Friday, January 25, 2013

Solvay Redesigns Business Activities to Advance Innovations in Sustainable Chemistry

Solvay presented the new structure for its business activities and leadership team. The Group has redesigned its organization, with a far-reaching review of business processes and corporate functions, and a focus on simplifying and decentralizing its management structure. Thanks to these changes, Solvay is more agile and in a better position to seize growth opportunities, whilst keeping customer focus, operational excellence, corporate social responsibility, and innovation in sustainable chemistry, at the top of its priorities.
"Today's Solvay is the result of the successful integration of Solvay and Rhodia and an extensive transformation. Few groups would have been able to bring about such major changes in such a short period of time. Through the mobilization of our teams, we have managed to convert the two former companies into one of the ten largest chemical companies worldwide. Our new signature, Asking more from chemistry, is more than a pledge; it's a vision and a challenge to which we are fully committed," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of Solvay's Executive Committee.

Five Operating Segments Showcasing Solvay's Areas of Expertise

Showcasing Solvay's areas of expertise, the new business organization has five Operating Segments. The Operating Segments reflect the different business models most adequate to the diverse business drivers and competitive dynamics across the Group's portfolio, ensuring focus on the critical levers for success.
The Operating Segments and their comprising Global Business Units (GBU) are at the heart of the Group's growth and value creation ambition. They are committed to delivering growth, profits and cash generation in the short and mid-term. Reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit embedded within Solvay's culture, the GBUs focus on customers and markets, and are endowed with the relevant operational levers to execute their strategic roadmaps.
Effective as from January 1st, 2013, Solvay's business organization is as follows:
  • Consumer Chemicals serves the consumer products markets. Its strategy is based on the development of a sustainable offering suited to the major market mega trends of demographic growth, emerging markets' increasing purchase power, the appearance of new modes of consumption and a demand for safer, more sustainable and bio-based solutions.
  • Advanced Materials focuses on ultra-high performance applications addressing the needs of industries such as advanced transportation, healthcare, energy efficient tires, automotive emission control, smart devices or hybrid vehicles batteries.
  • Performance Chemicals operates in specific, highly resilient and mature markets whose key success factors are principally, economies of scale, competitiveness, and quality of service.
  • Functional Polymers brings together the Chloro-Vinyls chain and Polyamide activities of the Group to serve mainly the construction and infrastructure, automotive and electrical/electronics industries.
  • Corporate Business and Services includes the Solvay Energy Services GBU as well as all the Corporate Functions, including Solvay Business Services and the Research & Innovation Center.

The Executive Committee, a Collegial Body to Support Business and Growth

Acting as a collegial body, the Executive Committee is responsible for the Group's vision, setting mid and long-term strategy, monitoring delivery of results and optimizing resource allocation across businesses. It is collectively responsible for overall value creation and for the preservation of the Group's global interests.
The Executive Committee includes six members: Jean-Pierre Clamadieu (CEO), Bernard de Laguiche (CFO), Gilles Auffret, Vincent De Cuyper, Roger Kearns and Jacques van Rijckevorsel. Each member of the Executive Committee closely supervises dedicated Operating Segments and Corporate Functions.
Solvay's New Organization Structure


Monday, January 14, 2013

Bayer Opens Polymer Development & Tech Center in S. Korea Targeting PC Applications in Auto

Bayer MaterialScience, a subgroup of the Bayer Group and one of the world leading materials providers, has officially opened its first Polymer Development & Technology Center in South Korea. Located in the city of Yongin near the capital Seoul, it will focus on the development of new polycarbonate applications for high-tech products from Korean companies especially in the automotive and IT sectors. The new tech center adds to a network of research and development hubs around the globe and major production sites in Asia Pacific.

"Over the past decade, Korea has emerged as a center for cutting-edge high-tech products," said Michael Koenig, Executive Committee Member of Bayer MaterialScience and Head of the Polycarbonate Business Unit. "Large Korean companies are offering their latest technology worldwide, but their development and research mainly happens in Korea. With our new tech center we can be closer to them, better engage in long-term R&D partnerships and fulfill their needs with greater efficiency and speed." Koenig believes that the center will become a driving force in the further development of innovative products in Korea.

Bayer strategically selected Yongin as a location given its proximity to other R&D centers and manufacturing facilities of many of Korea's global companies. Starting with the opening, the center will provide technical advisory for Korean customers regarding polycarbonate applications in high-tech segments such as automotive or IT products (e.g. smart phones, laptops, TV stations etc.). From the third quarter of 2013, it will develop new applications product concepts with major Korean companies through collaborations as well as sample production and testing in the context of customer advisory.

The opening of the center reflects Bayer's ongoing commitment to enhancing its presence in Asia Pacific to offer local customers better access to the company's know-how, expertise and advanced application technology. The tech center is part of a global network R&D and application development centers, including the main regional innovation hubs in Pittsburgh (USA), Leverkusen (Germany), and Shanghai (China) from which further expertise can be drawn.

Additionally, the new center will be supported by a strong network of production sites in Asia Pacific with major production sites in Shanghai, Map Ta Phut (Thailand), and Niihama (Japan). The region makes up 60% of worldwide polycarbonate demand.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience

Friday, January 11, 2013

DLPC, Showa Denko Team-up to Manufacture Starch-based Biopolymer Bionolle Starcla for Bags

A UNIT of newly listed D&L Industries, Inc. has sealed an agreement with Japan-based Showa Denko K.K. to manufacture Bionolle Starcla, described as an environmentally friendly compound positioned an alternative to non-biodegradable plastic used for bags, D&L said in a statement on Friday last week.
"D&L Polymer and Colours, Inc. (DLPC), a subsidiary of D&L, and Showa Denko, one of the Japan's leading chemical engineering companies, have signed an original equipment manufacturing agreement covering the compounding, manufacturing, and distribution in the Philippines of Bionolle Starcla," the statement read.

