UK government to develop new chemicals strategy

ICIS | January 29, 2020

The UK government is to develop its first new chemicals sector strategy in over two decades, an official said on Tuesday, as the country prepares to leave the EU. To be developed over the next couple of years, the new UK strategy on chemicals will look at key government priorities for the sector, with environmental and human health, regulation and the circular economy expected to be key, according to Holly Yates, deputy director for chemicals, pesticides and hazardous waste at the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). “It is important not to underestimate extent that the government is serious about the environmental agenda,” said Yates.

Spotlight

If you’ve ever read a news article or blog post about chemicals, you may have heard the oft-cited claim that there are 84,000 untested chemicals in everyday products. This is false. A more accurate count of the total number of chemicals in commerce is closer to 7,700 – this reflects chemicals produced in what EPA considers “significant amounts” and widely used in commerce. And, for more than 35 years, the number of new chemicals that have come to market without EPA review has been zero.

Spotlight

If you’ve ever read a news article or blog post about chemicals, you may have heard the oft-cited claim that there are 84,000 untested chemicals in everyday products. This is false. A more accurate count of the total number of chemicals in commerce is closer to 7,700 – this reflects chemicals produced in what EPA considers “significant amounts” and widely used in commerce. And, for more than 35 years, the number of new chemicals that have come to market without EPA review has been zero.

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CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

Chase Corporation Announces Amended and Restated Credit Agreement

Chase Corporation | August 13, 2021

Chase Corporation, a global specialty chemicals company that is a leading manufacturer of protective materials for high-reliability applications across diverse market sectors, has entered into a new amended and restated credit agreement with Bank of America, N.A., as administrative agent, and with participation from Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., PNC Bank, N.A. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. The new credit agreement was entered into to amend, restate and extend the Company’s preexisting credit facility, which was previously set to mature on December 15, 2021. Moreover, the agreement provides for additional liquidity to finance acquisitions, working capital and capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes. The new agreement increases the Company’s borrowing capabilities to $200 million (up from $150 million under the old facility), with the ability to request an increase in this amount by an additional $100 million at the individual or collective option of any of the lenders (up from $50 million under the old facility). Adam P. Chase, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated that, “Under this new credit agreement, we obtained an increased revolving credit facility which will continue to position us with adequate debt capital and available cash to execute our inorganic growth plans. In this competitive market, having immediate access to funds gives us an advantage in our acquisition program, putting us in the position to close transactions to fulfill our strategic initiatives. Working with our lenders, led by Bank of America, along with Wells Fargo, PNC and JP Morgan, we have established a great structure to meet our needs going forward.” Similar to the previous agreement, the applicable interest rate for the new revolving facility and new term loan is based on the effective London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus a range of 1.00% to 1.75%, depending on the consolidated net leverage ratio of Chase and its subsidiaries. The new credit agreement has a five-year term with interest payments due at the end of the applicable LIBOR period (but in no event less frequently than the three-month anniversary of the commencement of such LIBOR period) and principal payment due at the expiration of the agreement, July 27, 2026. The new credit agreement contains provisions that may replace LIBOR as the benchmark index under certain circumstances. In addition, the Company may elect a base rate option for all or a portion of the new revolving facility, in which case interest payments shall be due with respect to such portion of the new revolving facility on the last business day of each quarter. Michael J. Bourque, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer added that, “Timing in the credit market was favorable so we accelerated our renewal process. We may also elect to convert all or a portion of any balance outstanding on the new revolving facility into a new term loan twice during the term of the new revolving facility giving us maximum flexibility with our debt structure going forward.” About Chase Corporation Chase Corporation, a global specialty chemicals company that was founded in 1946, is a leading manufacturer of protective materials for high-reliability applications throughout the world.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

LanzaTech, with the support of Danone, Discovers Method to Produce Sustainable PET Bottles from Captured Carbon

