Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Decatur, Ill., and Metabolix, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., have selected Clinton, Iowa, as the site for the first commercial plant to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastic. This biodegradable polyester is made by bacterial fermentation of cornstarch, to be supplied by a nearby ADM corn mill. When completed in mid-2008, it will have a capacity of 100 million lb/yr of resin suitable for molding, thermoforming, and extrusion into film, sheet, and fiber. ADM and Metabolix intend to form a joint venture to market the resin.
Lanxess in Pittsburgh is moving its American styrenics marketing and sales headquarters to its manufacturing site in Addyston, Ohio. The move is slated for this quarter. Lanxess supplies ABS, ABS/nylon, AES, ASA, and SAN.
PolyOne Corp., Avon Lake, Ohio, has added two new color-matching labs at Vonore, Tenn., and St. Peters, Mo. That raises the firm’s total to six color labs.
BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J., is licensing several patents from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, that cover the use of ionic liquids to dissolve and process cellulose from plants. The new technology is believed to hold great promise for the use of cellulose as a chemical feedstock for modifying plastics and fibers. Ionic liquids are said to be attractive as solvents because they are not flammable, do not evaporate, and exhibit high thermal stability.
The technology permits blending resins with a cellulose solution to create performance materials, according to Dr. Robin Rogers, the University’s Chemistry Dept. chairman and director of its Center for Green Manufacturing. He says cellulose and PP can be blended to create packaging films with exceptional tear strength.
Mitsubishi Chemical of Japan (U.S. office in White Plains, N.Y.) is building a plant to make succinic acid by bacterial fermentation of corn. The goal is to make a “Green Sustainable Plastic,” polybutylene succinate, using succinic acid and butanediol. This biodegradable polyester, dubbed GS Pla, is said to be much softer and more pliable than polylactic acid (PLA), a commercial bioplastic also derived from corn. GS Pla is reportedly as soft as polyethylene but can be made harder like polypropylene by adding fillers. Mulch film is one intended use. Mitsubishi aims to start commercial production early this year. Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Tokyo, is already developing polybutylene succinate reinforced with bamboo fiber as a replacement for PP in auto interiors. It will be used in a minicar to be launched in Japan in 2007. Tel: (914) 286-3680
Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) of Japan will expand capacity for Fluon ETFE fluoropolymer by 20% in the U.K. by next January. It will strengthen AGC’s position as the world’s leading producer of ETFE. AGC says this expansion is needed to meet demand in the U.S. and Europe for wire and cable, automotive, construction, and film uses. AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc. is in Bayonne, N.J.
Arkema of France (U.S. office in Philadelphia) has started up a major new plant for EVA copolymers in Ain, France. The plant produces standard high-VA-content copolymers as well as very-high-VA specialty EVAs. The plant can export 30% of its production to North America and Asia.
BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J., has transferred responsibility for all its spray-applied polyurethane foams (SPF) in the U.S. to its Minneapolis-based subsidiary, Foam Enterprises LLC. The business will be renamed BASF Polyurethane Foam Enterprises LLC. Tel: (800) 888-3342
Nova Chemicals Corp., Pittsburgh, plans to close its Chesapeake, Va., polystyrene plant this year. The plant can produce 300 million lb/yr of solid PS and can compound 170 million lb/yr. Nova will also close its Chesapeake Technology Center and consolidate its U.S. Styrenics Technology organization in Monaca, Pa.
BASF Corp., Wyandotte, Mich., will expand its North American engineering plastics compounding capacity by installing an extrusion line at its styrenics facility in Altamira, Mexico. The line will start up in the second quarter. It will serve Mexico and the U.S. border area and will make products recently acquired from Lati.
TPE Solutions, Inc., Shirley, Mass., is the new U.S. East Coast distributor for TPUs from Merquinsa of Spain. These products are sold under the names Pearlthane and Pearlcoat. Merquinsa is said to be the world’s largest producer of polycaprolactone TPUs. It has a sales office in Seabrook, N.H. For more information on these products, visit www.merquinsa.com. TPE Solutions: (978) 425-3033
Almost five months after it took a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina, the DeLisle, Miss., titanium dioxide plant of DuPont Titanium Technologies, Wilmington, Del., resumed operations. Virtually every electrical system had to be replaced or rebuilt, but there was no major structural damage. The company says it is working around the clock to get back to full capacity for the spring period of peak demand.
DuPont Co., Wilmington, Del., has granted an exclusive worldwide license to LTL Color Compounders, Inc., Morrisville, Pa., to make and sell the Surlyn Reflection Series resins. These alloys of Surlyn ionomer and nylon 6 are used to injection mold weatherable, glossy parts. LTL Color has been the only color compounder of these materials for the past two years. LTL: (800) 863-4260