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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 17, 2009

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North America

New Plant

Huntsman Corp. plans to start up a 45,000 ton/year maleic anhydride plant. The plant will be located in Geismar, Louisiana. It is expected to start up in April 2009.


Testing Extended

The Environmental Appeals Board is giving DuPont three more years to finish testing products that may be a source of the chemical PFOA. The mandated testing was designed to determine the potential of chemicals used at DuPont's Chambers Works plant in New Jersey to break down into PFOA and similar chemicals. Originally, the tests were to be concluded in December, but DuPont said it needed the extension to purify the products under study. DuPont and others have already announced plans to phase out the use of PFOA in the manufacturing process by 2015 even though DuPont says the evidence indicates PFOA exposure does not pose a health risk.

Plant Idle

Equistar Chemicals, LP’s olefins plant at Chocolate Bayou, Texas will remain idled for an indefinite period. In addition, the company announced the reduction of approximately 220 employees at the site.

Plant Shutdown

Dow Chemical Co. will shutdown its Poly 2 LDPE plant in Freeport, Texas. The closure is driven by current economic conditions and overcapacity for LDPE in North America. Approximately 40 people are affected and will either be redeployed or receive a severance package. The plant should be shutdown by the end of March.

Solar Shingles

Dow Chemical Co. says it aims to start selling power-generating roof shingles by 2011. The project – Dow Solar Solutions – involves the company’s scientists and engineers who are working to develop a product to sell thermoplastic solar roof shingles throughout North America.


Hydrogen Supply

Praxair, Inc. has been awarded a contract to supply hydrogen to Cetane Energy, LLC. The hydrogen will be used for the production of second-generation renewable diesel from tallow (animal fat) at Cetane’s biorefinery in Carlsbad, New Mexico.


Plant Expansion

A joint venture between Huntsman Corp. and Sasol Ltd. has reached a financing agreement to expand the joint venture’s maleic anhydride production site in Moers, Germany. The expansion will increase capacity of maleic anhydride from 60,000 tons/year to 105,000 tons/year. This will be possible through the addition of a second reactor.

Possible Sale

BASF is considering selling off its leathers and textiles chemicals business, which has seen low market growth and high competitive pressure. The company has implemented a series of restructuring and efficiency programs that have not been sufficient to ensure the long-term profitability of the business. BASF operates production plants for leather and textile chemicals in Germany, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, India and China.

Global Alliance Extended

Technip and Air Products have signed an agreement for a long-term extension of their global business alliance for hydrogen and synthesis gas facilities. As part of the alliance, Technip provides licensing for its proprietary technologies, design and engineering services while Air Products provides the gas separation technology. The global alliance has been in place since 1992.

R&D Center

Bayer AG will invest $129 million in a new global research and development center in Beijing, China during the next five years. China is the third largest market worldwide for Bayer, and it will become the third country besides Germany and the U.S. to host such a center for the company’s Schering Parma unit.

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