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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 the U.S. and India.  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: May 2, 2006

Technically Speaking


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.


Hydrogen storage

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.


Plant outage

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.


Hydrogen reformer

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.


Facility opens

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.


Regional service centers

Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited, a subsidiary of Clariant International, was established on April 1 after the successful integration of all the former Clariant affiliates in India.  The company has recently setup Regional Technical Service Centers in Panipat, Bangalore, Surat and Tirupur.  These service centers are equipped with world-class facilities to provide a comprehensive package of service including product testing, trouble shooting, lab-to-lab reproducibility, lab-to-bulk reproducibility, fabric preparation, shade matching, development of various specialty finishes and quality checks in terms of fastness properties, eco parameters and technical parameters of products.  The facilities will enable focus on individual customer requirements, enabling prompt service to the regional customers.  In addition, the company has introduced Clariant Consultancy Service to help customers optimize utility costs, production and inventory.


Desalination plants

Two desalination plants, one with a one million liters/day capacity and the other with ten million liters/day capacity will be setup near Chennai.  The smaller facility is expected to be ready shortly, with the larger one by the end of 2006.  The plants, set up by the government, will provide drinking water.


CTL plants suggested

IOC has proposed mega chemical and petrochemical sites to help take care of the feedstock shortage in India.  The proposal suggests that Indiaís abundant coal reserves be used to make petroleum produces.  Coal can be effectively gasified and the resultant syngas could be covered to premium fuels using Fischer Tropsch (FT) Synthesis, a proprietary technology from Sasol, South Africa.  FT typically produces high quality gasoil along with naphtha and LPG.  Naphtha generated from this process is highly parafiinic and is considered a superior feedstock for petrochemical crackers. 


Maize processing plant

Riddhi Siddhi Gluco Biols Ltd. (RSGBL) has announced capacity expansion plans costing roughly Rs. 120-crore to improve its existing facilities and set up a new maize processing complex at Uttaranchal.  The new plant, scheduled for completion in March 2007, will have the capacity to process 165,000 tons of maize/year.

Technically Speaking

What is the best way to configure a bypass line in a slurry service?

Bypass lines should be placed ABOVE the control valve so that the slurry cannot settle out and build up in the line during bypass.

Additionally, slurry lines should be sloped 1/2" for every 10 feet of horizontal pipe run to avoid settling as well.

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