Researchers put AI to work making chemistry predictions

As chemistry has gotten more advanced and the chemical reactions more complex, it’s no longer always practical for researchers to sit down at a lab bench and start mixing chemicals to see what they can come up with. Tom Miller, a professor of chemistry at Caltech; Matt Welborn, a postdoctoral scholar at the Resnick Sustainability Institute; and Lixue Cheng, a chemistry and chemical engineering graduate student, have developed a new tool that uses machine learning to predict chemical reactions long before reagents hit the test tube. Theirs isn’t the first computational tool developed to make chemistry predictions, but it does improve on what is already in use, and that matters… Read More

Givaudan has formed a strategic partnership with Synthite for the development of exclusive innovative natural ingredients for its fragrance business. The two companies will jointly work on research and development of exceptional qualities of floral and spicy natural ingredients such as jasmine, tuberose, ginger, and cardamom. These unique natural ingredients will enrich Givaudan’s palette of ingredients for perfumers to create the winning fragrances of tomorrow. This new partnership is fully in line with Givaudan’s 2020 strategic goals to expand its offering to consumers’ brands through innovative naturals. Established in 1972 in India, Synthite is a global player in the supply of exceptional quality botanical extract ingredients for fragrances but also flavours. Read More

Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics (P&SP) partnered with Time Technoplast (Time Tech), a multinational conglomerate with focus on polymer product manufacturing, to develop PacXpert packaging technology in India. This collaboration enables Time Tech to manufacture PacXpert and quickly bring to market various packaging applications to service Indian sub-continent and GCC countries (including Egypt)-based consumers. PacXpert packaging technology is an innovative packaging format that enables the transition from larger traditional rigid containers to flexible packaging options. The distinctive flexible stand-up pouch is durable, lightweight, and cost-effective. Read More

History has been made at Westminster Abbey in London with the first major addition to the famous church since 1745 – and AkzoNobel NV has supplied products for the prestigious project. The new £23 million Weston Tower features 500 leaded windows and every window frame is protected with the company’s Interpon powder coatings. The tower provides staircase and lift access to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, located in an area which has never been open to the public before. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries were officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen earlier this summer. The exhibition space displays more than 300 precious regal and religious artifacts, many of which are on show for the first time. Read More


The world’s cleanest water droplet

What effect does water have on ultra-clean surfaces? Using a novel method, researchers at TU Wien and Cornell University have succeeded in demonstrating that smallest impurities can have a surprising effect. In nature, there is no such thing as a truly clean surface. Contact with normal air is sufficient to coat any material with a thin layer of molecules. This “molecular dirt” can change the properties of the material considerably, yet the molecules themselves are difficult to study. Some have speculated that this “dirt” is simply a single layer of water molecules. To test this idea, a new investigation method has been developed at TU Wien… Read More

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) requested the US Trade Representative (USTR) Section 301 Committee, to remove all Chinese-origin chemicals from the latest list of proposed tariffs because of the disproportionate impact they will have on the speciality chemical sector. Many, if not most, chemical supply chains touch China. Accordingly, SOCMA is increasingly concerned that the proposed additional 10-25 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods will have a profoundly negative effect on US speciality chemical manufacturing.  In testimony to the Section 301 Committee, Matt Moedritzer, SOCMA Manager of Legal and Government Relations, emphasized three particular aspects of speciality chemical manufacturing:..Read More

Covestro AG is pushing ahead with developing and marketing its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRTP) by introducing Maezio as brand name. These innovative materials are set to tap into the growing demand worldwide for strong and light materials that contribute to resource conservation and energy efficiency. From mobility and electronics industries to consumer goods and medical products, OEMs and part suppliers can benefit from the high-performance capabilities of advanced composites while enjoying cost-effective and scalable manufacturing solutions offered by Maezio. “The brand gives us a clear and strong identity to further expand our expertise in thermoplastic composites. Read More

LEWA GmbH’s Ecoflow series is suited for metering a wide range of fluids – even hazardous, toxic, abrasive, viscous or critical media. The new drive unit model, LDZ, which is designed for a hydraulic output of 15 kW, is intended to close the gap between the LDG (6 kW) and the LDH (20 kW) sizes. It can be used as a single or multiplex drive unit and can be tailored as per customer’s needs. Among the five pump head types, there are also designs available for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries. During development, special attention was paid to optimizing the components with regard to the manufacturing process. Read More

