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Brenntag presents new model

Brenntag, the world’s largest distributor of chemicals and ingredients, has unveiled a new two-division operating model under two COOs, which it will operate from January 2021. This is described as part of the ongoing ‘Project Brenntag’ transformation programme.

Umicore to consolidate in cobalt/nickel chemicals

Umicore has announced plans to streamline its cobalt activities in the Cobalt & Specialty Materials business unit in order to strengthen its competitive position. This will lead to about €55 million in charges.

The unit, which makes cobalt and nickel speciality chemicals for a wide-range of non-battery applications, has been facing increasing competition in many markets and in cobalt refining in recent years.

LiFSI expansion in Japan

Japan’s Nippon Shokubai has decided to begin facility design for a new plant to make its Ionel brand of lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl) imide (LiFSI) electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries. The plant, at the site of the Nisshoku Techno Fine Chemical subsidiary, will have 2,000 tonnes/year of capacity. Construction will begin by the spring of 2023.

Recriminations as explosion hits FAR Chemicals site

A loud explosion took place at FAR Chemicals’ site at Palm Bay, Florida, on the morning of 8 September, which witnesses compared to a sonic boom. Although there were no injuries, this has led to renewed controversy about the site, where the city rezoned the area for housing earlier this year in the teeth of warnings from the company itself.

Lanxess plans oxone monopersulfate expansion

Lanxess has announced plans to invest “a lower double-digit million euro sum” in order to expand oxone monopersulfate capacity at its site in Memphis, Tennessee, by 50% by the end of 2022. This comes in response to “continuous strong demand for disinfectants”, the company said.

Petronas enters oxyalkylates market

Petronas Chemicals (PCG) has acquired PCC’s 50% stake in its Malaysian unit, PCC Oxyalkylates Malaysia. CEO Datuk Sazali Hamzah called this “another milestone for PCG in our quest to develop the group’s specialty chemicals business segment”.

PCG and German-based surfactants producer PCC are already planning an oxyalkylates facility at the Kerteh integrated petrochemical complex in Terengganu (pictured above), plus a joint R&D centre. This is due to begin construction in 2021 and enter production in 2023.

Sironix raises funds to expand Eosix

Seattle-based Sironix Renewables has announced the raising of $645,000 in seed funding from the University of Minnesota Discovery Capital Investment programme and ‘angel’ investors. Together with a $1.15 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, this will be used to scale production of its Eosix technology.

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