Italmatch Chemicals | June 29, 2022
Italmatch Chemicals, a leading global specialty chemical group focused on the production and marketing of performance additives for the processing and treatment of water, oil & gas, industrial lubricants and plastics, has acquired Aubin Group from BGF, investor of equity capital in the UK and Ireland. Headquartered in Scotland, Aubin is a key strategic developer and supplier of innovative chemical solutions for the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector with office and warehouses across the UK and the Middle East.
The acquisition further strengthens Italmatch Chemicals' position in the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors of key strategic markets such as the Middle East, the USA, and the North Sea.
The operation will also expand Italmatch Chemicals' product portfolio with new sustainable solutions, consistent with its ESG strategy. This is a testament to the group's continued commitment to R&D projects dedicated to developing and delivering sustainable solutions for various sectors, including products for renewable energy market as well as "decommissioning" activities.
"The acquisition of Aubin Group represents another step of Italmatch Group's growth strategy in areas of interest, such as the Middle East, and in our journey of sustainability. Our company has always invested in the continuous transformation of its product portfolio, with increasing focus dedicated to sustainable and circular solutions in all the end markets it caters to, including oil & gas. Thanks to its sustainable solutions, Aubin likewise embodies excellence in the renewable energy market. This synergy will further boost our R&D efforts as a Group."
Sergio Iorio, CEO of Italmatch Chemicals Group
"Ever since its foundation 25 years ago, Italmatch has pursued a development strategy focused both on organic growth through research and innovation as well as strategic M&A" said Maurizio Turci, General Manager Corporate and CFO of the Italmatch Chemicals Group. "Now more than ever our focus is on following an approach rooted in ESG principles. Our priority is enhancing our positive impact and creating sustainable value for our clients, employees and all our stakeholders."
"Aubin is a key player in well services and technologies that complement Italmatch's portfolio. The company is also positioned to be at the forefront of the energy transition through its portfolio of innovative technology tailored to solving unique challenges. These include offshore wind developments as well as a disruptive solution to plug disused oil wells even in the harshest conditions, guaranteeing their long-term integrity and reducing their environmental impact" explained Scott Miller, Italmatch's O&G Sales & Marketing Director and recently appointed CEO of Aubin Group. "The acquisition will strengthen Italmatch's position in the Middle East, North Sea, and United States. Moreover, it will bring into the fold a world-class well services business, many highly qualified professionals and a strategically placed headquarters in Aberdeenshire with a well-equipped laboratory" concluded Miller.
Novoloop | June 03, 2022
Advanced upcycling startup Novoloop expands its Series A to $21 million through an oversubscribed extension led by Mistletoe Singapore and Hanwha Solutions. This nearly doubles the company's raise of $11 million announced in February, which sparked additional investor interest.
"This round brings together mission-driven financial investors and industry strategics who believe in our vision of a circular economy for plastics. We're thrilled to make that vision a reality by leveraging their access to resources and markets around the world."
CEO Miranda Wang
The round's investors are decarbonizing energy, textiles, construction, and other industries across Europe, Asia, and the US. Valo Ventures' anchor LP Fortum is a hundred-year-old, publicly-listed clean energy and resource efficiency solution provider headquartered in Finland; SOSV is the world's leader in climate tech investing; Drive Catalyst is the corporate venture arm of the Far Eastern Group, a global player in the polyester and textile industries and PET recycling headquartered in Taiwan; and Alante Capital and S CAP are climate investors focused on deep tech.
"Leading this round was obvious," said Taizo Son, founder of Mistletoe. "After seeing Novoloop emerge from R&D with a product that solves real world problems, Mistletoe is a firm believer in the financial and environmental impact the company will create. We're already looking at ways to amplify this impact in places that really need it like Asian countries where the economy is fast-growing and the waste problem is serious."
Novoloop uses its proprietary ATOD™ technology to make high-performance chemicals and materials from polyethylene, which is the most commonly used yet least recycled plastic. Their first product, Oistre™ (pronounced OYST-rah), is the world's only thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) made from post-consumer waste that matches the performance of TPUs derived from petrochemicals.
With a carbon footprint up to 46% smaller than conventional TPUs, Oistre won the Plastics Industry Association's 2022 People's Choice award for Sustainable Plastic Innovation. It also put Novoloop in the World Economic Forum's 100 most promising Technology Pioneers of 2022.
