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Resins & Coatings

News Review

29

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Could plastic roads replace Asphalt?


Rotterdam, a city known for its openness to innovation, could become the trial center for a plastic road that someday may replace asphalt.
The Dutch community has indicated it is interested in trying PlasticRoad, a material made entirely of recycled plastic. According to The Guardian, construction company VolkerWessels has said that it believes it could turn its concept into a reality in three years.
"Plastic offers all kinds of advantages compared to current road construction, both in laying the roads and maintenance", said Rolf Mars, the director of KWS Infra, which is VolkerWessels' roads subdivision. "As far as I know, we're the first in the world to try this".
PlasticRoad could be prefabricated and laid down in a matter of weeks instead of months. The roads would be lighter, nearly maintenance-free, and last three times longer than asphalt, according to VolkerWessels. PlasticRoad also could withstand greater temperature changes: from -40 degrees to 80 degrees Celsius. And because the space below the plastic surface could be made hollow, other infrastructure—such as cables and pipes—could be run beneath it more easily.
Not only will the PlasticRoad project be made entirely of green materials, it also will cut down on carbon-dioxide emissions: Asphalt alone is responsible for 1.6 million tons of CO2 each year. That is 2% of all road emissions.
(PaintSquare)

ASAHI KASEI expands thermoplastic elastomers


Asahi Kasei Chemicals will increase annual production capacity for hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomer (SEBS) by 30% at its Kawasaki Works site in Kanagawa, Japan, with startup scheduled for June 2016.
SEBS is used as a modifier that enables polypropylene to be made flexible while maintaining transparency, and there are growing needs for flexible material as a substitute for polyvinyl chloride, especially in medical applications. Demand growth for this particular application has been centered in Europe and China in recent years.
To meet growing demand, Asahi Kasei Chemicals increased production capacity for SEBS at its Kawasaki Works by 20% this spring. As continued demand growth is forecasted, the company decided to further increase production capacity by 30%. The company's SEBS products are used in a wide range of applications, including plastic modification and adhesives, earning high regard from customers around the world.
(Chemical Engineering)

Oil field chemicals market to grow by 4%


Driven in large part by the rapid expansion of shale oil and gas drilling and production in North America, the world market for oil field specialty chemicals at the service company level reached USD 25 billion in 2014, up from nearly USD 16 billion in 2010, but significant declines in oil price have dampened the demand outlook for oil field chemicals for the 2015 to 2019 period, according to a new global market study from IHS.
Supply, demand, capacity and trade in the global oil field chemicals markets for 2015 to 2019, and projects sales of oil field chemicals are expected to grow annually at a rate of approximately 4% to more than USD 30 billion in 2019, based on volume growth and price changes in effect at the end of 2014.
Oil field chemicals typically fall under three categories: drilling fluids, cementing and stimulation, and oil production. Drilling muds and fluids are chemical systems used to lubricate the drill bit, to control formation pressure, and to remove formation cuttings. They can be oil- or water-based depending on the geologic formation. Cementing uses chemicals to cement steel pipes or casing to the sides of the borehole.
Stimulation chemicals encourage the flow of crude oil to the well. Two commonly used stimulation techniques are acidizing and fracturing — an essential part of hydraulic fracturing. And finally, oil production chemicals are used at all stages from oil production at the wellbore to delivery of crude to the refinery. Products include corrosion and scale inhibitors, biocides and demulsifiers.
Despite the year-end slowdown in E&P activity driven by the oil price slide, hydraulic fracturing continued globally in 2014, but primarily in North America. In 2014, total chemical consumption related to fracking was valued at nearly USD 8.6 billion, with the U.S. and Canada accounting for the lion's share of demand at USD 8 billion, or approximately 94% of total world consumption of stimulant chemicals.
(chemeurope.com)

BASF commissions form release agents plant


Supporting the increasing demand for ecologically sound and user friendly products, BASF commissioned a new production plant for form release agents that is among the most advanced and most efficient in Europe.
Opened at the company's Stassfurt site in May 2015, the new facility produces release agents based on renewable raw materials as well as emulsions from renewable and non-renewable raw materials. Successful trial operation was completed in early July 2015, and the plant has since commenced regular production.
Form release agents facilitate the easy removal of the concrete from its formwork and enhance the surface of precast concrete elements and cast in place concrete.
"This important investment is to strengthen our release agent business in the European marketplace and to help us achieve a leadership position", says Philipp Kley, Senior Vice President Construction Chemicals Europe at BASF. "We identified the increasing demand for alternatives to mineral oil based release agents at an early stage, and aligned our research efforts accordingly. This is why now, at just the right time, we can provide our customers with an innovation that fills a gap in the market and can give our customers a competitive advantage".
(chemeurope.com)

