Setting US chemical distributor apart from its competitors

HB Chemical Inc., one of North America’s largest independent distributors of specialty chemicals focused on the rubber market, has been acquired by Ravago Group. Through this sale, HB Chemical and its affiliates have provided liquidity to their owners and gained a partner with significant experience and resources in the specialty chemicals industry.

Spotlight

Zettachem International

Zettachem International was established to fill a clear gap in the market for supply and technical support of Molecular Sieve, Silica Gel and Activated Alumina to natural gas processing industry, petroleum refining and petrochemical industries, air drying, air-brakes, air separation, bulk and medical oxygen, environmental applications, plastics, coatings, adhesives and other.

OTHER ARTICLES
Chemical Management

We can solve the plastic waste crisis but we don’t have much time

Article | July 13, 2021

IN 2015, a global agreement was reached that 8m tonnes a year of plastic waste entering the oceans was unacceptable, according to this September 2020 article in The Conversation. This was the amount of plastic that was estimated to have ended up in the oceans in 2010. “Several international platforms emerged to address the crisis, including Our Ocean, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the G7 Ocean Plastic Charter, among others,” continued the article. But in 2020, an estimated 24m-34m tonnes of plastic waste was forecast to enter our lakes, rivers and oceans. This could reach as much as 90m tonnes in 2030 if the current trajectory continued, said The Conversation. This is the type of information out there, free to view on the internet and accessible via a very quick Google search, representing a major challenges for our industry. I cannot of course verify the numbers. But they are out there. Also out there is a May 2019 article by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which provided a good summary of research into what experts believed was the scale of the waste problem in the developing world.

Read More
Chemical Management

Key Trends in the Digital Transformation of the Chemical Industry

Article | July 22, 2021

The chemical business is intricate, with numerous sub-sectors dealing with various challenges. Thus, there are some differences in the sector's main areas of digitalization. For instance, while specialty chemicals with smaller batches but larger profit margins are concerned with improving quality, large factories are concentrated on accelerating throughput speed. To be able to react to quick and repeated changes in demand, supply, and working circumstances, however, every plant must optimize output, reduce waste, improve safety and sustainability, and become more nimble. Therefore, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing are expected to be the three most popular applications for digital transformation during the coming two years. Key Trends Production Optimization The first and most valuable use cases of digitalization in chemical plants center on production optimization through improved equipment performance, process automation, remote and predictive monitoring, and simplified maintenance. Chemical factories, which often provide basic chemicals for use as end products in other sectors, have a special responsibility to maintain consistently high product quality. However, doing so can be challenging given the significant variations in raw material supply and quality. In addition, as process engineers can change the mix on the fly in reaction to fluctuations in quality, feedstock, or ambient temperatures, better data and analytics enable finer and more frequent adjustments. Lowering Waste The main advantage of digitally transformed plants so far has been cost reduction. The price volatility of raw materials is a problem for the chemical production sector because customers naturally want constant low prices. Minimizing waste is critical since facilities must contend with rising energy costs. Analytics tools that monitor fluctuating raw material prices aid factories in negotiating the best deals with suppliers and preparing in advance for price spikes. The risk of oversupply is reduced since plants can prepare the proper quantities of various products thanks to more precise demand predictions. Sustainability, Compliance, and Safety The chemical industry is heavily regulated as a result of the quantity of hazardous chemicals and the number of end-use industries that rely on it. Businesses are adopting digital transformation to boost safety awareness, reduce emissions and dangerous flare incidents, and guarantee a transparent and accurate audit trail. Plants that quickly adopt digital solutions for remote monitoring, supply chain visibility, waste reduction, production optimization, raising their safety profile, and opening up new opportunities will profit from higher profits and increased revenue, whereas those that hesitate for too long risk failing in the long run.

Read More
Chemical Technology

Pandemic’s third wave seems unlikely to damage global petrochemicals demand

Article | July 14, 2022

Petrochemical stocks plunged worldwide on 19 July ahead of the Q2 earnings season. The declines were consistent with those in economically sensitive sectors such as steel, copper, automotive and housing,” wrote my ICIS colleague, Joseph Chang, in this Insight article.