"Hanwha has done an extensive assessment of the advanced plastic recycling landscape. Novoloop's technology is solid and unique," said Hanwha Solutions' spokesman. "We look forward to collaborating with Novoloop on upcycling carbon content in waste for the circular economy."
Novoloop will use the capital to begin developing industrial capabilities. Key initiatives include scaling up pilot production to make Oistre more readily available for customers in footwear, apparel, sporting goods, automotive, and electronics. It will also set up a feedstock pretreatment unit to assess the quality of post-consumer plastic waste from material recovery sources.
Other Series A investors announced earlier this year include Envisioning Partners, Bemis Associates, and TIME Ventures.
Novoloop was founded in 2015 to deliver quality chemicals and materials made from plastic waste through ATOD™, their patented, low-carbon upcycling technology. By transforming hard-to-recycle plastic waste into virgin-quality materials, Novoloop offers superior sustainability and performance at competitive pricing. With their upcycled product Oistre™, Novoloop provides thermoplastic polyurethane solutions for footwear, sporting goods, automotive and more. To learn more, visit novoloop.com and oistre.com.
About Hanwha Solutions
Hanwha Solutions aims to deliver sustainable solutions for the planet through smart energy solutions and customer-focused materials. The Company operates its business through five divisions: Qcells, Chemical, Advanced Materials, Galleria and City Development. The Qcells Division offers total energy solutions from photovoltaic module manufacturing, power plant operation to electricity retailing service. The Chemical Division, the first in Korea to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC), manufactures various chemical products and eco-friendly plasticizers. The Advanced Materials Division produces high-tech materials for automotive, photovoltaic and electronic devices. The Galleria Division, an operator of premium department store chain, provides premium fashion and food services. The City Development Division is a leading real estate developer specializing in industrial complexes. With its innovative technologies for sustainable growth, Hanwha Solutions strives to become a global leader in bringing a better future for humanity.
Founded by Taizo Son, Mistletoe is a Collective Impact Community based in Japan and Singapore with a mission to create a sustainable human-centered future using deep technologies. Their international community comprises more than 400 entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and visionaries who are at the forefront of the global startup movement. They are building an environment for various talents to come together and discover solutions to societal challenges that are impossible for single companies to solve alone.
IDTechEx | July 06, 2022
One of the major environmental issues facing the planet is the rising levels of plastic consumption and waste. According to a recent OECD study, the world produced 460 million tonnes (Mt) of plastics in 2019 and consumption will continue to rise despite an expected increase in recycling technologies deployment.
As carbon dioxide emissions also soar, the emerging carbon capture and utilization industry propose a solution for both issues: creating lower-carbon, degradable polymers using CO2 emissions as the feedstock. The recent IDTechEx report "Carbon Dioxide Utilization 2022-2042: Technologies, Market Forecasts, and Players" analyzes the opportunities and challenges of creating this proposed circular carbon economy.
How to make polymers from CO2?
There are at least three major pathways to convert CO2 into polymers: electrochemistry, biological conversion, and thermocatalysis. The latter is the most mature CO2 utilization technology, where CO2 can either be utilized directly to yield CO2-based polymers, most notably biodegradable linear-chain polycarbonates (LPCs), or indirectly, through the production of chemical precursors (building blocks such as methanol, ethanol, acrylate derivatives, or mono-ethylene glycol [MEG]) for polymerization reactions.
LPCs made from CO2 include polypropylene carbonate polyethylene carbonate and polyurethanes PUR being a major market for CO2-based polymers, with applications in electronics, mulch films, foams, and in the biomedical and healthcare sectors. CO2 can comprise up to 50% (in weight) of a polyol, one of the main components in PUR. CO2-derived polyols are made by combining CO2 with cyclic ethers The polyol is then combined with an isocyanate component to make PUR.
Companies such as Econic, Covestro, and Aramco Performance Materials have developed novel catalysts to facilitate CO2-based polyol manufacturing. Fossil inputs are still necessary through this thermochemical pathway, but manufacturers can replace part of it with waste CO2, potentially saving on raw material costs.
In the realm of emerging technologies, chemical precursors for CO2-based polymers can be obtained through electrochemistry or microbial synthesis. Although electrochemical conversion of CO2 into chemicals is at an earlier stage of development, biological pathways are more mature, having reached the early-commercialization stage. Recent advances in genetic engineering and process optimization have led to the use of chemoautotrophic microorganisms in synthetic biological routes to convert CO2 into chemicals, fuels, and even proteins.
