Chemical industry welcomes leniency from US EPA during coronavirus response

C&EN | March 30, 2020

The US chemical industry is endorsing the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping new policy to go easy on companies for all but criminal violations because of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. But environmentalists and others criticize the new EPA policy as too expansive. They say it endangers the safety of workers, the public, and chemical plants. The EPA’s temporary enforcement policy, unveiled March 26, is broad yet does not treat all violations the same. For example, the agency says it likely won’t seek fines if, because of the pandemic, companies violate routine monitoring and reporting obligations. The EPA says it expects facilities to adhere to environmental requirements “where reasonably practicable and to return to compliance as quickly as possible.” The agency says it won’t offer leniency to companies that intentionally commit environmental crimes. To qualify for the EPA’s grace for violations, facilities must document “how COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance, and the decisions and actions taken in response,” says the policy, which is retroactive to March 13. chemical plants are busy cranking out key products—including sanitizers, disinfectants, and plastic goods—to fight COVID-19, says Chris Jahn, CEO of the American Chemistry Council, the US chemical industry’s largest lobbying group.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Lummus Technology Launches Next Generation of Breech-Lock High-Pressure Heat Exchanger Closure

Lummus Technology, LLC | June 18, 2022

Lummus Technology, a global provider of process technologies and value-driven solutions, announced the launch of its Polaris™ breech-lock closure, a new technological upgrade applicable to its high-pressure heat exchanger equipment. This advanced design of breech-lock closure provides a host of operational benefits including safe, reliable and secure sealing under all conditions, a simplified assembly and easier maintenance. "The Polaris breech-lock heat exchanger exemplifies our dedication to deliver innovation and operational performance for customers requiring new or retrofitted heat exchangers. The new closure system allows for a wider range of operating conditions, increased unit sizes and capacities and reduces shut down times due to ease of use, while delivering the high reliability and safety our customers expect from Lummus." Rutger Theunissen, Chief Business Officer of Services and Supplies, Lummus Technology To preview this technology and its benefits, Lummus will participate in a live webcast hosted by Hydrocarbon Processing on Tuesday, June 21, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CDT. You can attend the webcast by registering here. The Polaris breech-lock design incorporates two new advanced features that elevate its performance above traditional breech-lock closures under today's stringent operational environments. The ProSeal™ system, a new gasket loading design, requires no internal split ring, flange or bolts for simplified fabrication, assembly and disassembly. The load to the seal is efficiently distributed and maintained under a wider range of operating conditions. The ProSeal system further protects the components from damage and deformation caused by plant upsets and differential thermal expansion. Complementing the new sealing system is the ProLock™ closure system, an advanced securing mechanism using a special appliance that is simpler and safer to operate. The design allows easy access to all threads for maintenance, lubrication and repair, and significantly reduces the time when inserting and removing the closing plug. High-pressure exchangers with breech-lock or screw-plug type closures are used in the hydroprocessing industry, primarily for hydrocracking, hydrotreating, lube oil, slurry and residue upgrade processing. Applications include use in reactor feeds and effluent exchangers, recycle gas exchangers, effluent recovery and gas recovery exchangers and other applications in gas compression and fertilizer processes. Lummus Technology has supplied heat transfer equipment to the process and power industries worldwide for more than 75 years. Specializing in heat transfer systems for critical process environments, Lummus has produced industry leading technology for fired heaters, including the SRT™ pyrolysis furnace, and heat exchangers, including the HELIXCHANGER™ heat exchanger and LABLEX™ Lummus advanced breech-lock exchanger. About Lummus Technology Lummus Technology is the global leader in developing process technologies that make modern life possible and focus on a more sustainable, low carbon future. Lummus is a master licensor of clean energy, petrochemical, refining, gas processing and renewable technologies, and a supplier of catalysts, proprietary equipment, digitalization and related lifecycle services to customers worldwide.

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RISK AND COMPLIANCE

Umicore and Idemitsu to jointly develop high-performance solid-state battery materials

