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Plant Watch: February 2021

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch

Linde to build world’s largest PEM electrolyzer in Germany

January 14, 2021 — Linde plc (Guildford, U.K.; will build, own and operate the world’s largest proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer plant at the Leuna Chemical Complex in Germany. The new 24-MW electrolyzer will produce green hydrogen to supply Linde’s industrial customers through an existing pipeline network. The plant is due to start production in the second half of 2022.

Asahi Kasei to build second production plant for microcrystalline cellulose

January 14, 2021 — Asahi Kasei Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; announced that its Specialty Solutions business unit will build a second plant for microcrystalline cellulose at its Mizushima Works site in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan. This investment of ¥13 billion ($126 million) will double the company’s production capacity for these products. Asahi Kasei expects groundbreaking for the new site to take place in September 2021, with completion of the project planned in 2023.


Total and Engie to develop France’s largest green hydrogen site

January 13, 2021 — Total SE (Paris, France; and Engie S.A. (Courbevoie, France; have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build and operate the Masshylia project, France’s largest renewable-hydrogen production site. Powered by solar farms with a total capacity of more than 100 MW, the 40-MW electrolyzer will produce 5 metric tons (m.t.) of green hydrogen per day to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total’s La Mède biorefinery.


LanzaTech and SkyNRG to build Europe’s first ethanol-to-SAF plant

January 13, 2021 — The Flite consortium, led by SkyNRG B.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and with LanzaTech, Inc. (Skokie, Ill.; as the technology provider, will build a first-of-its-kind facility in Europe, which will convert waste-based ethanol to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at a scale of over 30,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). The project recently received €20 million in grant funding.


Celanese plans to build a liquid-crystal polymerization plant in China

January 12, 2021 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; intends to build a world-scale, multi-phase liquid-crystal-polymer (LCP) polymerization plant in China. Site selection is underway, and the total scope of the investment is intended to support approximately 20,000 m.t./yr of LCP production with the first phase of the project expected to come online in 2024. Celanese currently has LCP polymerization capability in Shelby, N.C.


Kemira completes first phase of capacity expansion for water-treatment chemicals

January 5, 2021 — Kemira Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; completed the first phase of a two-step capacity expansion for water-treatment chemicals in Ellesmere Port, U.K. Following the expansion, the output of the aluminum-based product line in Ellesmere Port was increased by more than 30,000 m.t./yr.


Neste successfully processes liquefied plastic waste at industrial scale

December 29, 2020 — Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland; successfully processed 400 m.t. of liquefied plastic waste at its refining complex in Finland. This was the first time that Neste processed liquefied waste plastic at an industrial scale. During the run, packaging and mixed-waste plastics were upgraded into high-quality recycled feedstock for petrochemical industry uses. Neste aims to gradually increase its volumes of liquefied waste-plastic processing.


Mitsubishi Chemical to build plant for carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics

December 29, 2020 — Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC; Tokyo; plans to establish a new pilot facility for carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP). The facility will be located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan and is scheduled to start operation by the end of 2021.


Sumitomo Chemical exploring combined PDH production scheme in Singapore

December 29, 2020 — Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan; has begun exploring a possible combination of a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology, which converts propane gas into propylene, with another technology that efficiently synthesizes methanol from hydrogen and carbon dioxide, both of which are byproducts from the PDH process. This initiative is under consideration at Sumitomo Chemical’s petrochemical complex in Singapore.


Gevo announces plans for potential renewable-fuels plant in South Dakota

December 29, 2020 — Gevo, Inc. (Englewood, Colo.; has optioned the right to purchase approximately 239 acres of land near Lake Preston, S.D. The production facility planned for Lake Preston is projected to produce about 45 million gal/yr collectively of jet fuel and renewable gasoline products.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Sulzer to acquire Nordic Water for $144 million

January 12, 2021 — Sulzer AG (Winterthur, Switzerland; has signed a binding agreement to acquire Nordic Water (Gothenburg, Sweden) for a purchase price of SEK1.2 billion (around $144 million). Nordic Water is a leading provider of screening, sedimentation and filtration solutions for municipal and industrial water and wastewater applications.


PPG acquires coatings specialists Versaflex and Wörwag

January 12, 2021 — PPG Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Wörwag (Stuttgart, Germany;, a global manufacturer of coatings for industrial and automotive applications. Wörwag operates locations in Germany, the U.S., China, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Poland. PPG is also acquiring The VersaFlex Family of Companies (Kansas City, Mo.; VersaFlex is a manufacturer specializing in polyurea, epoxy, polyurethanes and geotechnical and insulation foams.


Air Liquide forms helium-refrigeration JV in China

January 11, 2021 — Air Liquide S.A. (Paris; and Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Science (HFIPS) signed an agreement to establish a joint venture (JV) focused on the development and manufacture of helium refrigeration systems, supporting the evolution of large scientific experiments in China.


Lanxess to acquire French disinfection specialist Theseo

January 11, 2021 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; intends to acquire the Theseo Group (Laval, France), a leading manufacturer of disinfection and hygiene solutions in Europe and Latin America. The envisaged acquisition has an enterprise value of approximately €70 million, and closing is expected in mid-2021.


Solvay to sell amphoteric surfactant business

January 5, 2021 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; agreed to sell its North American and European amphoteric-surfactant business to private equity firm OpenGate Capital. The sale includes the three main production sites supporting the amphoteric product lines located in University Park, Illinois, Genthin, Germany and Halifax, U.K., as well as a tolling business in Turkey.


Metso Outotec divests its aluminum business

December 29, 2020 — Metso Outotec Corp. (Helsinki, Finland; has signed an agreement to sell its aluminum business to REEL International, SAS (Lyon, France). The business to be divested comprises green anode plants, anode rodshops and casthouses used in aluminum smelters, as well as related equipment and services.

Mary Page Bailey