January's top stories: Anellotech's new facility, QuantumSphere's Ammonia patent

Anellotech begins construction of development and testing facility (TCat-8), Addivant triples liquid phosphite antioxidant production in US, while LG Chem cancels $4.2bn petrochemical project in Kazakhstan. Chemical technology wraps up the key headlines from January 2016.


Anellotech begins construction for renewable chemical testing and development facility in Texas, US


Anellotech began construction of its development and testing facility (TCat-8) in Silsbee, Texas, US, for cost-competitive renewable chemicals from non-food biomass.

The company began construction of a building and related facilities to house the unit on the site of its operating partner, South Hampton Resources (SHR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trecora Resources.

QuantumSphere secures patent for new Ammonia production technology

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved the patent application of proprietary catalysts producer QuantumSphere for its advanced FeNIX nanocatalyst accelerator technology for ammonia production.

The next-generation ammonia production technology involves the application of iron nanocatalysts, applied as a coating onto existing commercial ammonia catalysts, to increase catalytic activity and production efficiency in ammonia synthesis.

QuantumSphere president and CEO Kevin Maloney said: "We are very pleased to receive the notice of allowance from the USPTO for this patent application, which further strengthens our market position to improve production efficiencies in large-scale chemical plants.

Addivant to triple production of liquid phosphite antioxidant at its West Virginia plant, US

Connecticut-based polymer additive maker Addivant announced a plan to make a multi-million dollar investment at its Morgantown, West Virginia plant to triple the production capacity of the liquid phosphite antioxidant called WESTON 705.

WESTON 705 is a nonylphenol-free antioxidant used in polyethylene manufacturing, which has already been approved by regulators for use in food packaging applications.

The company will produce liquid phosphite antioxidants at the expanded plant, which will allow manufacturers of polyethylene films and rigid formats to meet food packaging needs without using nonylphenol chemistry.

Total awards oxygen and nitrogen supply contract to Praxair


Industrial gases firm Praxair secured a contract from Total to deliver oxygen and nitrogen in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium.

Total is investing €1bn in the port to refurbish its largest refining and petrochemicals platform in Europe.

The expansion of the facilities will require increased quantities of industrial gases for various applications in its refinery and petrochemical processes.

LG Chem cancels $4.2bn petrochemical project in Kazakhstan

South Korea-based LG Chem cancelled its plans to build a $4.2bn petrochemical plant complex in Kazakhstan.

The company said that it is scrapping its plan due to rise in investment and the continuing slump in oil prices.

In 2011, LG Chem formed a 50-50 joint venture with Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries (KPI), to build the plant.

Idemitsu to increase production capacity for Xarec resin

Japan-based Idemitsu Kosan is all set to increase its production capacity for syndiotactic polystyrene resin (SPS) Xarec.

Idemitsu started production of the low-density engineering plastic SPS on an industrialised scale in 1997.

The company said it will increase the production capacity of the SPS manufacturing unit at its Chiba plant due to increasing demand for the product at an annual rate of around 10%.

Air Liquide to build air separation unit in Mongolia


Air Liquide will invest €60m to build an Air Separation Unit (ASU) in Dalateqi of Ordos City, Inner Mongolia to supply industrial gases to ENN Ecological Holdings Company.

The company has signed a long-term deal with Xinneng Energy Company, a subsidiary of ENN Ecological Holdings Company (ENN) to supply gases.

The plant will commence operations in the second quarter of 2018, with a capacity of 2,700t of oxygen per day.

ICP Group to buy pressurised polyurethane foam adhesives business from 3M

Innovative Chemical Products Group (ICP Group), a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity firm, signed a deal to buy 3M's pressurised polyurethane foam adhesives business, formely Polyfoam.

The business to be sold by 3M is a part of its industrial adhesives and tapes division, and provides pressurised polyurethane foam adhesive formulations and systems for the residential and commercial roofing, as well as insulation and industrial foam sectors.

The companies have not disclosed details of the deal, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year, after receiving regulatory approval.

Linde wins contract for Gazprom's gas processing project in Russia


Gazprom, along with its general contractor NIPIgas, selected technology firm Linde Group as the licencer for cryogenic gas separation technology at the Amur Gas Processing Plant (Amur GPP) in Russia.

Under the deal, Linde will engineer and deliver units for ethane and natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction and nitrogen rejection, in addition to helium purification, liquefaction and storage.

The facility, which will be constructed in five phases by 2024, will be involved in the supply of Russian gas to China through the 'Power of Siberia' pipeline from eastern Siberian gas fields.

PotashCorp to suspend Picadilly operations in Canada, affecting 420 jobs

Potash Corporation (PotashCorp), a crop nutrient producer, decided to indefinitely suspend its potash operations, located at Picadilly, New Brunswick, Canada, due to a tough macroeconomic environment.

The decision will affect around 420 to 430 people working in the facility.

PotashCorp will retain a core crew group of around 35 employees to maintain the operation at Picadilly in care-and-maintenance mode, at an estimated annual cost of $20m in this year and $15m in the following years.

Wacker expands high-quality silicone fluids production in Germany


Global silicone manufacturer Wacker Group expanded the production capacity of functional silicone fluids at its Burghausen facility, Germany.

With the expansion, Wacker aims to meet the growing demand for specialty fluids and silicone emulsions in various sectors, such as the coatings, paper, textile, cosmetics, and personal care industries.

The company invested around €26m in the expansion that increased the production capacity of the plant by 70%.