Researchers develop non-flammable lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries commonly used in consumer electronics are notorious for bursting into flame when damaged. These incidents occasionally have grave consequences, including burns, house fires and at least one plane crash. Inspired by the weird behavior of some liquids that solidify on impact, researchers have developed a practical and inexpensive way to help prevent these fires. The researchers presented their results at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. “In a lithium-ion battery, a thin piece of plastic separates the two electrodes,” Gabriel Veith, Ph.D., said. “If the battery is damaged and the plastic layer fails, the electrodes can come into contact and cause the battery’s liquid electrolyte to catch fire.” Read More

Cargill has the intention to invest $150 million to construct an HM pectin production facility in South America. HM pectin is a versatile, citrus fruit-based texturizer used for jams, beverages/juices, acid dairy drinks and confectionery. The intended project is part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen Cargill’s full pectin footprint, including improvements to its existing three plants in Europe (Germany, France and Italy) and adding a new plant in Brazil to take advantage of local resources. “The pectin market has seen a strong growth for several years, primarily driven by the acid dairy drink market, as well as the growing global consumer demand for label-friendly ingredients. Read More

Wood Group has secured a new four-year contract with Total Denmark E&P to provide the development and delivery of a significant operations readiness assurance scope for the Tyra redevelopment project. Wood will deploy its integrated maintenance database (IMD) to build Total’s SAP maintenance management system. Delivered by Wood specialists based in Esbjerg, Aberdeen and Manila, the IMD enables the creation and manipulation of hierarchical equipment lists, job plans and tasks, task lists, object lists, bills of material, routes and planned maintenance.We have a long-standing relationship with Total across their assets globally and are pleased to continue this on our first project together in Denmark. Read More

BASF SE strengthens its collaboration with Gustav Grolman GmbH & Co KG in the marketing of amine-based curing agents for the professional processing of epoxy resins. Grolman expands the marketing of the BASF specialty chemicals under the Baxxodur brand to Italy, Spain and Portugal, (Europe) specifically for use in epoxy resin-based applications. Examples are thermosetting laminates, highly resistant floor coatings, corrosion protection varnish and composite materials. The products are used in the construction industry as well as in the automotive, marine, aerospace and industrial applications manufacturing.With the extended regional partnership with BASF, Grolman, one of Europe’s largest distributors of specialty chemicals, further strengthens its strong position. Read More

TAN/TBN titration in petrochemical samples – automation for up to 112 samples

Huntsman Corporation (HUN) has opened a multi-purpose facility at the Amata Vietnam Industrial Park, near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The site is a greenfield investment, will house Huntsman’s Polyurethanes and Advanced Materials businesses, and comprises manufacturing; R&D capabilities; a technical service center; warehouse and distribution space and a commercial office. In addition to this facility, Huntsman has a distribution warehouse located in the inland container depot at Long Binh – Dong Nai Province, and a site in Hanoi which offers technical service and comprises warehouse and distribution space and a commercial office. Read More

Royal Dutch Shell plc, through its wholly-owned subsidiary BG Asia Pacific Holdings Pte Ltd (BGAPH), has reduced its stake in the publicly-listed Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) from 24 percent to now 10 percent. Shell believes that India offers a vast opportunity for growth for Shell’s businesses and we will continue to pursue opportunities which can enhance Shell footprint in the country, said Shell in a statement. We continue to believe in the key role that gas will play in India and will actively seek opportunities in that arena. Shell looks forward to playing a significant part in the energy transition in India, it said. This announcement has no impact on other Shell businesses in India, it said. Read More

Contanda Terminals LLC, a provider of bulk liquid storage and logistics services in North America, plans to construct a new, large-capacity storage terminal on its property along the Houston Ship Channel. Supporting its strategic expansion into the petrochemical and hydrocarbon storage markets. The new, state-of-the-art terminal will be called the Contanda Houston Jacintoport Terminal and will provide up to 3.0 million barrels of additional petrochemical and hydrocarbon storage capacity.  The terminal complex will be situated at the company’s Jacintoport terminal site located at the Contanda Steel location, which was acquired in the fourth quarter 2016. Read More

