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John S. Forrester
April 2, 2021
4 Min Read
Representative imageImage courtesy of Pixabay
Chemical firms announced several new facilities and facility expansion projects during March, providing some indication that the chemical industry is progressing in its recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several major HAZMAT situations and fires also captured headlines over the last month. Powder & Bulk Solids editors selected these posts to provide our audience with an overview of some of the most interesting chemical industry-related developments that were reported in the last month.
German chemicals and materials firm BASF is launching a €25 million (about $29 million) project to erect a Superabsorbents Excellence Center at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium that will support its Hygiene business.
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 1.2% in March on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1% increase in February. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 5.5% in March.
A fire broke out in late March at the Sartomer Americas chemical plant at the Tightsqueeze Industrial Park in Chatham, VA, creating a “chemical smoke cloud” that forced residents near the site to shelter in place and evacuations at a high school. Sartomer’s parent company, Arkema, issued a statement to a local Fox News affiliate that said the incident involved an overheated acrylic product.
The Estee Lauder Companies (ELC) signed a global memorandum of understanding (MOU) with chemicals and specialty materials firm Eastman to further progress on the cosmetics manufacturer’s sustainability goals.
Powder & Bulk Solids created a list of several video game titles that touch on chemistry or chemical engineering concepts. Whether you’re looking to brush up your skills or have a chemicals-themed adventure, these games can off hours of fun.
Chemicals producer Ashland Global Holdings Inc. revealed plans last month to increase production of Natrosol brand hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) at its manufacturing site in Nanjing, China. The company said the additional capacity will enable it to better serve growing demand, increase global supply security, and demonstrate its commitment to Asia.
Specialty chemicals firm Clariant officially opened its new One Clariant Campus in Shanghai, China in mid-March. The new, 24,000-sq-m site will house its operational headquarters and an innovation center to support customers in the country. Clariant invested CHF 45 million, or about $48 million, to open the new complex.
Firefighters were sent to the Gharda Chemicals Ltd. plant in Ratnagiri, India last month after an explosion and fire occurred at the facility. Reports said at least four people were killed and an unknown number were injured in the incident.
Specialty chemicals manufacturer Evonik Corporation finished an expansion project at its Mobile, AL production plant to increase the site’s capacity for sodium methylate to 90,000 mt/yr. The company initiated the expansion in response to increasing use of biodiesel and the EPA’s definitions for decarbonization. Additional capacity at the Mobile plant will also support the performance chemicals and life science markets.
Chemicals and specialty materials firm Celanese Corp. is launching a three-year project to increase the engineered materials compounding capacities of three of its plants in Asia. The expansions are being initiated in response to growth in demand for compounded polymers.
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