LanzaTech Inc. | May 27, 2022

A consortium, including LanzaTech and Danone, led to the discovery of a new route to monoethylene glycol, which is a key building block for polyethylene terephthalate, resin, fibers and bottles. The technology converts carbon emissions from steel mills or gasified waste biomass directly into MEG. The carbon capture technology uses a proprietary engineered bacterium to convert carbon emissions directly into MEG through fermentation, bypassing the need for an ethanol intermediate, and simplifying the MEG supply chain. The direct production of MEG was proven at laboratory scale and the presence of MEG was confirmed by two external laboratories. “We have made a breakthrough in the production of sustainable PET that has vast potential to reduce the overall environmental impact of the process. This is a technological breakthrough which could have significant impact, with applications in multiple sectors, including packaging and textiles!” Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech While there is no organism in nature known to produce MEG, through this proof-of-concept stage, LanzaTech has used Synthetic Biology and AI tools to discover multiple novel pathways to make MEG directly from carbon emissions. By combining and prototyping various sets of enzymes identified from different sources in novel ways, LanzaTech has successfully reprogrammed its ethanol producing bacteria to fix and channel carbon into MEG. This early-stage proof of concept work shows for the first time that it is possible for a bacterium to directly produce MEG from gas. By producing MEG directly, the new technology avoids the multiple processing steps required to convert ethanol into ethylene, then ethylene oxide and then to MEG. LanzaTech anticipates that when scaled successfully after a multiyear development phase, the direct production process will lead to PET bottles and PET fibers with a reduced environmental impact. LanzaTech is partnering with leading companies to improve the environmental impact of packaging. Given the success of this proof-of-concept phase, LanzaTech, with the support of Danone, plans to continue the scale-up phase of its direct-to-MEG technology. “We have been working with LanzaTech for years and strongly believe in the long-term capacity of this technology to become a game changer in the way to manage sustainable packaging materials production. This technological collaboration is a key enabler to accelerate the development of this promising technology,” said Pascal Chapon, Danone R&I Advanced Techno Materials Director. About LanzaTech LanzaTech harnesses the power of biology and big data to create climate-safe materials and fuels. With expertise in synthetic biology, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning coupled with engineering, LanzaTech has created a platform that converts waste carbon into new everyday products that would otherwise come from virgin fossil resources. LanzaTech’s first two commercial scale gas fermentation plants have produced over 30 million gallons of ethanol, which is the equivalent of offsetting the release of 150,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additional plants are under construction globally. LanzaTech and partners, InEnTec, Waste Management and lululemon, are now progressing the technology to apply and scale up the technology for upcycling of non-recyclable plastic waste and apparel to MEG, with support from the US Department of Energy. LanzaTech is based in Illinois, USA. As announced on March 8th, 2022, LanzaTech has entered into a merger agreement with AMCI Acquisition Corp. II (Nasdaq: AMCI). Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will be renamed LanzaTech Global, Inc. and its common stock is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LNZA”. About Danone Danone is a leading multi-local food & beverages company building on health-focused and fast-growing categories in 3 businesses: Essential Dairy & Plant-Based products, Waters and Specialized Nutrition. As a company committed to protecting and nourishing the health of the planet and people, Danone works to offer nutritious, high-quality food and drinks in packaging that is 100% circular. This means eliminating the packaging it does not need, innovating so all the packaging it needs is designed to be safely reused, recycled or composted and ensuring the material it produces stays in the economy and never becomes waste or pollution.

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CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

ExxonMobil Affiliate to Produce Renewable Diesel to Help Reduce Transportation Emissions in Canada

ExxonMobil | August 30, 2021

ExxonMobil today announced its majority-owned affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd., is moving forward with plans to produce renewable diesel at a new complex at its Strathcona refinery in Edmonton, Canada. When construction is complete, the refinery is expected to produce approximately 20,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel, which could reduce emissions in the Canadian transportation sector by about 3 million metric tons per year. The complex will utilize locally grown plant-based feedstock and hydrogen with carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the manufacturing process. “Canada’s proposed low-carbon fuel policies incentivize the development of lower-emission fuels that can make meaningful contributions to the hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy, including transportation,” said Ian Carr, president of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company. “The Strathcona project is an example of how well-designed policies allow us to leverage our existing global facilities for capital efficiency, utilize our proprietary catalyst technology, and bring our decades of processing experience to develop low-emission fuels.” The renewable diesel production process will utilize blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Production of blue hydrogen has been shown to have substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventionally produced hydrogen. Approximately 500,000 metric tons of CO2 are expected to be captured each year utilizing CCS. The blue hydrogen and biofeedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium low-carbon diesel fuel. “Canada’s proposed low-carbon fuel policies incentivize the development of lower-emission fuels that can make meaningful contributions to the hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy, including transportation,” said Ian Carr, president of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company. “The Strathcona project is an example of how well-designed policies allow us to leverage our existing global facilities for capital efficiency, utilize our proprietary catalyst technology, and bring our decades of processing experience to develop low-emission fuels.” The renewable diesel production process will utilize blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Production of blue hydrogen has been shown to have substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventionally produced hydrogen. Approximately 500,000 metric tons of CO2 are expected to be captured each year utilizing CCS. The blue hydrogen and biofeedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium low-carbon diesel fuel. The Strathcona renewable diesel project is part of ExxonMobil’s plans to provide more than 40,000 barrels per day of low-emissions fuels by 2025. In the United States, the company has agreed to purchase up to 5 million barrels of renewable diesel annually from Global Clean Energy to supply markets in California. Chemically similar to petroleum-based diesel, renewable diesel can be readily blended for use in engines on the market today. About ExxonMobil ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded international energy companies, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil holds an industry-leading inventory of resources, is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum products, and its chemical company is one of the largest in the world.

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