Metrohm presented a fully automated solution for the determination of Total Acid Number (TAN) and Total Base Number (TBN) in up to 112 samples. This solution is based on the OMNIS Sample Robot and addresses the needs of QC laboratories in the petrochemical industry as well as contract laboratories. On the OMNIS Sample Robot, the entire analysis is performed in a closed system. For reliable and reproducible results, the sensor of the system is rinsed and conditioned after each determination. Racks with urgent samples can be prioritized. Read More

Fire breaks out at Shell chemical plant in UK

Fire breaks out at Shell chemical plant in UK

A fire which broke out at a Shell-owned chemical plant on the same site as Essar Oil UK’s Stanlow refinery in northwestern England on Wednesday has been extinguished. Essar said that operations at its refinery were unaffected by the fire, the cause of which is currently unclear. The Shell Higher Olefins Plant (SHOP) is separated from the refinery by a road and rail tracks. Essar operates the chemical plant as well as the refinery. “Earlier this afternoon, a fire occurred at the SHOP chemical plant,” an Essar spokesman said. The fire was extinguished later on Wednesday, he added. Read More


Teijin Limited has agreed to acquire Inapal Plasticos SA (Inapal), a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal. The shares of Inapal will be purchased by Teijin Holdings Netherlands BV, the Teijin Group’s holding company in the Netherlands. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of August 2018. Inapal, headquartered in Leca do Balio, Porto, Portugal, is a tier-one supplier of composite components to the automotive and heavy truck industries. The company’s capabilities include Class A body panels, structural and underbody components using a variety of materials and processes. Read More


LyondellBasell has officially broken ground on what will be the largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant ever built. The Houston area project is estimated to cost $2.4 billion, representing the single-largest capital investment in the company’s history. Once in operation, the plant will produce 1 billion pounds (470,000 metric tons) of PO and 2.2 billion pounds (1 million metric tons) of TBA annually. Startup of the plant is planned for 2021. To optimize product balances and realize synergies between LyondellBasell sites, two facilities will be constructed on existing manufacturing sites. The 140-acre PO/TBA plant will be built at the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, Texas. Read More

BASF SE has introduced Luminate, a new generation of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts for gasoil refiners. The Luminate catalyst is tailored to deliver superior conversion while improving coke selectivity, which can help refineries maximize profitability. This is BASF’s first catalyst based on a new Improved Zeolite Y (IZY) technology. Commercial trials in multiple FCC units showed that the catalyst delivers superior liquid product yields with lower delta coke. “The Luminate catalyst is an innovative new addition to BASF’s advanced and industry-leading refinery catalysts portfolio. Read More

BASF launches next generation of carotenoid formulations

BASF Animal Nutrition launches its Lucantin NXT product line in the EU 28 market. The next generation of carotenoids is stabilized by propyl gallate (PG) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) or tocopherol. The introduction in other countries will gradually follow. Extensive trials have shown that Lucantin NXT products deliver high homogeneity, outstanding stability and long shelf life while maintaining egg yolk and broiler skin coloring efficacy. These carotenoid formulations meet the latest Regulation (EC) No 2017/962, which requires to withdraw EQ as a feed additive. BASF has several decades of experience in formulation and production of carotenoids. Read More

LyondellBasell (LYB), has completed the acquisition of A Schulman Inc. The acquisition more than doubles LyondellBasell’s existing compounding business and broadens the company’s reach into growing, high-margin end markets such as automotive, construction materials, electronic goods and packaging. “This acquisition builds upon our complementary strengths, creating a substantial value proposition for our customers and positioning the company for future growth in this space. Moving forward, our team is focused on a seamless integration that captures opportunity and creates exceptional value for our shareholders,” said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell. Read More

Nemaska Lithium Inc has signed an agreement to supply battery grade lithium hydroxide to Northvolt AB. On April 27, Nemaska Lithium announced an agreement in principle with Northvolt. This agreement is now superseded by a definitive 5-year supply agreement. Under this agreement, Nemaska Lithium agrees to supply, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nemaska Lithium Shawinigan Transformation Inc and Northvolt agrees to purchase, on a take-or-pay basis, up to 5,000 but not less than 3,500 metric tonnes per year of lithium hydroxide produced at the Nemaska’s commercial plant in Shawinigan. Read More

