U.S. EPA settlement with Southern California refinery improves chemical safety at Torrance facility

EPA | January 13, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement agreement with the Torrance Refining Company, LLC over chemical safety and risk management violations. The refinery has corrected the violations, will pay $125,000 in penalties and will spend $219,000 to enhance chemical safety features at the refinery.   “It is critical for the refinery to maintain an up-to-date and accurate Risk Management Plan,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “These actions ensure that facilities handling dangerous materials are minimizing potential impacts to the environment and the surrounding community.”

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Sempra Infrastructure and RWE Sign Heads of Agreement for U.S. LNG Supply

Sempra Infrastructure | May 26, 2022

Sempra Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Sempra announced it has entered into a heads of agreement with RWE Supply & Trading, a subsidiary of RWE for the purchase of approximately 2.25 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of liquefied natural gas. The LNG is to be supplied on a long-term, free-on-board basis from the Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 project under development in Jefferson County, Texas. "Sempra Infrastructure's LNG projects are uniquely positioned to help provide U.S. LNG to support the energy security of America's allies in Europe, while also accelerating the transition to a lower carbon future. We are excited about the opportunity to work with one of Germany's top power producers to achieve these dual goals. We see opportunities to work together with RWE across the energy transition, including LNG, hydrogen and renewables. With today's agreement, we make significant progress toward the development of our Port Arthur LNG project and remain committed to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the LNG value chain through the use of new technologies and the improvement of key processes." Justin Bird, CEO of Sempra Infrastructure Andree Stracke, CEO of RWE Supply & Trading said, "As RWE, we are very pleased to join forces with Sempra Infrastructure. Our partnership can contribute largely to securing significant LNG volumes for the RWE portfolio on a long-term basis while building the basis for supplying low carbon gas in the future." The HOA contemplates the negotiation and finalization of a definitive 15-year LNG sale and purchase agreement for 2.25 Mtpa to be delivered from the Port Arthur LNG project. Additionally, Sempra Infrastructure and RWE have agreed to work toward a broad framework for the reduction, mitigation, and reporting of GHG emissions associated with deliveries of LNG from the Port Arthur LNG project, including addressing the use of responsibly sourced natural gas as part of the project's feed gas supply and renewable energy as part of the project power mix. Phase 1 of the Port Arthur LNG project is fully permitted and is expected to include two liquefaction trains and LNG storage tanks, as well as associated facilities capable of producing, under optimal conditions, up to approximately 13.5 Mtpa of LNG. The referenced HOAs are preliminary, non-binding arrangements, and the development of the Port Arthur LNG project remains subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among others, reaching definitive agreements, maintaining all necessary permits, finalizing engineering and construction arrangements, obtaining financing and incentives, and reaching a final investment decision. Sempra Infrastructure is one of the top renewable energy producers in Mexico and is currently exceeding its goal of operating its existing LNG infrastructure at a GHG emissions intensity that is 20% below its 2020 baseline, having achieved a 28% reduction in 2021. In addition to continuing to reduce emissions through operational excellence, Sempra Infrastructure is actively developing lower emissions technologies for existing and future infrastructure assets. Sempra Infrastructure has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Entergy Louisiana, a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation to develop options to accelerate the deployment of cost-effective renewable energy to power its infrastructure located in vicinity of the Gulf Coast. Additionally, Sempra Infrastructure is developing Hackberry Carbon Sequestration, a proposed carbon sequestration facility located in Southwest Louisiana expected to have the potential to sequester up to 2 Mtpa of carbon dioxide from LNG and other industrial facilities in the region and is developing opportunities to co-locate low-carbon hydrogen production at or near existing Sempra Infrastructure facilities. In addition to lowering emissions at its own facilities, Sempra Infrastructure is working with other companies to reduce GHG emissions across the U.S. natural gas value chain, consistent with Sempra's aim to have net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Sempra is a founding member of Veritas, a GTI Energy Differentiated Gas Measurement and Verification Initiative, supporting Sempra Infrastructure and other customers' desires for responsibly sourced natural gas that is produced and transported using proven technologies that minimize GHG emissions. Sempra Infrastructure is also a sponsor of The Collaboratory to Advance Methane Science, a research collaboration to advance technological solutions to enable methane emission reductions. About Sempra Infrastructure Sempra Infrastructure delivers energy for a better world. Through the combined strength of its assets in North America, the company is dedicated to enabling the energy transition and beyond. With a continued focus on sustainability, innovation, world-class safety, championing people, resilient operations and social responsibility, its more than 2,000 employees develop, build and operate clean power, energy networks and LNG and net-zero solutions, that are expected to play a crucial role in the energy systems of the future.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Polymers Made from Emissions: The Plastics Industry May Become a Carbon-Capture Leader, says IDTechEx

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. About IDTechEx IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition Celebrates “Widely Recycled” Upgrade

