Toxic TV Binge: hazardous flame retardant chemicals uncovered in Best Buy, Amazon TVs

A coalition of environmental health advocacy groups today released new research revealing hazardous and outdated flame retardant chemicals contained in streaming televisions from Best Buy and Amazon. The investigation, Toxic TV Binge, uncovered flame retardants in the plastic components of six state-of-the-art TVs under the Toshiba and Insignia brands and developed in partnership with Best Buy and Amazon. The European Union recently banned all organohalogen flame retardants in electronics displays, including TVs. All six TVs examined for Toxic TV Binge — three Best Buy Insignia Roku TVs and three Toshiba (Hisense) Fire TVs produced in partnership with Amazon — were found to contain organohalogens, the worst class of flame retardants.

Spotlight

Chevron Lummus Global (CLG)

Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), a joint venture between Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and Lummus Technology, is a leading process technology licensor for refining hydroprocessing technologies

OTHER ARTICLES
Chemical Technology

Key Trends in the Digital Transformation of the Chemical Industry

Article | July 20, 2022

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 Management

Organic Catalyst Boasts Big Benefits

Article | July 14, 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
Chemical Management

Future-Proofing the Chemical Industry with Digitalization

Article | July 8, 2022

Over the next five to seven years, the chemical sector will place a greater emphasis on sustainability, and digitization will play a significant part in this. Reducing resource use, pollution, energy consumption, and waste are some of its main applications. Additionally, it will increase demand for a circular economy supported by IoT, AI, and other digital technologies. Some of the systems now in place or being used in the sector include autonomous solutions that enable lower energy usage, dispatching systems for effective logistics and strategies for sustainable power and fuel consumption. Chemical players making the switch to digital platforms have a chance to triumph if they move swiftly and update their operational models in accordance with a few common success characteristics. In fact, according to our study, making the correct decisions can increase total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 3 percent or more (EBITDA). The Next Step of Operational Excellence The same level of transformation is available with digital technology for optimal performance, together with success-enabling measures. The same level of corporate participation and realignment will also be necessary for the effective implementation of digital technology. Finance and telecoms were early leaders in adopting digital technology faster than the chemical sector, which has just recently started to move in more significant numbers toward digitalization. A circular economy in the sector is also being enabled by the use and evaluation of digital technology. The "Right to Fix" movement is being driven by governments and legislators in Europe and the US, and small and medium-sized businesses in the industry are expected to invest in technology that makes it easier to repair electronic items with the least amount of waste. On a side note, by enabling the re-use of resources and products throughout the supply chain, digitalization with lean manufacturing (LM) would enable businesses to improve operational excellence and create value, thereby supporting the circular economy goal. Conclusion Given its extensive safety and regulatory requirements, the chemical sector has evolved slowly. However, as the global economy changes, some skills will become obsolete and others essential. The interconnectedness of people, processes, and technology, as well as the requirement for real-time insight at the levels closest to the action, are among the basic principles of Industry 4.0. These values have existed for some time and are an extension of our teams' current operational excellence initiatives. Digital transformation is not a technology endpoint but rather the following stage in the process and business evolution as the chemicals industry advances continuously.

Read More
Chemical Technology

Ways Your Chemical Company Can Benefit From Digitization

Article | July 20, 2022

The chemical industry is evolving. The marketing, purchasing, and selling of chemicals are being affected by forces in the market, with digitization unquestionably having the most significant impact. Many of the existing digitizing models have likely already been given some thought and then rejected. Chemical businesses are currently conducting pilot projects or starting to gradually scale up their digital initiatives after moving past the proof-of-concept stage. Although this past year brought many difficulties, it also provided an opportunity to revise and re-evaluate foundations moving forward. The Great Reset, as the World Economic Forum has dubbed this time period, is illuminating how the chemical industry might leverage digital technologies to advance. Whether prompted by governmental requirements or consumer desires, chemical businesses' net-zero ambitions will necessitate new expenditures throughout the whole chemical value chain. As a result, back-office costs must be as efficient as possible to free up money to pay for those investments while keeping a profit. Consumer pull The most essential requirements for the success of a new product are a solid understanding of customer needs and wants, the competitive climate, and the makeup of the market. The primary factors that influence the needs of the consumer are price, timing, and quality. Therefore, companies create ongoing procedures and plans with these three factors in mind to better serve client needs and grow their market share by regularly creating new products. Technology pushes The influence of digital technology is constantly growing. One of the foundational elements of 21st-century sources of growth is data-driven innovation. There are numerous items and procedures in the history of innovation that were the result of an accident or careful forethought. Vast volumes of data, or "big data," are being produced and used as a result of the convergence of numerous phenomena, including the growing migration of socio-economic activities on the Internet and the decline in the cost of data collecting, storage, and processing. Large data sets are becoming an essential resource for the economy, supporting the development of new markets, procedures, and goods while also generating substantial competitive advantages. For example, a billion customers can now access broadband at a reasonable price because of the digital world's supporting infrastructure. In addition, cloud computing and the enormous amount of information processing equipment it needs are developing swiftly, and low-cost connected gadgets are being introduced into every industry. Economic benefits The financial gains that can be realized through digitization are genuine. The new digital technologies and businesses have seen an influx of cash, and the public markets are rewarding early adopters with record values. The effects of digitization are spreading swiftly throughout every business. Digitization is the changing of life and work as a result of new technologies, not only their acceptance. Much like earlier technologies, modern emerging technologies like the cloud and big data quickly become part of businesses' operations. Unknown to many, this is having a much more significant impact on the industry that makes these tools as well as on customers. Digitalization that derives from and includes strategic business objectives can greatly benefit chemical firms. Cost savings of roughly 30 to 40 percent can already be made on average today. Additionally, in certain situations, digitalization aided in improving service quality and affected the bottom line by, for instance, enabling new business models. On average, platform-driven digitization projects pay off after 18 months.

Read More

Spotlight

Chevron Lummus Global (CLG)

Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), a joint venture between Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and Lummus Technology, is a leading process technology licensor for refining hydroprocessing technologies

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