Sika AG has opened a new factory in Dubai, developing its operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An existing production facility for concrete admixtures has been relocated to the new site and expanded. A state-of-the-art mortar facility and a reactor for producing polymers have been installed and will constitute the basis for the production of high-performance concrete admixtures. Furthermore, the new facility will play a strategic role as a sales and distribution centre for the region. Sika has grouped together and greatly expanded its mortar and concrete admixtures production, warehouse capacity, and offices at the new location in Dubai Industrial City. Read More

India bans import of petcoke for use as fuel

Indian Government has banned the import of petcoke for use as fuel, but said shipments for use as feedstock in some industries were allowed. Usage of petcoke, a dirtier alternative to coal, in the energy-hungry country has come under scrutiny due to rising pollution levels in major cities. “Import of Petcoke is allowed for only cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification industries, when used as the feedstock or in the manufacturing process on actual user condition,” the directorate general of foreign trade said. As the world’s largest consumer of petcoke, India imports over half its annual petcoke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States. Read More

Molson Coors Brewing Company said that its Canadian business unit has entered into an agreement to develop cannabis-infused beverages, following legalization. Marijuana use in Canada will become legal later this year. Molson Coors Canada is teaming with leading Canadian cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation (HEXO), to form a joint venture, to pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages. The joint venture will be structured as a standalone start-up company with its own board of directors and an independent management team. Read More

Invista’s technology and licensing group, Invista Performance Technologies (IPT), and Fujian Billion Petrochemicals Co Ltd have reached agreement to license Invista’s latest purified terephthalic acid (PTA) process technology for a new PTA line. The PTA line will have a design capacity of 2.5 million metric tonnes (mmt) per year and will be installed in Fujian Province, China. The targeted project start-up date would be in August 2020. “We are honoured that our advanced, industry-leading P8 technology has been selected. Our demonstrated ability to deliver a fast schedule and the fact that our technology is proven were key factors in our selection. Read More

Walmart said that it will phase out paint removal products with the chemicals methylene chloride and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) from its stores in the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and its website by February 2019. This initiative is consistent with Walmart’s efforts to work with suppliers and the industry to accelerate the adoption and use of sustainable chemistry practices that exceed customers’ expectations. Similar to some of the retailer’s previous work on sustainable chemistry, this initiative also goes above and beyond current legal and regulatory compliances. Last year, Walmart became the first retailer to participate in the Chemical Footprint Project survey. Read More

Valve islands for drinking water, process water treatment

Water treatment is a challenging process, not just for supplying drinking water but also in terms of treating process water, eg in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. For application in filtration processes, for instance ion exchange or reverse-osmosis, the valve islands offer various advantages. The valve islands AirLINE (Type 8652) and AirLINE SP (Type 8647) offer numerous adjustable monitoring and diagnostic functions, which improve system availability and process reliability, while at the same time enabling preventive maintenance. Read More


Trinseo (TSE) has celebrated the 30th anniversary of its latex production plant in Hamina, Finland. Founded in 1988, Hamina latex binders manufacturing plant provides customers with a broad line of products for paper and board, carpet and textiles, as well as the performance latex market. Trinseo’s Hamina latex binders production plant expects continued growth due to its unique latex heritage and renowned industry leadership in the region. It is able to produce and deliver products for a wide variety of industries, including adhesives, construction, and functional nonwovens, and has been positioned itself as strategic partner for its customers. Read More

Thornhill Heat Exchangers has announced a restructure as it celebrates its 30th year in business. A restructure that sees clearer divisions between its specialist areas under a new company, Thornhill Group Ltd. Thornhill Group’s customers will benefit from the significant support its investors are making to push forward Thornhill’s plans for enhancing the high-quality products and responsive services that it is renowned for. Thornhill Group comprises three operating divisions: Thornhill Engineering Services Ltd – Designs and manufactures large heat exchangers and provides on-site servicing backed by in-house heat exchanger service, repair and refurbishment facilities. Read More

Sabic is investing in new applications and methods of collaboration to innovate across the industry value chain, contributing to Saudi Vision 2030. As part of this investment in the future, Sabic’s Specialties business said that it is accelerating the development of disruptive solutions to create end-user market pull by engaging with Nottingham Spirk, a business innovation and product design firm based in Cleveland, US. This relationship brings together the benefits of Sabic’s proprietary speciality thermoplastic offerings and Nottingham Spirk’s award-winning capabilities to design and commercialize breakthrough products across multiple industrial verticals. Read More

