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Business News: May 2021

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant Watch

Chevron and Honeywell start up alkylation unit using new ionic-liquids technology

April 13, 2021 — Chevron Corp. (San Ramon, Calif.; www.chevron.com) and Honeywell International, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.; www.honeywell.com) announced the commissioning and startup of the world’s first commercial-scale Isoalky process unit at Chevron’s Salt Lake City, Utah refinery, which utilizes ionic liquids to produce alkylate. Using a non-aqueous liquid salt, the Isoalky technology is an alternative to conventional liquid-acid alkylation systems.


Sika expands admixtures capacity and begins epoxy-resin production in Qatar

April 13, 2021 — Sika AG (Baar, Switzerland; www.sika.com) has expanded its production capacity for concrete admixtures and has also started manufacturing epoxy resins in Doha, Qatar. Sika’s expanded footprint in Qatar will serve the growing construction sector, which is being boosted by the expansion of energy and utilities infrastructure in the region.


Praj Industries to set up India’s largest sugarcane-syrup-based ethanol plant

April 12, 2021 — Praj Industries Ltd. (Pune, India; www.praj.net) was awarded a contract by Godavari Biorefineries Ltd. (GBL) to set up a new sugarcane-based ethanol plant in Karnataka, India. As a part of this project, Praj will expand GBL’s existing ethanol-manufacturing capacity to 600,000 L/d, using sugarcane syrup feedstock. When commissioned, this plant will become India’s largest-capacity syrup-based ethanol plant.


Lanxess to begin producing electrolyte solutions for lithium-ion batteries

March 30, 2021 — Through collaboration with Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology Co., Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; www.lanxess.com) will begin producing electrolyte formulations for lithium-ion batteries. For electrolyte production, Lanxess will use a plant in Leverkusen, Germany, operated by its subsidiary Saltigo.


Toyota commissions commercial-scale hydrogen production site near Melbourne

March 29, 2021 — The Australian subsidiary of Toyota Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.toyota.com) commissioned a commercial-scale hydrogen production, storage and refueling facility at its former Altona manufacturing site near Melbourne. Hydrogen is produced on site by a 200-kW electrolyzer that has the capacity to generate up to 80 kg/d of hydrogen. Power for the electrolyzer is drawn from a combination of an 87-kW solar array, 100-kW battery storage and the main grid.


BASF invests in new superadsorbents pilot plant in Antwerp

March 26, 2021 — BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) will invest €25 million to build a superabsorbents pilot plant at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, bolstering the company’s commitment to the acrylics value chain. Proximity of the new pilot plant to BASF’s superabsorbent production activities in Antwerp will accelerate scaleup and commercialization cycles.


Celanese to build new UHMW-PE facility in Europe

March 26, 2021 — Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Tex.; www.celanese.com) intends to expand its ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) capacity in Europe with the construction of a new facility. This site is expected to start up in 2024 with an annual nameplate capacity of around 34,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). Site selection is currently underway.


Evonik completes sodium methylate capacity expansion in Alabama

March 23, 2021 — Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) has completed a significant capacity expansion of its sodium methylate production facility located in Mobile, Ala. With the expansion, the production unit will now be capable of producing up to 90,000 m.t./yr. Besides Mobile, Evonik also produces sodium methylate in Germany and Argentina.


Eastman to upgrade extrusion capacity at Massachusetts facility

March 23, 2021 — Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) is investing to upgrade and expand the extrusion capabilities at its manufacturing facility in Springfield, Ma. The investment will increase Eastman’s supply capability for polyvinyl butyral (PVB) products. The project is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Veolia and Suez move forward with merger plans

April 12, 2021 — The board of directors of Veolia Environnement S.A. (www.veolia.com) and Suez S.A. (both Paris, France; www.suez.com) reached an agreement on the key terms and conditions of a merger between the two groups. This agreement would create a global entity with revenues of around €37 billion.


Hexpol acquires Spain-based rubber compounder Unica

April 12, 2021 — Hexpol AB (Malmö, Sweden; www.hexpol.com) has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of rubber compound manufacturer Unión de Industrias C.A., S.A. (Unica) from private-equity firm Espiga Capital. Unica operates an advanced compounding facility in Corella, Spain, which serves customers in the automotive, construction and agriculture sectors.


Linde sells refrigerants business in Austria to TEGA

April 7, 2021 — TEGA GmbH (Würzburg, Germany; www.tega.de) has acquired Linde plc’s (Guildford, U.K.; www.linde.com) Austrian refrigerant business. TEGA’s local subsidiary, TEGA Austria GmbH, is based in Enns (near Linz), and includes a sales office and local warehouse.


Accenture and Sumitomo Chemical form digitalization JV

April 1, 2021 — Accenture plc (Dublin, Ireland; www.accenture.com) and Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan; www.sumitomo-chem.co.jp) have established a joint venture (JV) called Sumika DX Accent. The JV will leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and other technologies to transform operations and create new businesses at Sumitomo Chemical Group. It is 80% owned by Sumitomo Chemical and 20% by Accenture.


DSM acquires bio-based intermediates assets from Amyris

March 31, 2021 — Royal DSM N.V. (Herleen, the Netherlands; www.dsm.com) has reached an agreement to acquire the flavor and fragrance bio-based intermediates business of Amyris, Inc. (Emeryville, Calif.; www.amyris.com), which extends DSM’s offerings in aroma ingredients with bio-based ingredients for the flavor, fragrance and cosmetics industries. DSM will acquire the business for around $150 million. In recent years, DSM also acquired Amyris’ farnesene business and technologies, as well as biotechnology manufacturing facilities in Brazil.


Petrobras approves sale of RLAM petroleum refinery

March 29, 2021 — Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; www.petrobras.com.br) has approved the sale of its Landulpho Alves Refinery (RLAM) and its associated logistics assets, located in São Francisco do Conde, Bahia, Brazil, to Mubadala Capital for $1.65 billion. RLAM is the first of eight Petrobras petroleum refineries that are being divested to have its sale completed.


Eni to acquire Italian biogas producer FRI-EL Biogas Holding

March 23, 2021 — Eni S.p.A.’s (Rome, Italy; www.eni.com) subsidiary Ecofuel and FRI-EL Greenpower have reached an agreement for Eni to acquire FRI-EL Biogas Holding Co., a biogas producer based in Rome. FRI-EL Biogas Holding owns 21 plants generating electricity from biogas, as well as a plant for processing the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, which Eni intends to convert to produce biomethane. When fully operational, this plant will supply over 50 million m3/yr of biomethane.

Mary Page Bailey

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