Unlike thermochemical synthesis, these biological pathways generally use conditions approaching ambient temperature and pressure, with the potential to be less energy-intensive and costly at scale. Notably, the California-based start-up Newlight is bringing into market a direct biological route to polymers, where its microbe turns captured CO2, air, and methane into polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), an enzymatically degradable polymer.
Currently, the scale of CO2-based polymer manufacturing is still minor compared to the incumbent petrochemical industry, but there are already successful commercial examples. One of the largest volumes available is aromatic polycarbonates (PC) made from CO2, being developed by Asahi Kasei in Taiwan since 2012. More recently, the US-based company LanzaTech has successfully established partnerships with major brands such as Unilever, L'Oréal, On, Danone, Zara, and Lulumelon to use microbes to convert captured carbon emissions from industrial processes into polymer precursors – ethanol and MEG – for manufacturing of packaging items, shoes, and textiles.
IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies.
TOMRA | June 01, 2022
TOMRA continues to play a key role in closing the loop on PET beverage containers but recognizes that there is more to be done. Now political framework, bold decisions and smart investments in collecting, sorting and recycling should be used to improve circularity across all material streams and to overcome today's supply chain bottlenecks.
"We have an obligation to work with all stakeholders to reduce the mountains of waste and transform them into the valuable resources they are", TOMRA's CEO and President Tove Andersen stated at TOMRA's press conference held at IFAT. Although there has been considerable progress in recycling, the pandemic and the ongoing war in Europe have shown us that there is an urgency to decrease dependency on primary materials. "Today, we invest approximately 10% of our revenues in future-oriented activities to increase resource efficiency, advancing the market for circular solutions, which we are well-positioned to do. We have the technology capable of maximizing collection and recovery rates. We can act now, optimize waste management practices and fill existing gaps", concludes Andersen.
Having established benchmarks for climate policy worldwide, the European Green Deal, coupled with binding regulations and guidelines for producers and manufacturers, drive the acceleration to a circular economy. TOMRA urges all participants in the value chain to see these specifications as an opportunity and to support their implementation. "We have learned that mandatory legislation is necessary in order to achieve goals and create markets," Dr. Volker Rehrmann, EVP, Head of Recycling/Mining & Circular Economy, explains. "However, before we can recycle larger volumes we need to collect as much as possible. There are well-functioning collection systems in place, but it is still not enough. Every day we lose valuable resources to landfill and incineration where they are buried and burned. This is low-hanging fruit and the material must be collected, recovered and recycled."
Maximizing material circularity is not restricted to plastics. There are more material streams to close the loop on, such as metals and wood. "We must pay equal attention to these recyclables to support reaching the EU's climate neutrality goals set for 2050", said Tom Eng, SVP Head of Recycling. For example, the demand for aluminum is expected to grow by 40% by 2050, a challenge for aluminum producers with limited production capacities in Europe. The good news is that recycled aluminum plays a critical role on the way to a decarbonized world and supports producers' quest to increase recycled content and their environmental commitments. A similar scenario can be observed in the wood sector. Particleboard manufacturers are looking for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to source materials of which availability is currently limited and that with sky-rocketing prices. Using recycled materials in the production of wood-based or metal-based materials help producers to overcome these challenges while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and resource depletion.
"If we leverage the power of intelligent technologies and closely work with the industry, we can turn waste into value and reduce the dependency on primary materials. Recycling is a key climate mitigator and energy-efficient route to go when supporting a sustainable transition, keeping materials in continuous use. Whatever it takes to close the loop, we will get there", finished Eng.
TOMRA Recycling designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting technologies for the global recycling and waste management industry to transform resource recovery and create value in waste. The company was the first to develop advanced waste and metals sorting applications use high capacity near infrared (NIR) technology to extract the most value from resources. To date, more than 8,200 systems have been installed in 100 countries worldwide.
TOMRA Recycling is a division of TOMRA Group. TOMRA was founded in 1972 and follows the vision to lead the resource revolution to transform how the planet's resources are obtained, used and reused to enable a world without waste. The company's other business divisions comprise TOMRA Food, TOMRA Mining and TOMRA Collection.