for July 2020

By Chemical Engineering |

Plant Watch

Repsol plans new synthetic fuels, pyrolysis plants in decarbonization push

June 16, 2020 — Repsol S.A. (Madrid, Spain; www.repsol.com) announced two decarbonization projects to be located in the Port of Bilbao, Spain. The first project, in which €60 million will initially be invested, involves building one of the largest net-zero-emissions synthetic-fuel production plants in the world, based on “green” hydrogen generated with renewable energy. The second project, for which Repsol is investing €20 million, involves construction of a pyrolysis plant, which will be able to convert around 10,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of urban waste into fuels.

Showa Denko expands resin production capacities in China

June 15, 2020 — Showa Denko K.K. (SDK; Tokyo; www.sdk.co.jp) expanded production lines to produce vinyl ester (VE) resin and synthetic resin emulsion (EM) at its Chinese subsidiary Shanghai Showa Highpolymer Co. (SSHP). The expansion has doubled SSHP’s production capacities for EM and VE.

Air Liquide to build air-separation unit for Posco steelmaking site

June 10, 2020 — Air Liquide Engineering & Construction (Frankfurt, Germany; www.engineering-airliquide.com) has signed a new contract with steel producer Posco (Pohang, South Korea; www.posco.com) to design and build an air-separation unit, which will produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon and have a production capacity of 1,700 m.t./d. The new unit will be installed at Posco’s Pohang site and will replace two existing units.

Arkema invests in U.S. anhydrous hydrogen-fluoride production

June 3, 2020 — As part of a longterm agreement with Nutrien Ltd., Arkema S.A. (Colombes, France; www.arkema.com) will invest $150 million in a 40,000-m.t./yr production plant for anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (AHF) at Nutrien’s site in Aurora, N.C., scheduled to start up in the first half of 2022. The AHF, which will be supplied to Arkema’s Calvert City, Ky. site, will be produced using a naturally occurring element from Nutrien’s phosphate-manufacturing process, replacing the conventional source of mined fluorspar.

HollyFrontier to convert Cheyenne Refinery for renewable diesel production

June 2, 2020 — HollyFrontier Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.hollyfrontier.com) plans to repurpose its petroleum refinery in Cheyenne, Wyo. for renewable diesel production. With expected investment around $125 million, HollyFrontier intends to cease petroleum-refining activities at the site and produce approximately 90 million gal/yr of renewable diesel at the Cheyenne site. HollyFrontier expects the project will be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

PKN Orlen to establish hydrogen-production hub in Poland

June 2, 2020 — PKN Orlen (Płock, Poland; www.orlen.pl) is set to build a hydrogen-production hub in Włocławek, Poland by the end of 2021, ultimately producing up to 600 kg/h of purified hydrogen. The project provides for the construction of a plant for the production of fuel-cell-grade hydrogen, as well as logistics infrastructure and hydrogen refueling stations.

BP licenses PTA technology to Weilian Chemical

May 29, 2020 — BP plc (London, U.K.; www.bp.com) will license its technology for the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) to China’s Dongying Weilian Chemical Co., which intends to build a 2.5-million m.t./yr PTA production unit in Shandong province, China. First production is anticipated by the second quarter of 2022.

Dow to scale up polyol production from recycled mattress materials

May 28, 2020 — Dow Polyurethanes, a business division of Dow, Inc. (Midland, Mich.; www.dow.com), plans to install an industrial-scale production facility at Orrion Chemicals Orgaform in Semoy, France, which will process discarded mattress foam into polyols through chemical recycling. The installation of the plant is expected to take place during the second half of 2020, with the first batch of polyols expected to be delivered in the first half of 2021.

Clariant to increase mild surfactants capacity in Europe and the U.S.

Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland; www.clariant.com) is expanding production capacity for mild surfactants based on isethionates derivatives. The investment at facilities in Mount Holly, N.C. and Tarragona, Spain will bring additional capacity on stream during the first quarter of 2021.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Dow and Shell team up to develop electric-cracking technology

June 16, 2020 — Shell Chemicals (London, U.K.; www.shell.com/chemicals) and Dow announced a joint-development agreement to accelerate technology to electrify ethylene steam crackers. Using renewable electricity to heat steam-cracker furnaces could become one of the routes to decarbonize the chemical process industries.

New silica JV to focus on fuel-efficient tires

June 15, 2020 — Tosoh Silica Corp., a member of the Tosoh Group (Tokyo, Japan; www.tosoh.com), recently established a joint venture (JV) with Namhae Chemical Corp. (Yeosu, South Korea). The JV plans to construct a facility to produce silica for use in fuel-efficient tires.

Ascend acquires manufacturing assets in China

June 11, 2020 — Ascend Performance Materials, LLC (Houston; www.ascendmaterials.com) will purchase NCM (Changshu) Co. and Tehe Engineering Plastic (Suzhou), both located at the Changshu Yushan High-tech Industrial Park in eastern China. Ascend plans to expand compounding assets at the site, along with establishing a research and development center that will focus on several application areas, including electronics, 3D printing and films.

Indorama acquires PET-recycling facility in Brazil

June 9, 2020 — Indorama Ventures Ltd. (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand; www.indoramaventures.com) has acquired a 100% equity stake in AG Resinas Ltda., which operates a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling facility in Juiz de Fora, Brazil with a processing capacity of approximately 9,000 m.t./yr.

AGC acquires former AstraZeneca plant in Colorado

June 2, 2020 —AGC Inc. (Tokyo, Japan; www.agc.com) purchased a biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colo. The facility, formerly owned by AstraZeneca plc (Cambridge, U.K.; www.astrazeneca.com), includes two 20,000-L bioreactors, and has space for up to four more 20,000-L bioreactors. AGC will prepare for the plant to resume full-scale operations by April 2021.

Arkema completes sale of Functionalized Polyolefins unit

June 2, 2020 — Arkema finalized the €335-million sale of its Functional Polyolefins business to SK Global Chemical Co. (Seoul, South Korea; www.skglobalchemical.com). With sales of around €250 million, the Functional Polyolefins business comprises ethylene copolymers and terpolymers.

Altivia acquires KMCO chemical ethoxylation assets

June 1, 2020 — Altivia Oxide Chemicals, LLC, an affiliate of Altivia Petrochemicals (Houston; www.altivia.com), has acquired KMCO, LLC (Crosby, Tex.; www.kmcollc.com) and its associated chemical-ethoxylation manufacturing assets in Crosby, Tex. The facilities include 31 reaction and distillation trains with capacity for ethylene and propylene oxide reactions, as well as a broad range of organic reactions to produce surfactants, lubricant additives, fuel additives and a variety of ethoxylation- and propoxylation-based intermediates. Altivia will invest $25 million to upgrade the facilities, and plans to start up two new oxide reactors by the end of 2020.

Mary Page Bailey

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