How small chemical company leaders are dealing with the coronavirus

C&EN | March 17, 2020

As measures to contain the coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—sweep across the US, the heads of privately owned chemical and instrument companies find themselves in uncharted territory trying to keep their companies going and their employees safe. C&EN reached out to CEOs of several such firms to learn what they are doing to keep business moving forward. We heard stories about setbacks, as expected supplies didn’t come through, but also small triumphs, as needed safety equipment was finally found. Overall, these leaders are keeping a close eye on supplies while planning for the real possibility that orders will drop in the coming months. Keeping staff healthy and maintaining continuity in customer service are the top priorities at Boron Specialties. “We are a pretty small facility, seven people &on-site&, so as best as we can we’re isolating,” CEO and founder Beth Bosley says.

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CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

Babcock & Wilcox Announces Agreement to Study Development of Biomass-to-Hydrogen Project in South Korea Using BrightLoop™ Technology

Babcock & Wilcox | November 22, 2022

Babcock & Wilcox announced that it has signed an agreement with NRG Korea to study the applicability of B&W’s BrightLoop™ technology for a hydrogen generation facility using biomass fuel in South Korea. B&W’s BrightLoop chemical looping technology is part of its ClimateBright™ suite of decarbonization and hydrogen technologies. The BrightLoop process uses a proprietary, regenerable particle and has been demonstrated to effectively separate carbon dioxide while producing hydrogen, steam and/or syngas, and is ready for commercial scale-up. B&W and NRG have signed a memorandum of understanding to study the technology and potentially develop the project, which would use waste biomass as feedstock to produce hydrogen for fuel cells used for electrical generation. “As the energy transition accelerates, clean hydrogen from net-carbon neutral sources will play an increasingly important role in energy generation. B&W’s BrightLoop technology is a cutting-edge solution for hydrogen generation from virtually any fuel stock, and, depending on a customer’s needs, also can be used to isolate CO2 for capture or use, and produce steam or syngas. BrightLoop is a flexible solution with a wide array of potential applications.” Joe Buckler, B&W Senior Vice President, Clean Energy “We’re excited to have the opportunity to work closely with NRG to develop this groundbreaking clean energy project,” Buckler said. Jay Kim, Chief Executive Officer of NRG Korea said, “NRG Korea is excited to be cooperating with Babcock & Wilcox, a world-renowned technology leader, in the development of this unique and innovative energy project. We see this project as a significant development in the renewable energy space by generating clean electrical power using green hydrogen produced from a renewable waste-based fuel.” NRG Korea, established in 2008, is a Korean company specializing in waste processing and manufacture of alternative fuels and holds a number of patents related to their unique processing technologies. B&W’s ClimateBright suite of revolutionary decarbonization technologies are designed to help utilities and industry aggressively combat greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. These technologies have application for a wide range of industries including energy production, food manufacturing, steel, cement, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, carbon black, and pulp and paper. About Babcock & Wilcox Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc. is a leader in energy and environmental products and services for power and industrial markets worldwide.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Chemical Industry Urges White House and Congress to Prevent Crippling Rail Strike

American Chemistry Council | November 29, 2022

As a looming freight rail strike threatens to shut down the U.S. economy, the American Chemistry Council is calling on the White House and Congress to act quickly to keep vital chemical shipments moving. "Chemical manufacturers are one of the first industries that will be impacted as railroads start restricting service up to a week before a threatened strike. Freight rail transportation is vital for transporting chemicals critical to everyday life, including water treatment, energy production and food production. Shutting down chemical shipments by rail would quickly send shockwaves that would be felt through the entire economy and households across the country." Chris Jahn, ACC's president and CEO To prepare for a shutdown, railroads stop accepting "security sensitive shipments" – including certain chemicals - well in advance of a strike. Many chemical facilities would be forced to curtail production or shut down within the first week of a rail service embargo. Fueling Inflation & Recession No one would be immune if an actual strike and full shutdown of the rail network were to occur. ACC estimates a strike would put a chill on the entire economy and shove the country into a recession. According to an economic analysis conducted by ACC, the impact of a potential strike would be felt almost immediately in terms of business shutdowns, scarcity of materials and goods, and lost economic activity. According to the analysis, a strike lasting one month would likely put a major chill on several leading economic indicators through the first half of 2023: Economic Slowdown: The Gross Domestic Product would contract by one percentage point, which would pull almost $160 billion dollars out of the economy. To put this into perspective, during the financial meltdown in 2008, the economy lost $210 billion dollars through the first half of 2008. "A rail strike could shove the economy out of recovery mode and into a recession," said Martha Moore, ACC's chief economist. "A prolonged strike would have an exponential effect for each additional month and drag the country into a potential recession much faster." "This is a preventable crisis that should not fall on the shoulders of American consumers and manufacturers," said Jahn. "President Biden and Congress must act this week on a bipartisan solution based on the terms that labor leaders and railroads agreed to in September." American Chemistry Council The American Chemistry Council represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Venator to promote pigment dosing machines at Bauma

