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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: April 17, 2007

Technically Speaking

North America

Hydrogen Facility
Air Products is adding capacity to its Louisiana hydrogen pipeline system by building a new hydrogen production facility in Garyville, Louisiana.  The facility will supply the Garyville refinery operations of Marathon Petroleum Company as well as other customers within the pipeline system.  The 120 meter cubic feet/day plant should be operational in late 2009 in conjunction with a planned Marathon refinery expansion.

U.S. Presence Increased
Brenntag has acquired U.S.-based Ulrich Chemical, a distributor of chemicals and services to pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, paint and coatings, plastics, water and wastewater treatment, cosmetics and personal care.  In 2006, Ulrich had sales of $83.6 million.

Workforce Cut
Chemtura will cut its global workforce by 10% (620 positions) at a cost of $25 million Ė $35 million as it streamlines business segments from six to four.  It expects annualized cost reductions of $50 million from the move.  The four segments will be Polymer Additives, Performance Specialties, Consumer Products and Crop Protection.  Five senior executives will lose their positions as a result of this change.  The move is believed to help Chemtura be better able to serve current customer needs, anticipate its future requirements and target rapidly growing industry segments by focusing on end-use markets.

Plastics Ban
San Francisco has banned non-biodegradable plastic bags.  The ordinance by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would prohibit supermarkets and pharmacies with sales above $2 million from using recyclable plastic bags, potentially hurting polyolefins manufacturers supplying plastic bags for retail stores.

New Facility
Aggreko, LLC opened a new service center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to provide local support to industrial and commercial operations in the western part of the country.  With the opening of this new location, Aggreko will directly serve the Alberta market as well as the regional oil and gas industries. 


Huntsmanís polyurethanes divisionís joint-venture crude MDI facility in Caojing, China thatís been offline since mid-December is currently undergoing repairs to replace a damaged heat exchanger.  The facility should resume production this quarter.  The joint venture includes Huntsman, BASF, Shanghai Hua Yi, Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical and Sinopec Shanghai Gao Qiao Petrochemical.  Huntsmanís downstream majority-owned MDI finishing and pre-polymers operation is still running and uses MDI imported from other Huntsman facilities.

Deforesting Accusation
Greenpeace has said that a soy processing and shipping facility built by Cargill has been closed down by the Brazilian Environment Agency (IBAMA) pending an assessment of its environmental impact.  Located in Santarem, Brazil, Greenpeace claims that the facility was a source of controversy after it was discovered that large areas of the Amazon had been destroyed to grow soy that was then shipped to Europe.

Approval Granted
ExxonMobil, SInopec, Saudi Aramco and the Fujian province have received Chinese government approval and business licenses to operate their $5 billion refinery-cracker joint ventures Fujian Refining and Petrochemical Co. and Sinopec SenMei (Fujian) Petroleum Co.  SInopec SenMei will manage and operate about 750 service stations and a network of terminals in Fujian province.  Sinopec owns 55% of Sinopec SenMei with ExxonMobil China Petroleum and Petrochemical Co. and Saudi Aramco Sino Co. each hold 22.5%.

New Plant
SolVin plans to build a 10,000 ton/year polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) latex plant in response to growing global demand.  The plantís location has yet to be determined, but sites in Asia are being considered.  A decision should be made by the third quarter.  PVDC latex is a specialty barrier material used as a coating in food and pharmaceutical packaging.

Bioethanol Plant
A 100,000 ton/year bioethanol plant will be built in Brzeg Dolny, Poland.  Unicorn Chemical of Northville, Michigan plans to spend $26.7 million to build the plant and will export all of the plantís output.  Delta-T of Williamsburg, Virginia will be the source for the plantís technology.

Technically Speaking

What is a "saltation velocity" and how is it used in designing pneumatic conveying systems?

The saltation velocity is defined as the actual gas velocity (in a horizontal pipe run) at which the particles of a homogeneous solid flow will start to fall out of the gas stream.

In designing, the saltation velocity is used as a basis for choosing the design gas velocity in a pneumatic conveying system. Usually, the saltation gas velocity is multiplied by a factor, which is dependent on the nature of the solids, to arrive at a design gas velocity.

For example, the saltation velocity factor for fine particles may be on the order of 2.5 while the factor could be as high as 5 for course particles such as soy beans.

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