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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: February 5, 2008

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North America


Altuglas International plans to expand its production capability at its Bristol, Pennsylvania plant to meet the increasing demand for its Plexiglas acrylic resin and Solarkote acrylic capstock specialty products.  The expansion will include a new, technologically advanced compounding line to produce the products efficiently, reliably and cost-effectively, with the flexibility to switch between long runs large enough for producing truckload quantities to short runs for producing custom orders.

Chemical Regulations

The Massachusetts state Senate passed a new, revised version of the Safer Alternatives bill establishing a process through which researchers would work with businesses to find safer, cost-effective alternatives to toxic chemicals used in manufacturing.  If the law passes, it will open up a new market for businesses in the state to sell in Europe where the European Union has already adopted stricter chemical standards.  The plan includes state agencies working with businesses to help them make the transition through technical assistance grants and loans.  The bill has now moved to the state House of Representatives for review.

Chlor-alkali Facility

The Dow Chemical Co. will build a membrane chlor-alkali production facility in Freeport, Texas to provide long-term reliable supply of chlorine to derivative products.  Startup for the plant is planned in 2011.  The company has several chlor-alkali assets in the area that are nearing the end of their economic life and would require significant investments to continue operation.  Dow plans to begin the shutdown process for these facilities during the next three years.

Capacity Reduction

OMNOVA Solutions is eliminating approximately 50 million wet pounds of latex capacity at its Mogadore, Ohio plant.  This reduction will occur through consolidating production into available capacity in Mogadore and other OMNOVA latex facilities.  Employment will not be affected by this action as the workforce has been reduced approximately 20% during the past three years through natural attrition.  The move is part of the company’s plans to improve productivity while lowering costs.


Research and Development Increase

Celanese Corp. has reached a definitive agreement with Southwest Research and Design Institute of Chemical Industry (SWRDICI) that will help the company accelerate its research and development efforts in acetyls.  The agreement includes a long-term technology and research and development arrangement in which SWRDICI will collaborate exclusively with Celanese to jointly develop technological advances in the production of acetic acid and other acetyls.  SWRDICI is a subsidiary of Chem China.

Elastomers Plant

SCG-Dow Group, a joint venture of The Dow Chemical Co. and Siam Cement Public Co. Limited (SCG) are planning to build a specialty elastomers train at the joint venture’s site in Map Ta Phut, Thailand.  It is expected to commence operations in 2011 and builds on the long-standing successful business relationship between the two companies.

Olefins Plant

Viva Methanol Limited has selected UOP LLC and its UOP/Hydro MTO process technology and the Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking process technology to produce light olefins from natural gas-derived methanol at its new facility in Nigeria.  The facility is located within the Lagos Free Trade Zone and will be the first commercial-scale installation of the MTO process and Olefin Cracking process technologies.  It will produce 1.3 million metric tons of ethylene and propylene annually and is expected to come online in 2012.

Research Lab

BASF has opened a new research laboratory in Thane near Mumbai, India as well as founded a BASF Indo-German R&D Fund.  The “kilogram laboratory” for organic compounds can work on a scale of up to 50 liters, with flexible synthesis capability between laboratory and production scale.  The fund will be used to finance scientific conferences and PhD research at Indian research institutes in the coming years.  The fund initially starts at EUR 280,000 and the first EUR 25,000 grant was given to the National Organic Symposium Trust, a group that conducts top-ranking international conferences in India each year.


Unipetrol has approved two investment projects aimed at expanding its petrochemical product portfolio while enabling better utilization of its ethylene unit’s products.  Both projects are expected to be completed by 2010 at the group’s Litvinov, Czech Republic premises.

New Facility

Akzo Nobel Powder Coatings has opened a new facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  The new site offers a full range of services and products, including color matching, rapid made-to-order products, as well as technical support.

Production Plant

DuPont has opened a fluoropolymer production plant in Changshu City, China.  The plant produces polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fine-powder and dispersion.  PTFE products are generally supplied to automobile, apparel, construction, aviation, chemical manufacturing and consumer and industrial cookware industries.        

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