Umicore | June 23, 2022

Umicore and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd have agreed to jointly develop high-performance catholyte materials for solid-state batteries, combining their respective expertise in cathode active materials and solid electrolytes, and aiming to provide the technological breakthrough to extend the driving range and thereby propel e-mobility. Umicore brings its world-leading expertise in a variety of cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries, while Idemitsu Kosan brings its know-how in solid electrolytes as a key material for all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries. Umicore has been working on solid-state CAM chemistries since 2017 and holds multiple key patents in this technology field. Idemitsu Kosan has an established method for manufacturing high-purity lithium sulfide, which it developed in its petrochemical business, and holds many patents for sulfide solid electrolytes that use lithium sulfide as their raw material. “Umicore laid its foundations in battery materials almost 30 years ago and thanks to our own research and strong global open innovation footprint, we are at the forefront of various lithium-ion battery technologies that help decarbonize transport. Our partnership with Idemitsu enhances our innovation and technology leadership to support our customers in their clean mobility transformation through solid-state battery power,” Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore “Based on more than 20 years of experience, Idemitsu has developed the technology of sulfide solid electrolytes and holds many patents related to sulfide solid electrolytes. Solid electrolytes will contribute as a key material for the “electrified society”, through ASSB. The joint development between Umicore and Idemitsu will play an important role in the acceleration of activities in this field,” said Hajime Nakamoto, Managing Executive officer of Idemitsu. Catholytes combine cathode active materials and solid electrolytes. The more intimate contact between these two components would enable the solid-state battery to achieve better performance. Solid-state batteries are the next-generation batteries with performance improvements on several fronts. In cars, for example, their higher energy density will increase the driving range and allow for faster charging. The replacement of today’s liquid electrolyte with a solid one will enhance the safety and lifespan of batteries, reduce their size, weight and ultimately, cost. Umicore profile Umicore is the circular materials technology company. It focuses on application areas where its expertise in materials science, chemistry and metallurgy makes a real difference. Its activities are organised in three business groups: Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies and Recycling. Each business group is divided into market-focused business units offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments and essential to everyday life. Umicore generates the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean mobility materials and recycling. Umicore’s overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on an ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfils its mission: materials for a better life. Umicore’s industrial and commercial operations as well as R&D activities are located across the world to best serve its global customer base. The Group generated revenues and employed 11,050 people in 2021. Idemitsu profile Idemitsu is one of Japan’s leading producers and suppliers of energy and materials. Our global operations, spanning 67 business bases across 20 countries and regions outside of Japan, encompass Petroleum, Basic Chemicals, Functional Materials, Power & Renewable Energy, and Resources.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Shell completes acquisition of Landmark fuel and convenience network

Shell | June 02, 2022

Shell Retail and Convenience Operations LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell Oil Products US has completed the acquisition of certain company-owned fuel and convenience retail sites from the Landmark group of companies. The acquisition also includes supply agreements for the independently operated fuel and convenience sites. Building on the strength of its existing networks, this acquisition brings Shell closer to its customers and enhances Shell's market presence by growing its mobility footprint in a key region in the U.S., which is one of the largest fuels and convenience retail markets in the world. With this acquisition, Shell is advancing its Powering Progress strategy in three ways: by growing its retail footprint in a core market, by providing opportunities to offer customers expanded fuelling options and by allowing for the growth of non-fuel sales through an enhanced convenience offering. .

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Sonoco Participates in European Recycling Trials That Show Digital Watermarking Yields Accurate Container Sortation Results

Sonoco Products Company | June 27, 2022

The first HolyGrail 2.0 sorting prototype was successfully validated in March this year following semi-industrial trials, using NIR and digital watermarks detection to sort packaging waste with a 99 percent detection rate and the potential to develop new, more granular post-consumer recycling streams. The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0, driven by AIM – European Brands Association, and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, has the goal of assessing whether the digital watermarks technology can enable better sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU. Today, more than 160 partners across the value chain are working together to refine and commercialize this concept. Sonoco, one of the largest global sustainable packaging companies, is a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative to prove the viability of digital watermarking for sorting packaging waste and the business case at scale, likely with global implications. Trials in Copenhagen found that using digital watermarks on packaging resulted in 98 - 100 percent being correctly detected, with a subsequent total ejection rate of 90 - 100 percent. During the live trial in a mix of five different packaging types of various brands, 96 percent of Sonoco’s rigid paper containers were correctly detected and ejected. This demonstrates an additional approach to sort Sonoco’s EnviroCan™ rigid paper containers into the paper recycling stream. “At Sonoco, we recognize the critical importance of developing sustainable packaging solutions that will protect and preserve our planet for future generations. We are proud to be a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative and are pleased with this successful trial to further our sustainable packaging portfolio. We are committed to advancing sortation and recycling of packaging of all types.” Jeff Schuetz, Staff Vice President, Consumer Technology Imperceptible postage stamp sized, digital watermarks on packaging aim to make it possible to effectively sort the material into specific waste streams. Conventional sorting technologies are not able to reliably identify multi-material packaging, so they can end up in the wrong recycling streams or drop to the refuse stream all together. With this new digital watermarking technology, it becomes possible to separate materials more accurately into distinct streams, even in cases of multi-material packaging. It is even possible to distinguish between packaging coming from food and non-food applications, which becomes increasingly important for the use of recycled material in new packaging. With the trials in Copenhagen, Sonoco can show high compatibility of its rigid paper containers using this technology across all sizes and material specifications. About Sonoco Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of consumer, industrial, healthcare and protective packaging. With net sales of approximately $5.6 billion in 2021, the Company has approximately 22,000 employees working in more than 300 operations in 32 countries, serving some of the world’s best-known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is committed to creating sustainable products, services and programs for its customers, employees and communities that support our corporate purpose of Better Packaging. Better Life. The Company ranked first in the Packaging sector on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for 2022 as well as being included in Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for the third consecutive year.

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