UNIVAR acquires Chemical Associates


Univar Inc. announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Univar USA Inc., has acquired the assets of Chemical Associates, Inc. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Founded in 1981, Chemical Associates is a marketer, manufacturer, and distributor of oleochemicals, including tall oil fatty acids, oleic acids, stearic acids, fractionated acids, fatty alcohols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, coconut fatty acids, castor derivatives, methyl esters, calcium stearate, metallic stearates, and glycerine, many of which are based on renewable and sustainable resources. Chemical Associates specializes in blending, mixing, and packaging formulated oleochemical products and serves customers from 14 locations throughout the U.S. and can supply packaged and bulk quantities.
"The acquisition of Chemical Associates will help increase the value Univar can bring in a number of our key markets such as personal care, food, cleaning and sanitization, lubricants, and coatings and adhesives", said Univar President and Chief Executive Officer Erik Fyrwald. "Oleochemicals are the building blocks for a wide variety of products, and complement our existing deep product and service offering in the U.S. In addition, we will gain enhanced access to global sources for various grades of oils/acids and the technical expertise to reformulate and create unique grades of these products to meet customers' prime product specifications".
Founded in 1924, Univar is a global distributor of specialty and basic chemicals from more than 8,000 producers worldwide. Univar operates more than 700 distribution facilities throughout North America, Western Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America, supported by a global network of sales and technical professionals.
(PRNewsWire)

INEOS relocates corporate functions back to the UK


Five years ago Jim Ratcliffe moved his chemical firm to Switzerland, saving GBP 100 million a year in tax — but now Ineos is coming home.
Jim Ratcliffe announced that many of the functions from the group's corporate headquarters near Lausanne will transfer to a Knightsbridge office, overlooking the front door of Harrods.
Ratcliffe says he has no regrets now about the decision to relocate to Switzerland in 2010. In 2008, Ineos had found itself overstretched, its earnings halved in the downturn. The company petitioned the U.K. government for a temporary deferral of VAT payments worth GBP 350 million and government's refusal proved decisive. The fear of London potentially voting to quit the eurozone does not trouble him, so long as there's still a free market for goods and services. "Brussels has become inefficient and very bureaucratic, which makes it slow to do things. The concept of the United States of Europe will never work", according to Ratcliffe.
Ineos currently makes profits of around GBP 4 billion a year before interest from revenues of around GBP 35 billion. Ineos is probably the second-largest private manufacturing company in the UK.
(The Evening Standard)

Blast at LYONDELL's plant a criminal act


Lyondellbasell chemicals group refinery, in Berre l'Etang, near Marseille Provence Airport, southern France, suffered two parallel explosions, that rocked tanks at the chemical plant.
Authorities have launched an inquiry into the incident which occurred on July 14, morning, as the country began celebrations for its national Bastille Day. About 120 firefighters and 50 vehicles have been deployed to the petrochemical site, LyondellBasell, and air quality authorities are assessing if the fumes pose a threat to the quality of the air in the surrounding areas. There have been no reports of casualities.
The blasts at the site operated by petrochemical company LyondellBasell were initially treated as a "coincidental accident". The prosecutor in charge of the investigation that the blasts were "quasi-simultaneous", occurring about three seconds apart, which excludes a natural spreading of the blaze. France's interior minister says a double blast in two huge fuel tanks is of criminal origin.
(US News)

PERSTORP acquires KOEI's Penta business


Perstorp announces the acquisition of the Penta, Di-Penta and sodium formate businesses, related technology and certain assets from Koei Chemical Company Ltd., a Japanese chemicals producer.
As part of the business transfer, Koei Chemical Company Ltd. will act as Perstorp's agent in Japan. The transaction is fully in line with both companies' strategies going forward. For Perstorp, this is an important part of an ambitious plan to strengthen the position in the Asian Market and to add a platform for investment in order to long term expand the Penta business.
Penta is used to enhance the properties in applications such as alkyd resins, PVC stabilisers, synthetic lubricants and varnishes. Perstorp is now producing Penta in three different production plants in Germany, the US and Sweden. The initiative confirms Perstorp's leadership in the Penta market.
"Penta is a core business area within Perstorp and these products have been instrumental in the development of Perstorp as an international company. The acquisition is line with with Perstorp's strategy to drive growth and in particular in the Asia Pacific region. It demonstrates our commitment and ability to add high quality businesses to an already strong portfolio", said Perstorp's President and CEO Jan Secher.
(European Coatings)

AKZO wins carbon credits project award


AkzoNobel's landmark carbon credits methodology for the shipping industry has won the "Best Offsetting Project" award in the 2015 Voluntary Carbon Market Rankings.
Based on nominations from leading stakeholders within the voluntary carbon markets, the award recognizes the efforts of AkzoNobel and development partners The FReMCo Group and The Gold Standard Foundation.
The first of its kind within the shipping industry, the carbon credits methodology is based on ship owners converting existing vessels from a biocidal antifouling system to biocide-free advanced hull coatings, proven to increase a vessel's operating efficiency and reduce CO2 and associated emissions by an average of 9%. Carbon credits are awarded based on the reduction in emissions, which can then be sold on the carbon markets.
"This award is recognition of the hard work and commitment from everyone involved in developing the carbon credits methodology", said Trevor Solomon, Business Manager for AkzoNobel's Marine Coatings business. "We see this as adding further credibility to the initiative, which has seen a significant uptake in ship owners enrolling in the last year".
(PCI)


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