New Product
Bionolle Starcla is a starch-based biopolymer that fully decomposes within one to two months of exposure to bacteria. It is used to make compost, garbage, and shopping bags. It is a product of Showa Denko, a manufacturing company founded in 1908 initially to make and sell iodine in China, Japan, Showa Denko's Web site read. The company is currently engaged in the manufacture of petrochemicals, industrial gases, chemicals, ceramics, carbons, aluminum, electronics, and battery components.
"Showa Denko is a tech company and they [sic] develop these material technologies… but they don't have a large-scale manufacturing capability like we would," Alvin D. Lao, D&L Executive Vice-president and Chief Financial Officer, said in a telephone interview last Saturday.
D&L will manufacture Bionolle Starcla at its 50,000 metric ton-capacity plant in Canlubang, Laguna, for one year until Nov. 19, the statement added.
"We've already done some test runs and produced some in small quantities which we exported back to Showa Denko in Japan," Mr. Lao said.
D&L will manufacture Bionolle Starcla for local use, and at the same time supply Showa Denko which in turn will handle the product's overseas marketing and distribution, he explained. D&L is confident its new product will help the environment and at the same time help the struggling plastics industry, which has been hit as more and more local governments of major urban centers ban the use of plastic shopping bags.
"Bionolle Starcla will breathe new life into the plastics industry, which has lost almost 40% of its business to bans," Lester A. Lao, DLPC Managing Director, said in the statement.

Growing Market
"At the same time, we are also complementing the paper industry as we help them enhance their products and still be environment friendly." In its statement, D&L explained that Bionolle Starcla may be used to make thin film laminates to reinforce paper bags and cups. D&L cited growing market potentials of Bionolle Starcla and similar materials.
"Based on studies, global production capacity for eco-friendly plastics will see a four-fold jump in five years from 1.2 million metric tons in 2011 to 5.8 million tons in 2016," the company said in the statement.
Bionolle Starcla is D&L's second environmentally friendly product after it introduced in 2007 BIOmate, a plastic compound used for shopping bags that partially decomposes after some time.

Source: D&L Industries

Thursday, January 10, 2013

UC Davis Chemists' Engineered Cyanobacteria to Grow Chemicals for Plastics from Sunlight

Chemists at the University of California, Davis, have engineered blue-green algae to grow chemical precursors for fuels and plastics — the first step in replacing fossil fuels as raw materials for the chemical industry.
"Most chemical feedstocks come from petroleum and natural gas, and we need other sources," said Shota Atsumi, assistant professor of chemistry at UC Davis and lead author of the study published Jan. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of obtaining a quarter of industrial chemicals from biological processes by 2025.
Biological reactions are good at forming carbon-carbon bonds, using carbon dioxide as a raw material for reactions powered by sunlight. It's called photosynthesis, and cyanobacteria, also known as "blue-green algae," have been doing it for more than 3 billion years.
Using cyanobacteria to grow chemicals has other advantages: They do not compete with food needs, like corn's role in the creation of ethanol.
The challenge is to get the cyanobacteria to make significant amounts of chemicals that can be readily converted to chemical feedstocks. With support from Japanese chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp., Atsumi's lab at UC Davis has been working on introducing new chemical pathways into the cyanobacteria.
The researchers identified enzymes from online databases that carried out the reactions they were looking for, and then introduced the DNA for these enzymes into the cells. Working a step at a time, they built up a three-step pathway that allows the cyanobacteria to convert carbon dioxide into 2,3 butanediol, a chemical that can be used to make paint, solvents, plastics and fuels.
Because enzymes may work differently in different organisms, it is nearly impossible to predict how well the pathway will work before testing it in an experiment, Atsumi said.
After three weeks growth, the cyanobacteria yielded 2.4 grams of 2,3 butanediol per liter of growth medium — the highest productivity yet achieved for chemicals grown by cyanobacteria and with potential for commercial development, Atsumi said.
Atsumi hopes to tune the system to increase productivity further and experiment with other products, while corporate partners explore scaling up the technology.
Co-authors of the paper are graduate student John Oliver, postdoctoral researcher Iara Machado and Hisanari Yoneda, a visiting researcher from Asahi Kasei Corp.

Source: UC Davis

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Purac Acquires Manufacturing Facility to Support FiberLive™ Tech for Human Implants

Purac Biomaterials announces that it has finalized the acquisition of a building for their future manufacturing facility in the USA. The building, located in Tucker, Georgia has been transferred to Purac on November 27th 2012.

The facility will be the second manufacturing facility for Purac Biomaterials, next to the existing one in Gorinchem, the Netherlands. It will provide additional capacity for current products and it will provide Purac Biomaterials with process lines that allow manufacturing of next generation products. The two facilities can act as back-up for each other, and it will provide guaranteed supply continuity.

Menno Lammers, Managing Director Purac Biomaterials comments: "Being able to supply from two sites is an important step in risk management, which is high on the agenda in our industry. Operating a site in the USA and in Europe also means that we have manufacturing facilities close to the majority of our customers."

The new plant is also destined to be the future home of FiberLive technology. FiberLive is the strongest fully resorbable material available for human implants. With strength up to six times higher than cortical bone it is comparable to metal.

In the course of 2013 the building will be reconstructed into a cleanroom facility and process facilities will be installed. Start-up of the facility is scheduled for early 2014. The investment for this new plant will be EUR 15 million.

The earlier acquisition of FiberLive on top of this investment is a reflection of our long term dedication to the region, the market and our customers.

Source: Purac