Introducing advanced laboratory Paddle Blender

ROSS introduced a new laboratory paddle blender offering advanced features for more convenient, automated powder blending and liquid spraying operation with recipe management. It is constructed entirely of US stainless steel type 304 with 150-grit interior finish and driven by a 1 HP TEFC motor. Complementing the blender’s full vacuum capability, new features including a pneumatic powder charging port and liquid delivery spray system promote batch-to-batch consistency. Touchscreen PLC recipe controls are housed inside a NEMA 4X stainless steel enclosure allowing for indoor or outdoor use. © Chemical Today magazine. Read More

Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC has appointed Kristy Ronco as executive vice president, sales and marketing for its generics division. Ronco will be responsible for leading Generics’ retail sales, addiction therapy sales and branded sales teams. She will also oversee marketing, pricing, forecasting and analytics. Ronco joins Hikma after 11 years at Zydus Pharmaceuticals where she was most recently senior vice president, sales and marketing. Earlier in her career, she held successive positions of increasing responsibility in marketing, contracts, pricing and market analysis at TEVA, Sandoz, Aventis and Johnson & Johnson. Read More

Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK) announced that John Chao has been appointed to its board of directors. John Chao (41) is the chief operating officer of New York Public Radio (WNYC) and has been with the organization since March 2015. He was previously in the strategy and finance practice at McKinsey & Company, where he advised energy and commodity companies, beginning in 2004 and ending his tenure as a partner in 2013. He worked for Westlake Chemical Corporation from 2000 to 2002. “We are delighted that John has agreed to join our board. He brings a unique combination of experience and in-depth knowledge of a variety of industries. Read More

Synalloy Corporation said that its subsidiary Bristol Metals LLC has been awarded an $8 million tubing order. This is the single largest order of its type Bristol Metals has received since acquired by Synalloy. The product will be produced at Synalloy’s Bristol, Tennessee and Munhall, Pennsylvania facilities, and will commence shipping this month and continue through the remainder of 2018.  Read More

Hot isotope container scare briefly shuts Budapest Airport terminal

A terminal of Budapest Airport was briefly shut down due to an overheated container carrying an isotope, a spokesman for the Hungarian Disaster Management Authority said. “Material damaging to health did not get into the environment,” the spokesman, Marton Hajdu told Reuters, adding that the passengers are perfectly safe and Terminal 2B was shut down to facilitate a fast investigation. The terminal was shut late on Wednesday between 7.30 pm (1730 GMT) and about 10.30 pm. Eight incoming and eight outgoing flights were affected, Budapest Airport spokesman Laszlo Kurucz told Reuters. Read More

An Indian shipping company said one of its crude oil tankers suffered an explosion off the coast of Oman and three of its sailors are missing. The Shipping Corporation of India said the explosion struck the MT Desh Vaibhav in the Gulf of Oman while it was en route to Fujairah on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates. The shipper said crew member suffered burns in the blast and was evacuated by helicopter. It said the Omani navy and other ships responded to the fire. A subsequent stock disclosure filed by the shipper said: “The fire has been extinguished and the ship is fully manned and operational.” The company did not identify the nationalities of the missing. A company spokesman declined to comment. Read More

Brenntag AG has completed the acquisition of all shares of specialty chemicals distributor Alphamin SA, headquartered in Wavre, Belgium, and its subsidiary Alphamin Inc, based in New Jersey, US. The company is focused on specialty polymers and waxes, and serves customers in a wide range of industries and across all continents. Karsten Beckmann, Member of the Board of Management of Brenntag Group and CEO Brenntag Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA): Its owned and operated application center in Belgium is fully equipped with state of the art instrumentation and enables Alphamin to provide up-to-date research, development and quality control services to its commercial partners. Read More

By Dr Thunuguntla Jai Mangal Sinha: India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Though currently a significant slice of this growth is attributable to the services sector, the manufacturing sector has the potential to emerge as one of the high growth sectors in India. The latest report from the Centre for International Development at Harvard University (CID) states that India’s productive capabilities far exceed expectations for its current income level, which contributes to the projection of rapid growth for the coming decade. This growing demand witnessed across various segments of the manufacturing sector has led to a concomitant increase in the demand for raw materials. Read More