The Recycling Partnership | July 29, 2022

The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is celebrating the How2Recycle upgrade of polypropylene rigid containers to “Widely Recycled” in the U.S. This major milestone comes as the Coalition marks its two-year anniversary. Launched in July 2020, the Coalition brings together stakeholders across the PP value chain – from resin suppliers and manufacturers to consumer packaged goods, and recycling processors – to improve PP recovery and recycling in the U.S. and to further develop end markets for recycling PP. In the two years since the launch of the Coalition, its catalytic grants have proven highly successful at rapidly impacting the recycling system. The Coalition has awarded 24 grants totaling $6.7 million, including four grants that will be announced in August, to support sorting improvements and community education across the U.S. As a result, curbside access to PP recycling will improve for approximately 8% of households, positively affecting over 20 million people and increasing the amount of PP recovered by an estimated 25 million pounds annually for established domestic end markets. The speed at which the Coalition has been able to drive impact is attributable to the commitment of its members and the strong desire of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to collect and sort this valuable commodity. “Achieving success for challenged materials is not a narrative often heard in our industry. It was a mere two years ago when we acknowledged the challenges polypropylene recycling was facing and its uncertain future. In forming the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, we committed to leaning in and taking action in support of the material, to push ourselves and the industry to a more circular future. The power of collaboration across the value chain can be seen through this substantial system-wide shift for polypropylene. The precedent we are setting for materials, coalitions, and innovations is exciting and hopeful. We encourage companies to join us as we continue to push polypropylene recycling to new heights.” Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership In assessing the potential for the Coalition’s efforts to support an upgrade of PP to “Widely Recycled” under the How2Recycle program, the Coalition and How2Recycle teams worked closely together over the course of many months. Updated inputs were evaluated for the access and end markets criteria that originally led to PP being downgraded to “Check Locally” in January 2020. Using the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s 2020/2021 Centralized Study on Availability of Recycling for a prior baseline where PP rigid containers were reported as having a 59% access rate, the teams leveraged The Partnership’s National Recycling Database to evaluate the current U.S. access rate, which is now 65%. To evaluate the current state of end markets, the teams utilized The Partnership’s Circular Packaging Assessment tool to confirm the growth and strength of domestic end markets for PP. The teams saw improvements in these two areas as largely attributable to the catalytic work of the Coalition, as well as industry investment and increased recognition of the value of PP as a recycled commodity. “The efforts of the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition are a great example of the impact that can be made with collective action focused on supporting the full recycling system and we are honored to have been in an advisory role since its inception,” said Caroline Cox, Director of How2Recycle. “As rigid polypropylene access, sortation, and end markets are on an upward trend across the U.S., we are excited to upgrade this packaging format from Check Locally to Widely Recycled eligibility. Thanks to the strength and efficacy of the data provided, How2Recycle is confident that this change in eligibility continues to be in line with federal law. While this win should be recognized, it is important to note that this is not the end of the road; the entire value chain should continue to invest in improving the recyclability of all materials and packaging formats.” The Coalition is celebrating this significant impact – made in only two years – while recognizing that the work to support PP recycling must go further. The Coalition will continue to lead efforts to increase curbside access to PP recycling, support sortation equipment upgrades, as well as ensure PP domestic end markets continue to grow. The mission-driven work of the Coalition is supported by contributions from organizations representing all segments of the material’s value chain. Members include Keurig Dr Pepper, Braskem, The NextGen Consortium, the Walmart Foundation, Advanced Drainage Systems, AMP Robotics, Berry Global, Campbell Soup Company, EFS-plastics, Ferrero, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, KW Plastics, LyondellBasell, Merlin Plastics, Milliken & Company, Nestlé, Plastic Ingenuity, PolyQuest, Procter & Gamble, Sabert, St. Joseph Plastics, Total Energies, and Winpak. The Coalition is advised by industry leaders including, Association of Plastic Recyclers, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, World Wildlife Fund, Closed Loop Partners, and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners. All companies that use polypropylene are encouraged to become part of the solution to ensure greater and better capture of this valuable material. To learn more about the Coalition and how to get involved in supporting its goals, visit the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition webpage. For MRFs interested in applying for a grant, the application is available on the Coalition webpage. About The Recycling Partnership At The Recycling Partnership, we are solving for circularity. We mobilize people, data, and solutions across the value chain to unlock the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and a circular economy. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform

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CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

Chemours Announces Participation in Versogen’s Development of Clean Hydrogen Technology

Chemours Company | May 12, 2022

The Chemours Company a global chemistry company with leading market positions in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials, today announced its participation in a fundraising for Wilmington, Delaware-based Versogen Inc., a leader in developing anion exchange membrane technology for use in hydrogen production. Founded by University of Delaware professor Yushan Yan, Versogen’s AEM technology offers a reliable and affordable way to produce green hydrogen at scale. Green hydrogen is the most promising alternative fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation and other industries that primarily rely on fossil fuels. When produced through water electrolysis and powered by renewable energy, large amounts of green hydrogen can be made while generating zero emissions. This process is essential to the clean energy transition and meeting global decarbonization goals. “Chemours is passionate about the potential of the hydrogen economy and our role in it, and we're constantly looking for opportunities to accelerate innovation and new technologies for clean energy. We’re excited to participate in Versogen to help power their continued scale-up and to have the opportunity to collaborate with a start-up in our backyard to understand better the synergies between AEM technology and our Nafion™ ion exchange membranes in green hydrogen production.” Denise Dignam, President, Advanced Performance Materials for Chemours As part of Chemours’ commitment to innovative and responsible chemistry that enables the sustainable products of the future, we are collaborating across the value chain to deliver advanced solutions that solve some of our customers’ and partners’ biggest challenges. As part of those efforts, Chemours is also a steering member of the Hydrogen Council and joined Hydrogen Europe and the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance to help realize the potential of hydrogen’s role in the global energy transition. About The Chemours Company The Chemours Company is a global leader in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. We deliver customized solutions with a wide range of industrial and specialty chemicals products for markets, including coatings, plastics, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation, semiconductor and consumer electronics, general industrial, and oil and gas. Our flagship products include prominent brands such as Ti-Pure™, Opteon™, Freon™, Teflon™, Viton™, Nafion™, and Krytox™. The company has approximately 6,400 employees and 29 manufacturing sites serving approximately 3,200 customers in approximately 120 countries. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC.

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Spotlight

Bio-chemicals and bio-energy: attempting to reduce the ecological footprint, innovators develop biologically-produced agrochemicals and bio-materials and engage in producing bio-energy. How innovators capitalize on growth opportunities and plant the seeds for the fourth agricultural revolution.

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