Read More
Chemical Technology

Organic Catalyst Boasts Big Benefits

Article | June 6, 2022

An enzyme-mimicking catalyst opens a new route to important organic molecules such as glycolic acid and amino acids from pyruvate, report researchers in Japan. Moreover, the new catalyst is cheaper, more stable, safer and more environmentally friendly than conventional metal catalysts used in industry, they note, adding that it also displays the high enantioselectivity required by the pharmaceutical industry. “On top of these advantages, our newly developed organic catalyst system also promotes reactions using pyruvate that aren’t easily achievable using metal catalysts,” says Santanu Mondal, a PhD candidate in the chemistry and chemical bioengineering unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, Okinawa, Japan, and lead author of a study recently published in Organic Letters. “Organic catalysts, in particular, are set to revolutionize the industry and make chemistry more sustainable,” he stresses. The researchers use an acid and an amine mixture to force the pyruvate to act as an electron donor rather than its usual role as an electron receiver (Figure 1). Effectively mimicking how enzymes work, the amine binds to the pyruvate to make an intermediate molecule. The organic acid then covers up part of the intermediate molecule while leaving another part that can donate electrons free to react to form a new product. Currently, the organic catalyst system only works when reacting pyruvate with a specific class of organic molecule called cyclic imines. So, the researchers now are looking to develop a more-universal catalyst, i.e., one that can speed up reactions between pyruvate and a broad range of organic molecules. The challenge here is to try to make the electron-donating intermediate stage of pyruvate react with other functional groups such as aldehydes and ketones. However, different catalysts create different intermediates, all with different properties. For example, the enamine intermediate created by the researchers’ new reaction only reacts with cyclic imines. Their hypothesis, currently being investigated, is that creation of other intermediates such as an enolate, if possible, would achieve a broader pyruvate reactivity. In terms of cost, the researchers note that a palladium catalyst used in similar reactions is 25 times more expensive than their organic acid — which also is made from eco-friendly quinine. In addition, they believe scale-up of the process for industrial use definitely is possible. However, the researchers caution that the current amine-to-acid-catalyst loading ratio of 1:2 probably would need to be optimized for better results at a larger scale.

Read More

Spotlight

Zettachem International

Zettachem International was established to fill a clear gap in the market for supply and technical support of Molecular Sieve, Silica Gel and Activated Alumina to natural gas processing industry, petroleum refining and petrochemical industries, air drying, air-brakes, air separation, bulk and medical oxygen, environmental applications, plastics, coatings, adhesives and other.

Related News

Chemical Technology

With the Acquisition of Agiplast, Arkema Strengthens Its Commitment to the Circular Economy

ARKEMA | May 25, 2021

With the planned acquisition of Agiplast, a leader in the regeneration of high-performance polymers, especially specialty polyamides, and fluoropolymers, Arkema is going to be ready to offer a full service to customers in terms of materials circularity, addressing growing market expectations during this field. This project, which contributes to the sustainable development of the polymer industry, is perfectly in line with Arkema’s sustainable growth strategy. Arkema plans to accumulate Agiplast, a company specialized in the regeneration of high-performance polymers, and its historical partner in recycling operations. the company, with annual sales of around €15 million, operates a plant in Italy and has 32 employees. Agiplast’s strong know-how in mechanical recycling technologies will enable Arkema to supply top-quality recycled polymers to its customers. In October 2019, Arkema, the world leader in bio-based high-performance polymers, had already launched Virtucycle®, an ambitious program with Agiplast aimed toward developing loops for the gathering and regeneration of high-performance polymers while minimizing CO2 emissions. With this acquisition, Arkema is going to be the primary fully integrated high-performance polymer manufacturer offering both bio-based and recycled materials to deal with the challenges of resource scarcity and end-of-life products. This bolt-on acquisition is thus in line with Arkema’s CSR and sustainable growth strategy, and especially the transition to a circular economy. The deal is expected to close in June 2021. About ARKEMA Building on its unique set of experience in materials science, Arkema offers a portfolio of first-class technologies to address the ever-growing demand for new and sustainable materials. With the ambition to become 2024 a pure player in Specialty Materials, the Group is structured into 3 complementary, resilient, and highly innovative segments dedicated to Specialty Materials -Adhesive solutions, Advanced Materials, and Coating Solutions- accounting for a few 82% of Group sales, and a well-positioned and competitive Intermediates segments. Arkema offers cutting-edge technological solutions to satisfy the challenges of, among other things, new energies, access to water, recycling, urbanization, and mobility and fosters a permanent dialogue with all its stakeholders. The Group reported sales of around €8 billion in 2020 and operates in some 55 countries with 20,600 employees worldwide