Venator Materials PLC | October 13, 2022

Venator is returning to Bauma this October where it will highlight its expertise in the manufacture of pigment dosing machines designed specifically for the construction industry and for coloring concrete. Known worldwide for its extensive range of inorganic pigments and functional additives, Venator has also developed a leading portfolio of pigment dosing systems that can be used in conjunction with specialist pigment preparations to transform grey concrete into any shade in the color spectrum. Visitors to Bauma will be able to see one of Venator's GRANUMAT™ automatic dosing systems chup close – the GRANUMAT™ Microsmarty. GRANUMAT™ is a range of modular machines that can be configured to match the manufacturing demands, color complexity and location constraints of concrete production. Capable of storing more than 1,000 color recipes, GRANUMAT™ machines make the production of colored concrete cleaner and more economical, automatically weighing and transporting pigment from bulk storage containers directly into a concrete mixer in a completely enclosed automated batching operation. To work alongside its GRANUMAT™ systems, Venator offers a range of GRANUFIN™ micro granules. These high quality, spray-dried, color pigment granules are virtually dust-free and optimized for stability and dispersibility, enabling ready mix and block paving manufacturers to create streak-free mixtures. For the ready-mix market, Venator offers the CHAMELEON™ color dosing equipment range. These small but sturdy, PC-operated machines can make the production of colored ready-mix concrete cleaner, more consistent and, in some cases, twice as quick. The CHAMELEON™ is designed to work in conjunction with Venator's Davis Colors™ range – which has been helping to bring architecturally stunning designs to life since 1952. Popular with architects, building specifiers, and construction material manufacturers, the Davis Colors™ range is widely used across North America and Canada. Alongside its expertise in dosing machines, Venator will also use Bauma to promote its HYDROTINT™ liquid pigment slurries – a range of highly concentrated liquid iron oxide pigments available in red, yellow, brown and black for concrete manufacturing FERROXIDE® pigments – synthetic, non-toxic, red, yellow, orange, brown and black iron oxides for integration into concrete coatings. "Whether you are a concrete paving producer looking to achieve an authentic natural look for your building materials, or a ready-mix producer supplying a customer that wants to make a bold color statement, our palette of pigment dosing machines and pigments can deliver what's required. We're excited to be heading back to Bauma after three years. With top of the range color dosing equipment at our disposal; off-the shelf pigment options; plus the ability to develop custom colours for specific projects, we're looking forward to getting face-to-face again with customers and discussing all the very latest concrete color trends." Dr. Jörg Zimmer, Head of Application Technology Construction at Venator  As a responsible global chemical company and a signatory of the UN Global Compact, Venator is actively increasing its sustainability efforts. In August, Venator published its second sustainability report. The document outlines Venator's commitment to enhancing lives and protecting our planet through every aspect of its work – from the products it makes and the manufacturing methods it employs, to its sourcing decisions and supply chain relationships. Click here to read a copy of Venator's second Sustainability Report. About Venator Venator is a global manufacturer and marketer of chemical products that comprise a broad range of pigments and additives that bring color and vibrancy to buildings, protect and extend product life, and reduce energy consumption. We market our products globally to a diversified group of industrial customers through two segments: Titanium Dioxide, which consists of our TiO2 business, and Performance Additives, which consists of our functional additives, color pigments and timber treatment businesses. Based in Wynyard, U.K., Venator employs approximately 3,500 associates and sells its products in more than 110 countries.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

CHANGING LIVES FOR GOOD - SCI CHALLENGE OPEN FOR ENTRIES

Society of Chemical Industry | October 07, 2022

Budding entrepreneurs with scientific business ideas that could benefit society could turn them into reality by entering the 2023 SCI Bright SCIdea Challenge. This international competition provides training and mentoring for budding entrepreneurs and gives them the opportunity to win funding to help launch their business. Now it its 5th year, this successful competition has helped launch new businesses as well as support starts-up in their early stages. Previous winners include Sphera, who have developed a new form of sustainable concrete and CardiaTec, developing technology to address the global killer cardiovascular disease. Bright SCIdea is now accepting expressions of interest from teams of STEM university students. All applicants will benefit from training by experienced entrepreneurs and funders before submitting their business plan. Shortlisted teams will pitch their business idea in front of a panel of industry experts and the prize winners will receive a cash prize of £5000 at the final in March 2023. During and after the event teams will gain access to SCI's global network of innovators to support them as they progress their businesses. "The Bright SCIdea Challenge is an opportunity to test the strength of your business ideas amongst a network of incredibly well experienced scientists who are seasoned in translating scientific innovations into industry – this allows you to continually refine your approach and deliver a business which is truly innovative and tackling an industry need." Raphael Peralta, CEO and Co-Founder of CardiaTec Following their Bright SCIdea win in March this year, CardiaTec went on to raise £1.4 million in a pre-Seed round of funding. Sharon Todd, SCI CEO, explained that: "Training, developing and mentoring the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs is critical to delivering complex new science required to address climate change and tackle global health inequality. These businesses are the most challenging, require significant cash over long periods of time to produce successful income streams, making them quite different from tech start-ups. Working at the interface of science and business, SCI is uniquely placed to support this crucial group of innovators as our community. The contest helps nurture the STEM entrepreneurs and ground-breaking innovations of the future to address such challenges." Entrants will be able to network with industry and the SCI global innovation hub to further their careers and business planning. World class entries call for world class judges and these will include Victor Christou* and Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Founder, Genius Foods and Chair, Scotland Food and Drink and Robin Harrison, VP, Platform and Technology Innovation, Synthomer. The registration form requirements include a team name university name and department, summary of your idea and how this will benefit society. Teams unsure about applying should register as soon as possible to ensure they receive regular updates. About SCI where science meets business: SCI is a unique global multidisciplinary innovation network bringing together scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs to develop scientific solutions to biggest challenges facing society today.

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