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Plant Watch: Business News for April 2021

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch

Thermo Fisher Scientific plans $600-million bioprocessing expansion

March 12, 2021 — Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Waltham, Mass.; plans to invest more than $600 million in capital investments to expand its bioprocessing production capabilities through 2022. These investments are expected to more than double the company’s current manufacturing capacity. Highlights of the investment include capacity expansions at several sites in the U.S., China, Scotland and Singapore. Furthermore, the company will open a new resin-manufacturing facility in Chelmsford, Mass.


Hexion to expand Portland manufacturing plant

March 11, 2021 — Hexion Inc. (Columbus, Ohio; intends to expand its Portland, Ore., manufacturing site with a second automated manufacturing line to produce fire-resistant protective wrap materials. The new production line is expected to start up around year-end 2021. Hexion’s proprietary wrap material can be applied to either new or existing wood utility poles to protect against fire.


BASF doubles acrylic dispersions capacity in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia

March 9, 2021 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; started up its new acrylic-dispersions production line in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, doubling production capacity at the site. The new facility will produce acrylic dispersions serving the coatings, construction, adhesives and packaging industries in the Asia-Pacific region.


Solvay completes new high-purity hydrogen peroxide plant in Germany

March 9, 2021 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; has built a new electronics-grade production facility for high-purity hydrogen peroxide at its Bernburg site in Germany. The new site accommodates the semiconductor industry’s strict requirements for hydrogen peroxide, a key chemical in the manufacture of semiconductor chips.


OMV plans to build glycerin-to-propanol pilot plant

March 4, 2021 — OMV AG (Vienna, Austria; plans to invest €30 million to build a new pilot plant at its Schwechat Refinery in Austria. The plant will employ a patented process to convert glycerin waste from the production of biodiesel, detergents and soaps into 1.25 million L/yr of bio-based propanol, which will be used as a bio-additive for gasoline. The pilot plant is expected to start up in 2023.


Dow to establish South China Specialties Hub

March 4, 2021 — Dow, Inc. (Midland, Mich.; will invest approximately $250 million to construct the South China Specialties Hub. The project will involve the construction of specialty polyurethanes and alkoxylates facilities with a total production capacity of approximately 250,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). The Dow South China Specialties Hub will be located at Donghai Island in Zhanjiang and will include a include a deepwater port, transportation networks and infrastructure.


Haldor Topsoe to build large-scale SOEC electrolyzer manufacturing facility

March 4, 2021 — Haldor Topsoe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; will invest in a manufacturing facility for solid-oxide electrolyzer cells (SOEC), predominantly for green hydrogen plants, with a total capacity of 500 MW/yr with the option to expand to 5 GW/yr. Construction will commence in 2022 and the facility will be operational by 2023.


Corbion announces global expansion of lactic acid production

March 3, 2021 — Corbion N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; will substantially increase its global production capacity for lactic acid and lactic-acid derivatives. Existing sites will be expanded in Gorinchem, the Netherlands, Rayong, Thailand, Campos, Brazil and Montmeló, Spain. Corbion previously announced the expansion of lactic acid production at its site in Blair, Neb.


Shell’s Rhineland Refinery to expand hydrogen electrolysis capacity tenfold

March 2, 2021 — Shell (The Hague, the Netherlands; plans to expand the capacity of the hydrogen electrolysis plant being constructed at the Rhineland Refinery in Germany. Electrolysis capacity at the site will be scaled up from 10 to 100 MW. With this added capacity, Rhineland will also commence production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) at a 100,000-m.t./yr power-to-liquid plant, which is slated for commissioning in 2025.


Braskem to expand production capacity for biopolymers in Brazil

February 24, 2021 — Braskem S.A. (São Paulo, Brazil; is expanding production capacity of sugarcane-derived ethylene, which is used in the production of renewable resins. Production of this raw material at the company’s plant in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil will be increased from 200,000 to 260,000 m.t./yr. The expansion project, budgeted at $61 million, should be concluded in the fourth quarter of 2022.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Clariant and India Glycols form JV for renewable EO derivatives

March 11, 2021 — Clariant AG (Muttenz, Switzerland; and India Glycols Ltd. (IGL) plan to establish a joint venture (JV) for renewable ethylene oxide (EO) derivatives. IGL will contribute its Bio-EO Derivative business to the JV, which includes a multipurpose production facility with an alkoxylation plant located in Kashipur, India. Clariant will contribute its Industrial and Consumer Specialties business activities in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Siemens concludes sale of Flender GmbH to Carlyle Group

March 10, 2021 — Siemens AG (Munich, Germany; has successfully closed the sale of Flender GmbH, a specialized supplier of mechanical and electrical drive systems, to The Carlyle Group for €2.025 billion. Flender generated revenue of roughly €2.2 billion in 2020.


DuPont to acquire Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion

March 8, 2021 — DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; has entered into a definitive agreement with private-equity firm Advent International to acquire Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. Laird manufactures a portfolio of heat-management and electromagnetic-shielding products.


Air Liquide to acquire hydrogen and nitrogenproduction units in Kazakhstan

March 3, 2021 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris, France; increased its presence in Kazakhstan through its 75%-owned JV Air Liquide Munay Tech Gases (ALMTG). The JV will invest up to €86 million to acquire H2 and N2 production units from the Atyrau petroleum refinery owned by KazMunayGas.Under a new longterm agreement, ALMTG will operate these assets to supply industrial gases to the Atyrau refinery. Up to 200 million m 3/yr of H2 and up to 50 million m 3/yr of N2 will be produced at the site.


Nouryon sells its Salt Specialties business to Salins Group

March 3, 2021 — Nouryon (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; signed an agreement to divest its Salt Specialties business, including the JOZO, NEZO, Suprasel, Sanal and KNZ brands, to French salt company Salins Group. The acquisition includes three locations for the packing and distribution of specialty salt in Hengelo, the Netherlands, Mariager, Denmark and Gothenburg, Sweden. Nouryon will supply Salins with high-purity vacuum salt from its mining operations near Hengelo and Mariager.


Grace to acquire Albemarle’s Fine Chemistrybusiness for $570 million

February 26, 2021 — W. R. Grace & Co. (Columbia, Md.; has entered into an agreement to acquire the Fine Chemistry Services (FCS) business of Albemarle Corp. (Charlotte, N.C.; for approximately $570 million. The acquisition significantly expands Grace’s existing pharmaceuticals portfolio, with capabilities supporting the entire small-molecule development cycle. ■

Mary Page Bailey