Read More

Chemical Management

Huntsman Completes the Acquisition of Gabriel Performance Products, Further Expanding its Specialty Chemicals Portfolio

Huntsman | January 20, 2021

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE: HUN) today announced it completed the acquisition of Gabriel Performance Products (Gabriel), a North American specialty chemical manufacturer of specialty additives and epoxy curing agents for the coatings, adhesives, sealants and composite end-markets, from Audax Private Equity. Huntsman paid $250 million, subject to customary closing adjustments, in an all-cash transaction funded from available liquidity. Gabriel had 2019 revenues of approximately $106 million with three manufacturing facilities located in Ashtabula, Ohio, Harrison City, Pennsylvania and Rock Hill, South Carolina. Based on calendar year 2019, the purchase price represents an adjusted EBITDA multiple of approximately 11 times, or approximately 8 times pro forma for synergies. Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals with 2019 revenues of approximately $7 billion. Our chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. We operate more than 70 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in approximately 30 countries and employ approximately 9,000 associates within our four distinct business divisions. Certain information in this release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based on management's current beliefs and expectations. The forward-looking statements in this release are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services, prices and other factors as discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Huntsman companies' filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Significant risks and uncertainties may relate to, but are not limited to, volatile global economic conditions, cyclical and volatile product markets, disruptions in production at manufacturing facilities, reorganization or restructuring of Huntsman's operations, including any delay of, or other negative developments affecting the ability to implement cost reductions, timing of proposed transactions, and manufacturing optimization improvements in Huntsman businesses and realize anticipated cost savings, ability to achieve projected synergies, and other financial, economic, competitive, environmental, political, legal, regulatory and technological factors. The company assumes no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by applicable laws.

Read More

Raw Materials

Conservation Groups Sue EPA for Failure to Adequately Protect against Oil, Methane Gas Industry

Conservation Groups | January 18, 2021

Two conservation groups have launched a lawsuit to fight the EPA’s “failure to require adequate pollution controls for the oil and methane gas industry” in Chicago and areas of California. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health point out that two Canadian provinces require that the oil and methane gas industry install zero emission pneumatic controllers. “There is no reason the EPA cannot adopt this readily available technology,” says Kaya Sugerman with the Center for Environmental Health. The EPA’s guidelines for oil and methane gas production recommend pneumatic controllers that emit volatile organic compounds, when pneumatic controllers that do not emit any of these compounds are in widespread use at production sites and compressor stations in both the US and Canada, the groups argue. “Taking action to increase the use of zero emission controllers has a co-benefit of reducing methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is 87 times more damaging for climate change than carbon dioxide,” the groups say. They point out that, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, pneumatic controllers are the largest source of methane from the oil industry and the second-largest source of methane from the methane gas industry.

Read More

Chemical Technology

With the Acquisition of Agiplast, Arkema Strengthens Its Commitment to the Circular Economy

