Near-zero energy home
BASF is showcasing a new, super-energy home made possible with BASF chemicals. The home, located in Paterson, New Jersey, is approximately 80% more energy efficient, more durable and faster to construct than conventional homes. The house was designed to achieve a 95.5 Home Energy Ratings System Energy Star score and is a prototype for the U.S. Green Building Councilís newly launched rating system for the energy efficiency and environmental impact of homes.
Crude oil prices continue to rise
The price of oil has risen fourfold since the end of 2001. The price of crude oil initially rose to catch up with demand. The increases during the past year have been driven by geopolitical concerns about the potential for disruption of supplies from Nigeria, Venezuela and, more recently, Iran. Perception that the U.S. could run out of oil is driving the concern that it might Ė high prices are being driven by market sentiment and bottlenecks in the U.S. where there is a critical shortage of refining capacity. The number of refineries has fallen dramatically as oil companies close sites and expand key ones rather than build new ones.
Praxair is constructing a hydrogen storage facility in Liberty County, Texas. The facility will enable peak shaving, which will be the first of its kind in the industrial gases industry. The facility will utilize an underground storage cavern.
Chevron Phillips Chemicalís Sweeny, Texas steam cracker had an unplanned shutdown. The unit was taken offline after the ethylene refrigeration unit went down and the compressor could not be started. The unit has an annual ethylene capacity of 907,000 tons and was expected to be online again within one week.
New plant causes closures
Spartech, an engineered thermoplastic sheet materials manufacturer, has begun constructing a $7.6 million plant in Greenville, Ohio. This plant will enable the company to close plants in Greenville, Ohio, Richmond, Indiana, and Clare, Michigan. The new 165,000 square foot plant will have 15 or 16 production lines employing more than 150 people. Startup should is scheduled for late 2007.
Linde Gas will build an onsite hydrogen steam methane reformer at the Shell Chemical plant in Mobile, Alabama. The plant will supply industrial-grade hydrogen, facilitating gas oil hydro-treating by Shell at the location. Start-up is expected in November 2007.
DuPont has opened an $80 million R&D, marketing and manufacturing facility in North Towanda, Pennsylvania. The facility will manufacture pigmented films used to produce color filter components for LCD flat-panel displays.
Proposed ethanol plant
Ergon Ethanol, Inc. and Bunge North America, Inc. have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to build an ethanol plant with an annual capacity of at least 60 million gallons in Mississippi. The facility will provide a key link between Bungeís grain-handling facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana and Ergonís petroleum refining assets. The plant will require at least 21-million bushels of corn each year, creating new markets for regional corn growers. The facility will also generate corn-based co-products.