ARKEMA | May 25, 2021

With the planned acquisition of Agiplast, a leader in the regeneration of high-performance polymers, especially specialty polyamides, and fluoropolymers, Arkema is going to be ready to offer a full service to customers in terms of materials circularity, addressing growing market expectations during this field. This project, which contributes to the sustainable development of the polymer industry, is perfectly in line with Arkema’s sustainable growth strategy. Arkema plans to accumulate Agiplast, a company specialized in the regeneration of high-performance polymers, and its historical partner in recycling operations. the company, with annual sales of around €15 million, operates a plant in Italy and has 32 employees. Agiplast’s strong know-how in mechanical recycling technologies will enable Arkema to supply top-quality recycled polymers to its customers. In October 2019, Arkema, the world leader in bio-based high-performance polymers, had already launched Virtucycle®, an ambitious program with Agiplast aimed toward developing loops for the gathering and regeneration of high-performance polymers while minimizing CO2 emissions. With this acquisition, Arkema is going to be the primary fully integrated high-performance polymer manufacturer offering both bio-based and recycled materials to deal with the challenges of resource scarcity and end-of-life products. This bolt-on acquisition is thus in line with Arkema’s CSR and sustainable growth strategy, and especially the transition to a circular economy. The deal is expected to close in June 2021. About ARKEMA Building on its unique set of experience in materials science, Arkema offers a portfolio of first-class technologies to address the ever-growing demand for new and sustainable materials. With the ambition to become 2024 a pure player in Specialty Materials, the Group is structured into 3 complementary, resilient, and highly innovative segments dedicated to Specialty Materials -Adhesive solutions, Advanced Materials, and Coating Solutions- accounting for a few 82% of Group sales, and a well-positioned and competitive Intermediates segments. Arkema offers cutting-edge technological solutions to satisfy the challenges of, among other things, new energies, access to water, recycling, urbanization, and mobility and fosters a permanent dialogue with all its stakeholders. The Group reported sales of around €8 billion in 2020 and operates in some 55 countries with 20,600 employees worldwide

Read More

Chemical Management

Huntsman Completes the Acquisition of Gabriel Performance Products, Further Expanding its Specialty Chemicals Portfolio

Huntsman | January 20, 2021

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE: HUN) today announced it completed the acquisition of Gabriel Performance Products (Gabriel), a North American specialty chemical manufacturer of specialty additives and epoxy curing agents for the coatings, adhesives, sealants and composite end-markets, from Audax Private Equity. Huntsman paid $250 million, subject to customary closing adjustments, in an all-cash transaction funded from available liquidity. Gabriel had 2019 revenues of approximately $106 million with three manufacturing facilities located in Ashtabula, Ohio, Harrison City, Pennsylvania and Rock Hill, South Carolina. Based on calendar year 2019, the purchase price represents an adjusted EBITDA multiple of approximately 11 times, or approximately 8 times pro forma for synergies. Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals with 2019 revenues of approximately $7 billion. Our chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. We operate more than 70 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in approximately 30 countries and employ approximately 9,000 associates within our four distinct business divisions. Certain information in this release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based on management's current beliefs and expectations. The forward-looking statements in this release are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services, prices and other factors as discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Huntsman companies' filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Significant risks and uncertainties may relate to, but are not limited to, volatile global economic conditions, cyclical and volatile product markets, disruptions in production at manufacturing facilities, reorganization or restructuring of Huntsman's operations, including any delay of, or other negative developments affecting the ability to implement cost reductions, timing of proposed transactions, and manufacturing optimization improvements in Huntsman businesses and realize anticipated cost savings, ability to achieve projected synergies, and other financial, economic, competitive, environmental, political, legal, regulatory and technological factors. The company assumes no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by applicable laws.

Read More

Raw Materials

Conservation Groups Sue EPA for Failure to Adequately Protect against Oil, Methane Gas Industry

Conservation Groups | January 18, 2021

Two conservation groups have launched a lawsuit to fight the EPA’s “failure to require adequate pollution controls for the oil and methane gas industry” in Chicago and areas of California. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health point out that two Canadian provinces require that the oil and methane gas industry install zero emission pneumatic controllers. “There is no reason the EPA cannot adopt this readily available technology,” says Kaya Sugerman with the Center for Environmental Health. The EPA’s guidelines for oil and methane gas production recommend pneumatic controllers that emit volatile organic compounds, when pneumatic controllers that do not emit any of these compounds are in widespread use at production sites and compressor stations in both the US and Canada, the groups argue. “Taking action to increase the use of zero emission controllers has a co-benefit of reducing methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is 87 times more damaging for climate change than carbon dioxide,” the groups say. They point out that, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, pneumatic controllers are the largest source of methane from the oil industry and the second-largest source of methane from the methane gas industry.

Read More

Events